6 Tips to Make Your Home a Healthy Sanctuary
By Karen Azeez
Have you ever heard the expression, “a healthy home means a healthy body?”
Probably not, because I just made it up! But it is true. Our home – the place where we spend most of our lives, where we prepare and eat food, where we bathe ourselves and put our heads down to sleep – can have a HUGE effect on our health.
From the dirt we track in to the hygiene of our kitchen to the clutter that causes stress, we need to be mindful of keeping our home clean, green and serene to safeguard our health and the health of our family.
It doesn’t take a team of experts in hazmat suits or getting down on your hands and knees and scrubbing for hours each day. Just adopt a few new habits, make some minor adjustments and your house can be a sanctuary of good health.
Here are just 6 simple suggestions to get you started!
1. Start A No Shoes Rule
Removing your shoes at the door stops you from tracking in an amazing variety of toxic offenders. Recent studies found that an average of 421,000 units of bacteria can be found on the outside of a shoe, including E. coli, which is known to cause intestinal and urinary tract infections, meningitis and diarrheal disease.
City dwellers trek through dirt that contains exhaust from traffic and construction debris, while country folk are susceptible to pesticides from agricultural areas and even lawns. And no matter where you live, if you walk through public restrooms or down the same sidewalks as neighborhood dogs, there’s a good chance you’ve stepped through fecal matter. So don’t forget to wipe Fido’s paws and politely ask guests to follow suit by keeping dedicated shelves by the door and by providing fresh slipper socks if they are modest about exposing their toes.
2. Take The “No Pledge” Pledge
You may have grown up with Mr. Clean, Scrubbing Bubbles and Pledge, but now we know better. If you wouldn’t spray it on your body or eat it, do you really want to breathe in all those nasty chemicals or use them where you prepare or eat your food? Most household cleaning jobs can be accomplished safer (and better!) with water, vinegar, baking soda and lemon – add one of those fabulous microfiber cloths and you’re set. You’ll find tips on everything from cleaning grout to polishing wood at this handy site. And you’ll save money too!
3. Bring The Forest Inside
The benefits of adding houseplants to your home are virtually limitless. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Plants also release moisture vapor, increasing the humidity of your home, which aids in preventing respiratory illness like the common cold. Your favorite ivy, aloe or mother-in-law’s tongue also remove toxins from air – up to 87% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) every 24 hours, according to NASA research. And, of course, they’re just downright cheery. In fact, adding plants to hospital rooms speeds recovery rates of surgical patients, according to researchers at Kansas State University.
4. Sleep Naturally
We all want deeper, longer sleep without having to use drugs. Well, by removing all electronics (yes, even the TV and smartphone) from your bedroom and clearing away clutter, you can improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep immeasurably. Your bedroom should be dedicated to two activities: sleep and sex. Doing work, checking email, surfing the net or even watching Jon Stewart prevents the natural action of pre-sleep relaxation. Blue light emitted from electronic devices mimics daylight and tells our brains to wake up, not drift off. Clutter also raises anxiety and dust can affect breathing, so keep your bedroom clean and organized too.
If these don’t help, try some deep breathing and meditation techniques. If you think you meditation won’t work for you, this site will change your mind.
5. Ban The Bottle
We all want sip-clean water, to enjoy a refreshing iced tea or even a fizzy drink. But if you are buying bottled water, seltzer and other beverages, you may be ingesting more than a tasty beverage.
Antimony, which is found in PET plastic bottles, in small doses can cause dizziness and depression; in larger doses it can cause nausea, vomiting and even death. BPA – also in plastic and cans – is a chemical that acts as a synthetic estrogen. This means that BPA disrupts our own hormone levels and balance and may impact your brain and behavior.
An in-sink or pitcher filtration system can reduce your dependence on the bottle. Making your own iced tea and seltzer is easy and healthier to boot. And swap traditional plastic food storage for BPA-free storing supplies or glass.
6. Embrace Natural Beauty-Care
Many of us buy organic fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat and scan food labels for unwanted additives or GMOs. But it’s also important to stay green when we clean ourselves too. Toxins and chemicals from soaps, perfumes and moisturizers applied topically can cause rashes and irritation, but even worse, they can also leach into our bloodstream. Avoid products with parabens, sulfate, dyes and petroleum by-products (e.g. mineral oil and paraffin). Even better, try your hand at making some beauty products at home with delicious, edible ingredients like avocado, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, eggs and almonds.
Follow these simple suggestions, and your home will be the safe and nurturing oasis you deserve.
Health Coach, Wellness Expert and Freelance Writer
at Well Beings
Karen Azeez is a health coach, wellness expert and freelance writer. Karen helps busy men and women incorporate simple lifestyle changes into their daily routine to address issues such as weight gain, insomnia, stress and digestion problems. Karen enjoys cooking healthy meals, hiking with her husband and border collie and watching way too many TV shows about wedding dress shopping.
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