8 Things You Can Do To Make Your Workplace More Ethical And Sustainable

In a quest to become an ethical and sustainable business, designer and founder of First Base, Alison Cotton is conscious about the decisions she makes when it comes to her business. As a business owner in the fashion industry, Alison is aware of the impacts business has on the environment. To combat this, Alison starts at the heart of her business and has implemented practices to make her workplace more ethical and sustainable.

1. Know your supply chain.

If you’re producing a product the only way to make sure you are producing responsibly is by asking the right questions to the right people.  Know where your product is made and by whom, with what resources and where they come from. Take control and open your eyes to what is going on in your supply chain, from there you can make socially responsible choices!

RELATED: 60-Second Fixes To Make Your Day Healthier

2. Go paperless OR choose recycled paper.

We go paperless where ever we can but if we can’t we only use recycled paper, including all our packaging, swing tags, printing paper and even tissues and toilet paper! A bit more costly but not in the broader sense of the environment!

3. Rechargeable batteries.

We only use rechargeable batteries now. Way more cost effective and far less wasteful that then regular kind.

4. Go for chemical free cleaning products.

We only use chemical free products in the office to help reduce the pollutants getting pushed back out into the environment.

5. Recycle your ink cartridges.

There’s so many recycling options now for cartridges throwing them in the bin is not really OK.

6. Be power conscious.

We always turn off all lights, computers and anything we can from the power point. It’s a small power saving but it all adds up.

7. Have guidelines.

We have a Sustainable and Ethical Practices Manual that we have created for the office. It’s an ever evolving document but helps keep us on track and also educates our interns and new staff members about the way we do things and why. It’s a great tool to get everyone on the same page and to make sure standards are met.

RELATED: Five Feelgood Moves For Common Aches And Pains

8. Never take no for an answer.

Producing responsibly and in a more sustainable way can be far more complicated than the alternative. But it’s absolutely worth it. Keep pushing, keep asking questions, keep making positive changes and never take no for an answer.

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Everything you need to know about thyroid problems

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that makes two hormones – thyroxine and triiodothyronine – that are secreted into the blood. It plays a huge role in your body, regulating your energy use and influencing the function of important organs including the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin. Essentially, your thyroid is an engine setting the pace at which your body operates.

For one in 20 people – mainly women – thyroid function goes out of kilter when it releases either too many or not enough hormones into the bloodstream. These conditions are known as hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid).

So that old classic of blaming your glands when you pile on the pounds or feel too knackered to get off the sofa, could actually have some truth in it…

Underactive thyroid

Symptoms of an underactive thyroid can include:

■ Gaining weight (even if you are eating less)

■ Tiredness

■ Muscle aches and weaknesses

■ Dry skin, hair and nails

■ Pain, numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers

■ Slow movements and thoughts

■ Irregular or heavy periods

■ Depression

■ Sensitivity to the cold

There can be genetic links but an underactive thyroid is often caused by the immune system attacking and damaging the thyroid gland. If you suspect you might be a sufferer, talk to your GP, who can arrange a blood test.

If you do have hypothyroidism, the good news is that, with treatment, it can be regulated. You will need to take daily hormone-replacement tablets called levothyroxine (your doctor will send you for monthly blood tests until you get the level of meds correct) for the rest of your life.

Overactive thyroid

Symptoms can include:

■ Weight loss

■ Heart palpitations

■ Mood swings

■ Sensitivityto heat

■ Difficulty sleeping

■ Twitching or trembling

■ Anxiety, nervousness, and irritability

In three out of four cases, an overactive thyroid is caused by Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition. It can also occur when nodules develop on the thyroid (this is most common in the over 60s). It is usually treated by a medicine called thioamides, which may be gradually reduced and then stopped.

Can thyroid disorders be dangerous?

■ In rare cases, a very underactive thyroid can lead to a life-threatening condition called myxoedema, causing drowsiness, confusion and hypothermia.

■ An untreated underactive thyroid can also increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

■ An untreated overactive thyroid can lead to eye problems, such as sensitivity to light and double vision.

Case study

Lara Kilner, 43, says: "I went to the doctor convinced I was starting the perimenopause, which was alarming me slightly. My periods had been light for almost a year and then stopped altogether.

I’d also struggled to shift the weight from my second baby, with various diet plans having little impact despite having lost it without too much difficulty with my first child four years earlier.

I also had trouble sleeping, often waking up in the middle of the night for hours on end, had achy muscles, and tingling hands and fingers. It never crossed my mind that it could be a thyroid issue, with the symptoms seeming to scream ‘ menopause ’ at me, but the doctor sent me for a blood test to check my hormone levels, and it turned out that I had a very underactive thyroid – in fact the level of the hormone in your brain that regulates the thyroid is meant to be under five and mine was over 100!

I was prescribed levothyroxine and a month later went back for another blood test, after which my dose was upped and I have to go back for another test in a month. I am starting to feel better, less tired, and hopefully it will become easier to shift the pounds (though I don’t expect they will magically fall off, sadly!). It’s a relief to know what the issue is and it explains so much about what I’ve been feeling."

For further information, go to Btf-thyroid.org

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People In Norway Reportedly Have the Most Orgasms

Stuck in an orgasm rut? You might want to consider a trip to Norway. According to a new survey, Norwegians have more orgasms than anyone else in the world—35 percent of them reportedly hit a high note at least once a day.

The findings come courtesy a new survey from sex toy maker LELO, which polled 2,200 people from 21 different countries about sex and sexual habits.

To help you put Norway’s impressive O quota into perspective, 30 percent of Brazilians in the study said they only orgasm once a week, while 41 percent of Swedes said they orgasm two to three times a week, which LELO says is also the global average rate of climax.

RELATED: 9 Things You Can Do Before Sex To Make It Even More Amazing

The study had some other telling insights, too. Americans rated the intensity of their Os as a seven out of 10, on average. Meanwhile, people in Chile, Italy, and Spain reported having the most intense orgasms, with 10 to 13 percent rating the power of their orgasms as 10/10. Granted, a personal orgasm intensity rating is subjectivebut still, we’ll have what they’re having.

But things aren’t looking so great in Canadian bedrooms: About 15 percent said they’ve never had an orgasm and, when they actually do go over the edge, many only rated the intensity as a dismal one out of 10.

The researchers also asked about how noisy people are when they climax (because why not?) and found that Brazilians are the most likely to be screamers—65 percent of them said they get loud when they come, followed by about 40 percent of Norwegians. Of course, not everyone likes to make noise: About 42 percent of Portuguese people said they’re quiet when they climax and most people said they were “sometimes” loud when they orgasmed.

Not shockingly at all, more than 90 percent of men reportedly climax every time they have sex, while about 64 percent of women said the same (can you say orgasm gap?)

RELATED: How To Make Friends-With-Benefits Work, According To Science

If your personal orgasm stats aren’t where you want them, research has found that people who orgasm every time during sex tend to have oral sex, knock boots for more than 15 minutes, ask for what they want in bed, wear sexy lingerie, try new sex positions, and open up about their sexual fantasies, among other things. Can’t hurt to try—it’s definitely cheaper than a trip to Norway.

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health.

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Happy Couples Are Really Comfortable Doing This One Thing Together

When it comes to building a love that will last, experts say there’s one activity all couples should learn to do well together—and it doesn’t involve taking your clothes off (though of course that’s important too).

According to Dr Jeffrey Bernstein, and author of the couples’ book, Why Can’t You Read My Mind, it’s actually pretty simple: Happy couples are comfortable just doing nothing together.

“Couples who fear slowing down don’t have the ability to be as mindful and appreciative of being in the moment as those who are open to going at a slower speed.”

According to Bernstein, it’s pretty common for couples to fear slowing down, and the roots of of those fears can often be traced to what he refers to as “emotional ghosts.”

“There are people out there who were brought up with a good deal of emotional chaos,” Bernstein says. “Perhaps they grew up in families with addictions, or emotional distance or neglect. Others may have grown up in emotionally volatile, overly reactive families.

Being haunted by those emotional ghosts can make us afraid of falling into the same patterns from our childhoods, Bernstein says. “Staying at a frantic pace, for some individuals and couples, may keep them from feeling like that they are going to re-enter the ‘gravitational pull’ of past dysfunctional family dynamics.”

Getting comfortable doing nothing together can be hard work, but according to Bernstein, it’s well worth the effort, since just sitting and talking with each other is a powerful way to forge a lasting connection—and because a constant flurry of activity can sometimes cover up serious relationship issues.

“I think sometimes couples numb themselves with lots of activity to avoid looking at the patterns that don’t work so well or in the future could be unhealthy for them,” says Bernstein. “For example, I’ve seen many women, and at times men, afraid to disengage from the chaos of raising children because they don’t want to face the faulty, or even abusive dynamics of their marriages.”

"I think sometimes couples numb themselves with lots of activity to avoid looking at the patterns that don't work so well."

For younger/newer couples, Bernstein says it’s common for one or both partners to avoid facing unpleasant relationship dynamics by immersing themselves in their work lives. And while avoiding looking at those potentially hard truths might feel like it’s keeping your relationship together, it likely isn’t sustainable for the long term.

“An authentic relationship is truly the most healthy kind of relationship,” Bernstein says. “Couples that make it have the courage to talk about what works and does not work.”

This doesn’t mean your relationship is inherently flawed if you both like to keep busy—just that it’s worth making sure you’re also comfortable sitting still together from time to time. Bernstein emphasizes that every couple’s needs are different, and that only the people in the relationship can truly know what’s best for them.

"Couples that make it have the courage to talk about what works and does not work."

“I’ve known a few cases where couples would spend every opportunity they could together and be very happy,” he explains. “[But] forcing people to be in a pattern other than what they want to be in because it is ‘more healthy’ when what they’re doing already worked for them makes no sense.”

If you feel like your partner is afraid of slowing down, Bernstein recommends avoiding the phrase “do nothing,” and instead focusing on all that your relationship stands to gain—hopefully, expressing a desire to be close and to truly enjoy the quiet, intimate time you spend together will make your partner feel like they’re aquiring something instead of sacrificing other activities.

“Gratitude is the most undervalued path to emotional health,” Bernstein says. “Couples who have gratitude for being together, and don’t take each other for granted, will relish the time that they share. Gratitude for each other’s love is a wonderful antidote for boredom.”

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This Woman Gave Birth On The ER Floor And A Photographer Captured It All

After welcoming five children to the world already, Jess Hogan thought she knew exactly what to expect from childbirth.

But it turned out her “last baby” Max was intent on making a memorable entrance… on the floor of the emergency room.

“It was my craziest birth, but also, the most perfect, it was not at all what I had planned,” Jess shared in a blog post.

She’d been having contractions on and off for days when her water broke at home in the middle of the night. 

“The pain wasn’t troubling me too badly, I kept telling myself I would just ‘know’ if this was the real thing,” she explained.

“About 1 hour later I woke to a strange, long contraction. It wasn’t incredibly painful, but it caused me enough discomfort that I felt around in the dark for my husband and said ‘Travis, I think this is it.’” 

From there, things moved quickly.

The couple raced to the car before Jess even had time to put her shoes on. However, she did get a chance to fire off a text to her birth photographer, Tammy Karin, to let her know the baby was coming. 

“I vaguely remember [Travis] mentioning to me we passed a fox and that he had to run two red lights. Luckily for us, it was 3am and the roads were empty our entire drive,” Jess recalled. 

“As we neared the last turn to the hospital I began screaming that baby was coming,” she recalled. “Travis honked the horn rapidly as I screamed through the contractions and he pulled quickly into the ER drive.”

She had just made it through the front door of the hospital when Max made his move.  

“I then started to take my pants off because I could feel my body pushing the baby’s head out. I reached down and could feel his head crowning with my hand.” 

“I looked at my husband and said, ‘Travis catch him!’ Without any hesitation, he did just that as I felt my body involuntarily pushing his head the rest of the way out.”

Incredibly, Tammy arrived at the exact same moment – just in time to see the birth unfold.  

“He arrived on the floor just inside the entrance of the emergency room at 3:38am,” Jess penned. “Less than 25 minutes from the time my water broke at home, and only a few moments after we stepped inside the hospital.”

And although Max was bruised from the speedy delivery, he arrived happy and healthy.  

“I was also totally in love with the little person laying on me, and even more completely in love with my husband who didn’t miss a beat and kept his word that we would, in fact, make it to the hospital.”

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5 Healthy Ways To Deal With A Breakup

Whether you’re the breakup-er, the breakup-ee, or a party to a mutual split, calling it quits with your partner in love takes a toll on both your mind and your body. And though most of us have experienced first-hand that there’s no instant cure for the heartsick, prioritising your health is your smartest moving-on move.

“Taking the time and extra effort to care for yourself and be conscious of your food choices will pay off in the long run,” says Keri Glassman, registered dietitian and author of The New You and Improved Diet.

“When you’re finally over your breakup, you’ll come out looking and feeling better than you did in your relationship—and ready to move on to greener pastures.”

Here’s some expert-approved advice for soothing your suffering the healthy way…

1. Sweat it out

Every broken heart deserves a sweatpants-and-French-fries phase, but you’ll only be hurting your health (and prolonging your pain) if you camp out under your covers for too long.

“As tempting as a day in bed watching Netflix may seem, going through a breakup is one of the most important times to ramp up those endorphins,” says Glassman.

“Hitting the gym or pavement will get your heart rate up, which is a research-proven way keep your body in shape, boost your self-esteem, reduce stress, and ward off depression.”

2. Control your environment

When you’re in a sad state, it’s easy to overindulge in comfort foods that’ll only make you feel worse, so try to practice some self-love by avoiding situations where you’re more likely to lose control (and opt for heart-healthy comfort foods instead).

“Instead of opting for dinner at a pizza or burger joint, plan a night out with girlfriends at that new healthy restaurant you’ve wanted to try,” says Glassman. “Focus on enjoying each other’s company and you’ll end the evening feeling fulfilled in your friendships and happy with your food choices, instead of sluggish and ridden with food guilt.”

3. Make smart swaps

When you’re not feeling 100-percent, you need even more healthy nutrients, so experiment with making tasty alternatives to your favourite foods.

“Try swapping out your beef burger for a salmon burger, which is loaded with mood-boosting omega-3 fatty acids,” says Rania Batayneh, author of The One One One Diet.

“Or skip the peanut butter ice cream and mix natural peanut butter into Greek yogurt—the extra protein and fewer sugar grams will keep your blood sugar and moods stable.”

But don’t cut down on the carbs too much! “They contain ‘happy hormone’ serotonin, so if you eliminate them, you may find yourself binging on sugar to make you feel better,” says Batayneh.

4. Get centred

Yoga does as much — if not more — to train your mind as it does to shape your body, and we could all use a little Zen when our emotions are raw. “Don’t underestimate the power of yoga to put you in a peaceful, meditative mindset and help you overcome heartache,” says Glassman.

5. Focus on the future

A few packets of Tim Tams may ease heartache in the moment, but when you eventually get over your sad slump — which you will! — you’ll feel bummed knowing you sabotaged all your hard work for temporary satisfaction that ultimately got you nowhere.

“Intense emotions can loosen our inhibitions around food and cause self-care to slip by the wayside, but this is a time to embrace the complete opposite mindset of this common pitfall,” says Glassman.

“Instead, take this time to show yourself as much love as possible, starting with fuelling your body with healthy and nutritious foods.” Then, start with these self-affirmation exercises to give yourself the love you deserve!

This article originally appeared on Rodale Wellness

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The Science Behind Those Romantic Bachelorette Dates

The Bachelorette is finishing up for another year and like the rest of Australia our hearts are breaking over the last remaining bachelors.

Let’s be honest as much as the bachelors like to think Georgia spends all of her spare time planning those lavish, romantic dates lighting 8721 candles. We all know that the show’s producers have spent many painstaking hours striking matches 😉 (gedddiiiittt ?).

It looks like a study by The Science Of Us is the inspiration behind the producer’s strategies. The study found a link between arousing scenarios (no, in the thrilling and motivating sense, not what you were thinking!) and sexual attraction. The study reveals that our emotions get confused when in these high-adrenalin situations and we misattribute this feeling with the person we are experiencing it with rather than ourselves.

So when the bachelors are pushed to their boundaries, doing things they have never once dared before (something he would normally be scared of or hate or complain his whole way through) it actually strengthens their connection.

For example when the boys were pushed to the limits in an adrenaline pumping group date on the trapeze! Which surprise, surprise Matty J won.

So it looks like the show has it down to a fine art. The study concludes that the chemistry and sexual desire between you and your partner isn’t just down to looks but the things you have experienced together. Fellas, those extravagant, exciting dates will pay off later!

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Emily Skye’s Before And After Picture Is A Must-See For All Mums

Pregnancy changes your body in ways you never could have anticipated, a process that’s equal parts exciting and terrifying.

One person that’s been refreshingly candid about this experience is fitness star Emily Skye, who has seen her ripped abs transform into a healthy, happy home for her first child.

Her recent Instagram snap demonstrates this contrast with a touching message for all mums. On the left, the popular trainer is shown pumping weights, muscles bulging, and on the right, 34 weeks pregnant.

“I was strong then, but I’m getting stronger now – but in in different ways,” she writes in the caption.

🤰🏼💪🏼 I was strong then, but I’m getting stronger now – but in in different ways. I have an utmost respect and admiration for mothers. Growing a human isn’t easy and neither is raising them (which I’ll soon be experiencing myself). 😝 As my due date draws nearer I find myself feeling nervous about giving birth & wonder whether I can do it. I try to overpower those negative thoughts with positive affirmations such as: “I am strong and capable – I was made for this”, and “I trust my body and look forward to seeing what I’m truly capable of”. . I always try to be positive, yet realistic and honest with you and sometimes I doubt myself and my capabilities. . I am so blessed to have the support from you amazing people who are constantly offering advice to me as I become a mother. You’re all SO helpful & kind. This is all new to me (obviously) and when something is new it can be scary – even though I have never been happier or more excited in my life. So thank you, I truly appreciate you sticking by me through this and I’m looking forward to sharing my journey to getting my fitness back with you – when I’m ready of course! 😃😘 . P.S. How incredible is the human body!! I’m so blown away by what it can do! 😃🙌🏼 . . #34weekspregnant #8monthspregnant #truestrength

A post shared by EMILY SKYE Health + Fitness (@emilyskyefit) on

“I have an utmost respect and admiration for mothers. Growing a human isn’t easy and neither is raising them (which I’ll soon be experiencing myself).”

The 32-year-old says that she’s found herself feeling nervous as her due date draws closer, but she’s overpowering negative thoughts with positive affirmations.

“I always try to be positive, yet realistic and honest with you and sometimes I doubt myself and my capabilities,” she writes, thanking her 2.1 million followers for their continued support throughout her pregnancy.

“I truly appreciate you sticking by me through this and I’m looking forward to sharing my journey to getting my fitness back with you – when I’m ready of course!”

This post is NOT about comparison nor is it a competition. It’s also not an “I have it worse than you” post and it’s definitely not me complaining at all. The point of this post is simply to remind you that we’re all human and imperfect, we’re all different and on our own unique journeys and we all have different experiences. I have been exercising for 8 years and I have maintained a lean physique over that period of time. Since becoming pregnant I have gained some fat and cellulite and I’ve lost a fair bit of muscle – which I'm completely fine with. 😃 . Now you might be looking at this thinking “Pffft that’s nothing” or “you think THAT is cellulite 🙄?!” – Again this is not about comparison nor is it a competition. I just wanted to highlight the fact that nobody is perfect, we are all different and all of our pregnancy journeys are going to be different too. Some women don’t gain any fat, cellulite or stretch marks, while others gain a lot – one isn't more "normal" than the other. I have seen many beautiful pregnant women who are still extremely lean and they look absolutely amazing but just keep in mind that it’s unrealistic and unhealthy to compare yourself to anyone else. ☺️ My life many years ago was once all about how I looked, how lean I was and how much muscle I had. Nowadays these things aren’t even close to being my priority. My health (mental and physical) is most important to me and it’s always about how I FEEL. Sure I like to look good, but not if I have to sacrifice my health for it – especially my mental health. My priority right now is the health of my baby – nothing else comes close in importance. ☺️ . I feel so incredibly blessed and grateful for my precious growing baby that all of the “downsides” of pregnancy are insignificant. 🤰🏼👶🏼 . Instead of criticising ourselves and each other, let’s celebrate our individualities, embrace what could be seen as “flaws” and support and uplift each other. Most of all let’s love all that we are and stop focussing on what we don’t like or don’t have. Just because you’re not where you want to be ultimately doesn’t mean you can’t love yourself just the way you are now. . 💗 Sending you all love. 😘 .

A post shared by EMILY SKYE Health + Fitness (@emilyskyefit) on

Emily has previously shared her thoughts on comparing pregnancy experiences. 

“I have been exercising for 8 years and I have maintained a lean physique over that period of time. Since becoming pregnant I have gained some fat and cellulite and I’ve lost a fair bit of muscle – which I’m completely fine with,” she wrote on Instagram.

She says she doesn’t mind if fans think her amount of cellulite is nothing to complain about, she just wants to highlight how different women’s journeys can be.

“Some women don’t gain any fat, cellulite or stretch marks, while others gain a lot – one isn’t more “normal” than the other. I have seen many beautiful pregnant women who are still extremely lean and they look absolutely amazing but just keep in mind that it’s unrealistic and unhealthy to compare yourself to anyone else.”

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