Tips for living healthy at home
Your home is supposed to be your refuge, your haven and the place you can retreat to and feel safe. But what if there are factors in your home that are working against a healthy lifestyle?
Since our homes are where we spend most of our time, it’s important to figure out ways to improve the atmosphere of our living spaces. From filtering out pollutants and purifying the air to organizing and deep cleaning, these are some ways to help you have a healthy home!
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What Can Contribute To An Unhealthy Home?
First off, let’s go over some of the things that contributes to an unhealthy home environment.
Harmful Chemicals And Toxins
One of the biggest contributors to harmful chemicals in your home are household cleaning products.
There are over 84,000 industrial chemicals used in everyday household cleaners and only a handful are regulated.
These chemicals are known to disrupt hormone production, cause immunity problems, contribute to asthma, allergies and learning disabilities, cause cancer, tumors, cell mutation, nerve damage, sterilization and more.
Other things around your home that can contain harmful chemicals are personal care products, like your shampoo, body wash, deodorant, hand soap, skin care products, even your makeup. Particularly those containing artificial fragrances and dyes.
One thing that a lot of people don’t stop to think about is the quality of their indoor air.
The air in your home is the air you breathe in the most, so of course you want it to be healthy and clean!
There are several obvious contributors to indoor air pollution like smoking (whether from cigarettes or cooking), mold and mildew.
But there are some surprising pollutants that can be disguised as things meant to CLEAN your air, like air fresheners and scented candles.
Air fresheners are almost entirely made from artificial fragrances that can contain harmful toxins and they are designed to mask bad odors instead of eliminating the bad odor itself, thus creating a bigger problem.
Candles are not much better. Candles made of paraffin have been shown to release carcinogens like toluene and benzene into the air. In fact, the toxins released from paraffin candles are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes. Not exactly something we want to be breathing in our homes.
I want to explain real quick about positive ions.
Positive ions are small molecules that have gained a positive charge. Most forms of pollution, toxic chemicals, pet dander, pollen, mold, and other harmful chemicals in the air carry a positive electrical charge, making them positive ions.
Having high levels of positive ions in the environment can lead to all kinds of issues.
Unfortunately we are surrounded by positive ions from electromagnetic fields generated by computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices which can impair brain function and suppress the immune system causing symptoms like anxiety, breathing difficulty, fatigue, headaches, irritability, lack of energy, poor concentration, nausea and more.
Excess stress can definitely have an impact on the health of your home. It can affect you just as much as other physical factors!
Added stress from financial issues, family drama, home repairs, world events etc. can create negative energy that can be hard to shake off.
It can affect those around you, even without them knowing the cause of your stress and, unfortunately, many of us live like this every day.
Stress can affect you physically too.
Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, fatigue, insomnia, obesity, muscle tension and lots more.
You’d think that cleaning is pretty straightforward wouldn’t you? Pick up messes and if you see dirt, clean it.
Unfortunately we can’t always see dirt and other potentially harmful bacteria brought into the home.
One way this happens is by wearing shoes in the house. If you think about it, it’s actually pretty gross.
By wearing shoes inside, you are essentially bringing whatever is on the ground outside, into your home. It’s now on your floors, your carpet, your bare feet, your baby’s mouth, etc.
Another example of problems we can’t see would be mold spores. Mold can have a wide range of harmful effects on your health and it’s not always easy to notice since mold spores are invisible to the naked eye, so if you see any mold in your home you need to find the source of it and eradicate it before it spreads.
There’s also an issue when we don’t take the time to move things around when cleaning.
I was guilty of doing this for so long, I would vacuum and sweep around furniture instead of moving it and then when I would eventually have to move something, there would be tons of dust and dirt built up or even worse, mold, effecting the quality of my air.
It’s not exactly a secret that bad food will affect your health. But poor diet has a bigger impact than a lot of people realize, not just physically but mentally as well.
Recent studies have shown that the risk of depression increases about 80% when you compare teens with the lowest-quality diet to those who eat a higher-quality, whole-foods diet.
It’s not always easy to eat well, especially in a big and busy family. We all have days when it’s easier to grab some fast food just to make sure everyone is fed, but a chronic habit of eating unhealthy food is sure to affect our families negatively.
How To Have A Healthy Home
Now that we’ve gone over the scary part of what could be affecting you and your family negatively, let’s talk about how to have a healthy home!
Ditch and switch harmful chemicals
One of the best things I ever did was switch out the cleaning products in my house for non toxic alternatives. I learned how to make my own DIY chemical free cleaners and I thoroughly researched any new ones I bought.
One of my favorite ways to do this is to use the Think Dirty app. It’s a completely free app that lists and explains the ingredients in specific products and grades them on a scale from 0 to 10 on how safe they are to use.
It’s important to research everything that will touch your skin or that you will be breathing in.
What I did was go through every product I owned and plugged it into the think dirty app. If it had a bad grade, I either looked for one that had better ingredients or made my own!
Clean the air
In your home, you want to be breathing the cleanest air possible, since it’s where you spend most of your time.
Unless you live somewhere with heavy air pollution, like a large city, it’s a good practice to open the windows of each room regularly to let in fresh air and let stale air out.
If you do happen to live somewhere with significant air pollution, I highly recommend an air purifier.
Air purifiers essentially sanitize the air by circulating it through a filter and removing particles. It can be a good investment no matter where you live because we are always contributing to indoor air pollution just by vacuuming, watching tv, exercising, etc.
Another great (and pretty) way to purify the air in your home is by using anything that will produce negative ions.
Remember what I said about the effects of positive ions in the air?
Since opposites attract, when negative ions are released into the air, they cling to the positive ions which then becomes too heavy to remain airborne. These ions fall to the nearest surface which can then be vacuumed, mopped, dusted etc.
My two favorite ways to produce negative ions are beeswax candles and himalayan salt lamps.
Himalayan salt lamps are said to attract and absorb pollutants and emit negative ions. I have a couple in our main living areas and they not only give me peace of mind, but they are also beautiful to look at.
Just be sure they are 100% pure beeswax candles.
Another great way to improve the air in your home is by diffuse air purifying essential oils like eucalyptus, pine, tea tree and lemon.
Diffusing oils can not only clean the air but also make your home smell nice too! I always try to diffuse a purifying oil at least once a day and after vacuuming to make my house smell fresh.
Decorate and organize your home
Having a healthy home isn’t just about physical health, mental health is just as important!
You need to be able to relax and unwind in your own home so if there is something in your surroundings that stresses you out, change it if possible.
This might mean splurging every once and a while on fun home decor that fits your style. Or taking a weekend to organize every cupboard and shelf to get rid of clutter (this is my personal weakness!)
One of my favorite things is to find easy DIY home projects (usually inspired by Pinterest) that are almost always cheaper than paying someone else to do it and it helps me customize my home to the way I like it.
Practice self care
A big part of taking care of your mental health is to practice self care.
This might be taking an extra long bubble bath, getting up early or staying up late to have extra time to yourself, treating yourself to a pedicure or a massage regularly, etc.
If you have a hard time keeping up with housework, maybe work with your budget to try and squeeze in a cleaning service to come a couple times a month.
Or if cooking 3 meals a day, 7 days a week for your whole family has you bogged down, just let it go and get take out for a night or two.
Your mental health is worth it!
Deep clean regularly
Try to do a deep house clean at least once every few months, either take a day to do it yourself or splurge and pay a cleaning service.
There are always places that you don’t really check when doing an everyday quick clean, and if left unchecked it can grow into bigger problems that can hurt your health. Like mold or dust.
If you deep clean on a regular basis, then the quick cleanup in between is so much easier.
Create healthy habits
It’s important to create healthy habits like taking vitamins, stretching/exercising and eating well.
It supposedly takes around 21 days for something to become a habit. So try to write out a routine of everything you want to include in your day and do your best to stick to it and see how it impacts you and your family.
Maybe it’s something simple like stopping to stretch and take deep breaths every morning, take a walk or jog, apply certain essential oils, having some morning quiet time with your coffee, etc.
I worked hard to train myself to get up early and implement a daily routine before my kids even get up to try ad start my day off right. it looks something like this:
- Get up at 6 am
- apply whatever essential oil I’m feeling that day
- make tea and light snack (usually toast or a sourdough english muffin)
- take daily vitamins
- turn on essential oil diffusers
- write out to do list for the day
this will look different for everyone but for me this routine has done wonders for helping me feel balanced and ready to start the days with 3 crazy kids!
Do you have any tips for a healthier home?