A great start for a healthy lifestyle is creating a healthier home. It's important to have a space which inspires you to look after yours and your family's wellbeing. We've put together 5 hacks for a healthier home for ideas on how to create that healthy space!
To declutter is to de-stress. A study by scientists at Princeton Uni (1) found that clutter hinders your ability to focus and process information. Decluttering reduces anxiety because excess stimuli formed by a disorganized home can overwhelm your brain. It leaves that niggle in the back of your mind that you have yet another chore to get done: cleaning. It can also make you ashamed or embarrassed about your home, leading to further anxiety.
Decluttering can also improve sleep. REM sleep helps your brain perform tasks such as memory processing and helps heal your body and expel toxins. While we appear unaware of our external surroundings while we sleep, the brain still interprets the environment around us. If your bedroom is cluttered, you'll not only find it harder to de-stress before bed, but your quality of sleep might be compromised.
Having a simple, decluttered space boosts creativity - the happier you are, the more creative you'll be. A messy, cluttered home can cause anxiety or stress and threatens your creativity. After all, what is a home if it doesn't inspire and relax? A harmonious surrounding will help de-stress so that your mind can process freely.
Finally, a tidy home can help reduce allergens. Not only do unused objects take up space, they accumulate allergens, such as dust. Getting rid of the clutter reduces the amount of dust in your home along with other allergens.
It's no secret that nature relaxes and rejuvenates our minds. By bringing nature indoors, you'll bring these benefits into your home. Plants provide fresh air by producing oxygen and eliminating toxins. A highly recommended indoor plant is the spider plant - easy to grow in the home, it cleans the air of toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene. The rubber plant is also a popular indoor plant due to its attractive, oval shaped leaves. Even better than it's ornamental appearance, the rubber plant is efficient at eliminating toxic compounds from the air. As the plant develops, it's efficiency increases, too.
Plants also naturally humidify the air. Roughly 10% of moisture in the air is released by plants. There are certain plants, such as the Areca palm, which are very efficient at releasing moisture. A natural humidifying plant is particularly useful in the drier months. Plants like succulents or cacti, however, retain water so they don't release much moisture into the air.
Natural scents are also great for your home environment. Plants like Dwarf Kaffir Lime trees have a natural, strong scent so act as natural air fresheners. Plants with a potent refreshing scent are great for a healthy home compared for artificial scents which often consist of toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, terpenes, phthalate esters, and more. Inhaling toxins can affect our health more than we realise - by inhaling toxins, the side effects enter our systems rapidly which can cause health problems.
Plants can also help you sleep better. Just like essential oils, the scent of plants can affect our mood. Plants such as lavender and jasmine can aid a more restful sleep as they are calming and relaxing.
Use glass storage containers instead of plastic
There is much discussion on the use of plastic containers. Essentially, glass containers keep your food safe. While plastic itself isn't too hazardous, because the polymer molecules plastic is made from are too large to contaminate food, plastic containers also have smaller molecules which are potentially dangerous. They slowly break down and enter food. Polycarbonate is often used to make food storage containers and bottles that can release BPA which many scientists believe can cause serious health issues.
Another benefit of glass containers are that they help clean up the planet. Ready to declutter your home? Declutter the environment at the same time! Using reusable glass containers reduces the amount of landfill waste. Glass containers are reusable so you don’t even have to invest in new ones. While you might want to buy larger glass storage, jam jars, spice jars and glass bottles are all helpful to use in your kitchen for food storage as well as other uses.
Swap your synthetic products for certified organic or natural products
Non-organic cleaning products contain extremely harsh chemicals and toxins. They are one of the major factors of toxicity in the home. Toxic substances in cleaning products can enter our bodies through ingestion, inhalation or absorption through the skin. This can harm organs and lead to serious health problems, but also more common illnesses like repeated common colds or asthma.
Skin care products are also made with toxic substances. By using them topically, the toxins can enter your body and have similar negative effects as cleaning products.
One of the most important steps to making your home a healthy one is to swap out standard cleaning and skin care products for organic or natural products. Cleaning products which include essential oils are particularly beneficial as they not only remove dirt and germs naturally, but they can also help lift your mood and leave your home feeling fresh! Natural, organic cleaning products that contain essential oils also have lovely scents!
Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic oils. One of the most well-known uses for essential oils is to unwind and de-stress. However, it can be used to improve your cognitive function and immune system, too. An effective way to distribute oils for de-stressing is by diffuser. Inhaling diffused oils allows them to enter your bloodstream and calm you down after a hard day.
Oil diffusers are also useful for sleep. Add some drops of lavender or clary sage oil to your diffuser and diffuse for half an hour before bed, as well as 2-3 hours while you sleep, if desired.
Diffusing oils such as tea tree, sage, clove or oregano, can help ward off illness. Many essential oils are antibacterial and when introduced to the air in vapour form, the organic compounds within the oils come into contact with airborne pathogens before they can reach your body. Essential oils can also improve your immune system, whether they are diffused, used topically or ingested. You might also consider using them for pain relief. For instance, if you have a headache, you could try rubbing peppermint or lavender oil on your temples. It relieves the pressure and within 20 minutes (or even immediately!) you should start to see improvements.
Another great way you can weave aromatherapy into your routine is by using it as perfume. Ditch your synthetic perfume (which is likely to have toxic ingredients) and use an oil instead. Choose an oil which either smells divine or is mood enhancing for a positive day! Most essential oils require you to add a couple of drops to a carrier oil (e.g. coconut oil), especially if you have sensitive skin because they are very strong. You could also try releasing a drop on one finger and lightly dabbing it on areas you would usually spray perfume. We'd recommend you start with a carrier oil, then slowly increase the essential oil concentration in the mixture to make sure your skin reacts well.
Last, but not least, you can also use aromatherapy in your cleaning routine. If you're feeling inspired, make your own cleaning products using essential oils, or purchase cleaning products which are made with essential oils. Natural, aromatic cleaning is not only much healthier than synthetic cleaning, but will leave your home smelling fresh and natural, while also having the benefits of aromatherapy.