Learning how to make your home a health sanctuary can include stocking the kitchen, to great air quality.
This article brings in some facts about creating a home more conducive to health and is also a way for me to answer so many personal questions I’ve had about this topic. For the past several years I’ve intentionally put systems in place where our home feels more like a place of rest, retreat and solitude from my full schedule.
I’m incredibly impacted by the atmosphere of my surroundings — from the sight, scent, air quality, organization, etc. all of it impacts my ability to either fully relax or focus, depending on the space I’m in.
Do you feel the same way? If so, these tips to creating a space that’s more supportive of your self-care and health will help.
How The Home Can Support Your Health
Just as we’re mindful and aware of food items we put into our body, the same should be said about the air we breathe, the cleaning supplies we use in our home and everything else that surrounds us.
Things that make our space feel more like a health sanctuary or a space that supports my overall wellbeing is a mix of items and actions.
I’m mindful of the energy I bring into my home — as in checking myself if I’m particularly stressed or anxious — that way, what’s coming into our space is more aligned with how I would like to feel.
Engaging in activities that you love are also key to making it feel like a retreat away from all of the stimulation and distractions of daily life. For me, this looks like cooking, journaling, meditating, practicing yoga, reading, spending quality time with my husband, hanging out with friends, tidying, painting/artwork, watching movies, anything that brings me joy.
How To Make Your Home A Health Sanctuary
We have many resources on how to stock and organize your kitchen, food safety, and how to best utilize your space from these articles and our programs.
- How to Organize Your Kitchen with The Home Edit
- DIY Pantry Organization
- Food Safety
- How To Enjoy Your Kitchen
- What’s In My Fridge
Understandably many don’t have access to buy completely new furniture, a home of our dreams or to get everything on our wish list at any given time, but we can take a lot of action that can impact the overall mood and vibe of the home.
- Natural Lighting: If you have a lot of natural light then utilize it! Natural light can be so peaceful, not to mention more economical versus having lights on all day. After sunset, we typically turn off all blue lights and switch over to beeswax candles (which seems quite primitive but amazing and cozy!). Or we turn on sea salt lamps which are a beautiful amber warm color which is more conducive to relaxation.
- Plants and nature elements: plants not only can improve the air quality, but they also bring a sense of nature and earth into your home which can be grounding and bring a little extra hygge to your space. (4)
- Scent: as much as I love all the fancy candles, with my migraine history most candles and strong scents like perfumes can easily be a trigger so we opt for essential oils. Regardless of migraines, most candles contain hundreds of chemicals that can be irritating to our health over time so opt for a simple essential oil blend which is also more economical in the end. (1) (2) Also try burning palo santo, or organic incense.
- Cozy: the element of cozy can be fluffy blankets, your favorite pillows, a great soft rug, or maybe your favorite cozy sweatshirt. There are so many individual preferences for what defines “cozy” so adding more of those elements in your home can help you feel more relaxed and at ease.
- Declutter: one of the most effective methods in clearing out the clutter, has been to ask ourselves before purchasing an item, do we *really* need this? By starting the decluttering process while shopping, it keeps us on a minimal mindset and we only bring in things into our home that we love and that bring us happiness. Not only that, the air feels different in your home when you’re able to declutter and get rid of the things by either donating, selling or giving away to a friend.
- Special space: is there a special space in your home you can completely dedicate to you? If so, make that space (i.e. a room or a spot in one room) all about the things that make you feel great, bring joy, and help you feel at ease.
- Beauty: are there pieces of artwork, sculptures, family photos, drawings from your kids that light you up? Hang them around your space to be surrounded visually by things that cultivate love and beauty as defined by you. For me, that includes all of the above and I really enjoy interior design and style so having a beautiful space (by my definition) is important for how I feel when I’m relaxing.
You would think that the cleanest air we breathe is at our home, right? For the majority of us, our homes and offices or places of work can actually contribute to worse air quality than outside.
Did you know that the average American spends about 8.7 hours a day inside their house, which is just based off sleeping and household activities? That’s about 70 hours a week we may potentially be in contact with harmful chemicals, toxins, mold, etc. that might be hanging out in your home.
Unless you live in the mountains or far removed from city life (our goals for 2019!), it’s important that the air quality in your home is as clean as possible. Not to mention having cleaner air can help those who suffer from allergies.
- Air Filter: I’ve been using air filters for over 10 years in my homes and the one that I recently switched to has been the best, called an Intellipure.
- Be sure to change your air filters in your home HVAC unit or if you use portable AC / heat units be sure you’re changing the air filters regularly.
- Having plants in your home can not only give off my oxygen but also can clean your home. The top plants said to give off better air quality are spider plant, dracaena, ficus, peace lily, snake plant, boston fern, bamboo, and aloe. (3)
Remember the statistic about most of us spending 70 hours a week at our home, including sleep?
For example, if you sleep 8 hours a night, that’s roughly 56 hours a week just sleeping let alone getting ready for bed or in the morning. Why not maximize your health during that time?
Here are a couple resources to keep in mind with a healthier sleep:
- Avocado Mattress or another organic mattress company you enjoy. Mattresses typically have chemicals such as flame retardants and formaldehyde. (6)
- Organic cotton or linen bedding
- Organic silk pillowcases and/or eye masks
- Make your own DIY sleep spray with lavender essential oil
Consider Natural Cleaners
Not only do natural cleaners work, but they contain less (if any) chemicals in them while helping us protect the environment, reduce costs in the long-term, and can smell great without causing any headaches for those sensitive.
Note that some natural cleaners haven’t been shown to effectively disinfect or kill harmful bacteria and potential viruses so use these in context.
- Castile soap: I love using this for a multi-purpose cleaner and it doesn’t hurt that it’s actually a body wash too.
- Baking soda: Baking soda is great for neutralizing odors and when mixed with vinegar created a bubbly cleaning solution (always test small areas before going all in).
- Vinegar: because of its acidic nature it removes grease, grime, and any build up. Because of the strong smell, try adding in a couple drops of orange or lemon essential oil and it’ll smell much better.
- Orange essential oil: great for keeping bugs and ants off kitchen countertops and also has a bright smell. I mix this with water or vinegar for a multi-surface cleaner and wipe off with a cloth.
- Lemon juice: smells amazing and is great for polishing and cleaning up stains. I use this in my kitchen sink all the time and put it down the disposal to help clean the blades while making it smell nice.
- Microfiber cloths are great for catching small dust particles and they’re washable.
- Spray bottles for making your own DIY house cleaners (with labels to make sure you know what those bottles contain and if there are any special instructions to note).
- Try using a swiffer at home but instead of purchasing the pads, use these microfiber mats. You can cut them into 8 pieces that fit the pad giving you washable and reusable pads for cleaning or polishing the floors.
- Be sure to wash the filters in your vacuums or replace them regularly, ideally use vacuums with a builtin hepa filter.
Article written by McKel (Hill) Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN