Two Easy Steps to Create A Healthier Home
In my opinion, there are two main components to have a healthier home: reducing toxicity and increasing happiness. These are the two concepts I will be writing about today, keep them in mind as an overarching theme throughout the post. While you spend time in your home over the next couple of weeks, ask yourself - Is this toxic for my home? Or, will this increase the happiness in my home?
We work so hard to keep our bodies healthy but have you ever stopped to think about the health of your environment? Humans spend a whopping 90% of their time indoors! And in many cases, the quality of our air indoors is 2-5x more polluted than the air outside. I worked hard to make my home exactly how I wanted it, especially because I work from home. See what steps below you can implement into your home to make your environment one that promotes productivity, happiness, and health!
Step one - reduce toxicity. An obvious first sign to reducing toxins would be filtering them out with an air filter, right? But what if I told you that YOU have to stop being the producer of those toxins in the first place. Things like cleaning products, personal care products, furniture and textiles, and building materials all contain chemicals that can potentially harm your health.
So to reduce toxicity STOP bringing it in your home:
Take your shoes off when you enter your home.
Revamp your cleaning supplies - Not all cleaning supplies list ingredients but any product with a danger, hazard, or poison label should be avoided. If cleaners do list ingredients, be sure to avoid ones specifically with things like ammonia, DEA, APEs, and TEA. Look for products that have five or less ingredients, are plant derived, and have solvent and phosphate-free labels. Alternatively, you can easily make your own cleaning supplies using ingredients like water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon, essential oils, etc.
Ditch the toxic personal care products: If it is on us, then it is in our home. Okay now that you have revamped your cleaning supply closet, its time to take a look at your personal care products. It comes to a surprise to a lot of us that our personal care products can put us and our family at danger. Our skin is our largest organ and when we put any type of lotion, cream, soap, perfume, etc on our skin it gets absorbed. But unlike when we eat something and it gets filtered by our liver, our skin absorbs products of a rate of up to 75% and it goes straight into the bloodstream. Synthetic chemicals in our marketplace are very un-regulated, while thousands of chemicals are banned in other countries, the US only has a handful banned from personal care products. Companies will actually send their banned products to be sold in the US marketplace where it is allowed. Why are these synthetic chemicals so bad for our health and what happens as they enter our bloodstream? Many of these chemicals mimic hormones in our bodies and cause disruption to our endocrine system. An example is xenoestrogens which imitates estrogen in the body and is found in compounds like PCBs, BPA, and phthalates. I could go on for days about each and every toxic substance found in personal care products but to make it simple for you follow these rules: can you pronounce all the ingredients? And would you eat it? If the answer is yes then congratulations, use that product! Again, the option is very attainable to make your own personal care products with ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, aloe, apple cider vinegar, essential oils, etc.
The furniture and textiles in your home also adds to the toxic load in the air. Can you imagine a new car smell right now? Or the smell of new furniture being delivered to the office? That smell is off gassing and it is typically off gassing VOCs or volatile organic compounds. VOCs are extremely harmful to human health and can also promote endocrine disruption as well as interfere with free radical activity. Mattresses and other large furniture items like sofas are also treated with fire retardants to comply with fire regulations. Flooring is often treated and toxic glues are used in the installation process. All these things off gas into our home. If you must buy new, let your furniture sit outside for a few hours in the sun, but buying from second hand stores guarantees a lot of the off gassing has already occurred. If you get new floors installed be sure to ventilate for extended days after installation. Look for brands likeHoly Lamb Organics for your bedding which utilizes organic wool and never uses fire retardants. If you choose to paint, use zero VOC paints and again, be sure to ventilate fully before inhabiting. My favorite zero VOC paint is Harmony by Sherwin Williams, this paint actually reduces VOC content in the air. Second hand furniture, natural woods, zero VOC paints, toxin-free carpets, and natural fabrics like hemp, bamboo, silk, and linen go a long way in making the health of your family and home a vibrant one. Start small and replace one thing a year. Use these tips to make renovations smarter and healthier.
Now that we know the main sources of toxins in our home here are some ways to filter them out for when they do enter:
Allow sunlight into all rooms to filter air.
Ventilate whenever you can (if you suffer from common environmental allergies to pollen, ragweed, etc. be cautious of this)
Use high quality HVAC filters and replace them often. Look for the MERV rating and try to get the highest one (12 is the best).
Scatter plants around the home to help with air filtration.
Invest in HEPA air purifiers for the rooms you spend the most time in.
Step two - increase happiness. Think about this question, is your house a home? What is the difference? A house is a structure used for safety from the outside environment that you typically use for sleep. A home is a laughter and sunshine filled nest that harbors and creates memories and promotes exploration, inventing, healing, and growth.
How can we increase happiness in our home? Each home is different, as is each family is different so dig deep into the things that make you or your family happy and implement them into your home. Here are some examples:
Cook meals at home - grow your own indoor herbs!
Eat meals at the dinner table, together, as a family.
Create family game and movie nights weekly.
Create your own traditions around the moon cycle, holidays, milestones, etc.
Practice gratitude daily.
Have fresh flowers in the kitchen.
De-clutter and keep rooms organized, this promotes happiness and allows the mind to be more clear!
Diffuse essential oils that promote happiness like orange, rose, and cinnamon.
Play your favorite songs while you cook and clean.
Have a shut off time for all electronics and get back to the basics by reading and relaxing.
Shut off the lights and use (non-toxic) candles, LED candles, Himalayan salt lamps, and red bulbs at night to promote relaxation and melatonin production.
Here are some journaling questions that could help you get clear on how to bring happiness into your home:
What makes you excited to come home to after a long day at work/away?
What are three things you are grateful for about your home?
What does your dream home look like?
What are some ways you can promote more relaxation in your home?
What is your favorite room in your home and why?
I hope their are some things you can implement into your home right now to make it healthier. Check out my website and instagram feed to learn more about how I stay healthy and sign up for my newsletter for additional things I am digging, recipes, events, and random thoughts! Please share this post if you know anyone who could benefit from learning more about healthy a healthy environment and home. What other topics would you like me to write about in an upcoming post? Leave a comment for me! Thank you so much for reading and as always, stay healthy! AF