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A spa — with all of its elements straight out of nature — is calming and soothing. Live plants, stones, and the sound of flowing water all help to make us feel relaxed the moment we enter the room.  

In Italy, the ancient casale or Italian country homes offer visitors a homey and cozy feeling partly because of the presence of natural materials all around: stonework, lush gardens, wooden roof structures. With this, we immediately see proof that the presence of natural material — nature itself, actually — in the spaces we inhabit affects our physical and psychological wellbeing.

If you want to make your living and working spaces work for your health, try to incorporate more natural materials in their architectural design and decor. For example, go for untreated wooden furniture, natural fiber carpets, and items made of natural materials like abaca, hemp, silk, organic cotton, eco-friendly paints, and the like. It goes without saying that we tend to feel better when we are closer to nature.

As far as architecture and external space are concerned, it is not just materials that should be considered for the mood and wellbeing of the space’s occupants. The light source, ventilation, colors, and space (proportions) are some of the aspects that affect, positively or negatively, the inhabitants of any given space.

The use of natural light and natural ventilation will greatly improve the indoor environment. When opening a window to let fresh air in, for example, it is important to have another opening so there can be cross ventilation. Open curtains and remove obstructions to allow natural light to flow into a room. The use of lighter colors on walls, like cream, light gray, or off-white paint colors, is also better for our eyes and our mood.

Needless to say, cleanliness is important for good health. Make sure that your space is not cluttered. In fact, a minimalist design can actually contribute to one’s wellbeing. It is, however, crucial to point out that these architectural and interior design principles on wellbeing will work only when applied alongside more general health habits like eating well, maintaining good relationships, and getting enough sleep and exercise. It is part of a holistic approach to good health and wellbeing.

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I, together with Royal Cargo’s Michael Raeuber, was a recent guest in Focus Philippines’ “Leadership Challenges”, a program hosted by Regina Lay, who is a prominent journalist, former chief editor of Bloomberg TV, and now business news editor of Cignal TV. Michael Raeuber and I talked about our reasons for moving to the Philippines, the challenges we encountered in the early years of our stay here, the difficulties related to starting a business and finding investors, and how our respective companies continue to manage and overcome the challenges being posed by the pandemic. You can find the video recording of our interview on Focus Philippines’ YouTube channel and Facebook page.

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