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A former Harvard researcher on the connection between sustainable fashion, self care and women’s health

A former Harvard researcher on the connection between sustainable fashion, self care and women’s health
By Renoon

Meet Louise Lagendijk. Based in Amsterdam, Louise is a doctor specialised in integrative women’s health, a former researcher at Harvard, yoga teacher, and the face behind The Core – a centre focused on redefining self care for the modern woman.

We met up with her to talk all about self care and women’s health, and its connection with sustainability.

Based in Amsterdam, Louise Lagendijk is a doctor specialized in integrative women’s health, former researcher, yoga teacher, and the face behind The Core – a centre focused on redefining self-care for the modern woman.

In her practice, she goes beyond women’s physical health and deep dives into other less conventional factors. She is a firm believer that in order to live a healthy lifestyle we must listen to our bodies and give them what they need – a detox of our bodies, minds, and even clothes.

When building a sustainable body, I always tell my women: detox your body and mind twice a year

“Detoxing your body and your mind are two different processes. You can detox the body from all the processed foods like gluten, dairy, meat, and alcohol. I recommend people to do it for at least seven days straight, adding tons of water, greens, and whole foods that will cleanse your body. And one that is done, it’s time to detox the mind.”

But how do you do that?

Sustainability, self care and detox of the mind, body, and closet
Image via noohijmil (left) and The Core (right)

“To detox the mind you have to sit down and try to meditate. You need to tell yourself: I’m going to actually sit down for 10 minutes of meditation for 10 days straight, and not let in any negative thoughts.

I usually like to recommend wearing a bracelet for meditation to avoid this. Once you start your 10 minutes of meditation, and you feel like a negative thought that is not serving you comes into your mind, you switch the bracelet to your other wrist. Those little things really help when you want to clean the mind,” Louise explains.

Is there a connection between a life full of clutter and our mental health? How can we avoid clutter and keep a clean mind?

Clutter can have such a big impact on our mental health. A busy closet full of things that we may not need or that we do not use anymore can have a lateral impact on our overall health that we might not even be aware of. “As soon as fall comes, the first thing that I want to do is clean up my closet” Louise explains, “cleaning it up is the first step that I do to keep a clean mind.”

Sustainability, self care and detox of the mind, body, and closet
Image via The Core (left) and Ari Wilkinson (right)

“I have recently started to get into this way of shopping, intuitive shopping if you will” she continues, “you can do it in the supermarket or even a clothing store. Sometimes, I just go into the supermarket and follow what my body tells me, which makes me end up with some very interesting items. The other day I had my period coming, and because of what I had in my basket I realized that it was coming.”

It’s all about truly listening to what your body needs. Not to what external voices are telling you to do. This is the best way to live a substantial life. And avoid good, old overconsumption.

A sustainable body, mind, and lifestyle starts when we listen to our bodies

“It’s really beautiful when we start listening to our bodies because they are intelligent and they tell us everything” she explains, “it even works for shopping for clothes. We as women are so intuitive and we can easily make decisions based on that.”

Sustainability, self care and detox of the mind, body, and closet
Image via Pinterest (left) and Paolo Abate (right)

In a world where we can be easily manipulated by corporate media, trying to sell us things that we do not need, our best way to fight it is through our very own bodies. By truly blocking out all the marketing that fashion brands are trained to produce, is how we can live an optimal sustainable lifestyle, where we only buy the items that we really really need.

“You have to ask yourself often: does it feel right? It’s not about if you have to buy it, or if the fashion world is telling you to get it. It’s all intuitive,” Louise adds.

But, how do you get in tune with yourself? How can you start listening to your body?

“Just test it. Just do it” she suggests.

“We tend to overthink a lot, but once you allow your mind to tell you what to do, you will be at peace. Don’t be in the box. Allow your body to take the lead; you tell me what we should do, eat, buy. Don’t let your mind restrict you. The more you listen to it, the more you will realize you should trust it. It will have a louder voice.”

Many people end up being victims of the fashion industry because they are easily manipulated by the things that they hear in the media.

“You should get this piece for the season.”

“You cannot miss out on this huge sale.”

“This is your last chance to get this item.”

And according to Louise, the best way to fight it is by being intuitive. “Allow your body to have fun and play, rather than telling your body what to do and what not to do based on what the fashion world tells you,” she suggested.

“It’s a simple act of telling your body: hey body, tell me what we should do today?”

Interested in reading more personal experiences? You can check out Matteo’s, Janice’s, and Bianca’s story!

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