It has been a fast-paced couple of weeks during the festive period – I am still working off the Christmas dinners, recovering from the parties, and am already struggling to fulfill my New Year’s resolutions. Speaking of which, did you announce yours? A New Year’s resolution ‘trending’ on Twitter was many pledging to do what they can to improve our planet’s health.
However, I noticed others are becoming more conscious of theirs and their family’s health– deciding to de-clutter their homes, enroll themselves and their children in more physical activities and strive to improve their family’s overall well-being.
When it comes to a family’s health, many parents automatically turn off the television and computers and usher their children outside to play. But I would recommend a good starting point is to first evaluate your physical living environment. Below are some quick, easy tips to help you create a healthier home.
Fight the Dust
I think almost anyone trying to keep their home clean and healthy would agree dust is the bane of their lives. Did you know dust in the home is made up of plant pollen, human and animal hairs, textile fibers, paper fibers, minerals from outdoor soil, and human skin cells? And just before you lose your lunch completely, dust also brings dust mites, which not only feed off our dead skin cells but have been proven to cause asthma and other allergic reactions.
While dust (and the critters it harbors) will forever exist, there are ways to keep it to a minimum and manageable state in your home. First, reduce the knick-knacks and unnecessary ornaments you display throughout your abode. While your child’s first papier-mâché bowel may be a sentimental keepsake, it also proves lethal in collecting dust.
Either get tough and get rid or store it away where it can’t do any harm. Secondly, why not opt for hardwood or stained and sealed concrete floors in the busiest living areas of your home? Replacing old, dust-catching carpets will not only reduce the chances of your family breathing in all those nasty particles but will add a modern, chic touch to your dwellings.
Reduce the Toxins
Ever noticed all the ‘warning’ and ‘poison’ labels on your conventional cleaning supply products under your sink? They contain a potent and damaging mix of chemicals that might cut through stove grease, but leave behind hurtful toxins.
I’m sure most people have mopped with ammonia before – notice how your lungs constrict? Essentially, you are polluting your indoor air quality when you don’t have to. Here’s a tip: look for ‘green’ cleaners that don’t contain chlorine, ammonia, petroleum, or phosphates.
Or why not conjure up a home-brew cleaner? Vinegar is fantastic for removing grease and soap build-up, and acts as a very effective bleach replacement and scrubbing tiles with baking soda will bring them to life again. Need a window cleaner? Try diluted lemon juice. Additionally, sodium borate prevents mold growth, boosts the cleaning power of soap or detergent, and can even kill cockroaches when mixed with sugar!
There is a misconception that to keep the air inside your home clean, shut all the windows, and restrict outdoor airflow. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Imagine painting a room, closing all the doors and windows, and sitting in that room – you wouldn’t be able to breathe! Make no mistake, unless you live in a tree-house, your home will be emitting harmful toxins – either from wall paint, air fresheners, or from cooking with Teflon products. Airflow with outdoor air is better than none at all, so open a window.
But what to do during winter and the last thing you want to do is let in the cold, and let out the warmth? In today’s market, not only are heating systems capable of heating and cooling your home, but they ventilate as well – creating a constant, fresh cycle of clean air moving through any interior. Essentially you could purchase 3-in-1 heating, cooling, and ventilating system – bargain!
The Great Indoors
In many Asian countries, bringing plants inside the house is part of their house cleaning rituals. For Chinese people who believe in the art of feng shui, plants drive away negative energy and bad luck when positioned properly in the house.
As mentioned in one of my previous blogs, indoor plants are great for filtering air and aiding in the removal of harmful chemicals lurking in the room. But in addition to acting as aesthetically pleasing, indoor air quality improvers, plants have been proved to lower stress, reduce negativity and increase positive feelings – making indoor greenery the ideal tools for improving the overall health and well-being of your home.
Happy and Healthy
Our personal and family’s health is the most important thing there is. Whether it is to lose weight, eat healthier, or exercise, the better our well-being, the longer and more fulfilled our lives will be. If this is your New Year’s resolution, start simple – begin with your home – and lay the foundations to living a healthier, happier, life.