9 Home Wellness Best Practices

By Kalina MacKay

Your home affects your health in more ways than you probably know. From the physical components of your home to your daily lifestyle, your environment can play a huge role in your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

Here are some tips for optimizing your home so that you can lead your happiest, healthiest life. 

Protect the natural balance of your home

Most of us are familiar with the microbiomes in our own bodies whose native contents can provide the key to maintaining good health. This is why we’re cautioned against using too much hand sanitizer, told to eat Greek yogurt, and prescribed probiotics along with antibiotics. 

Science is now considering another type of microbiome, the microbiomes in our homes, or those bacteria, viruses, and fungi that contribute to the healthful balance in our physical spaces and directly contribute to our bodies’ microbiomes.

Mat Franken—founder and CEO of Aunt Fannie’s, a food-based home cleaning and pest control brand that uses non-disruptive, microbiomic ingredients, like vinegars and oils, in its products—not surprisingly, is a proponent of the microbiomic movement that removes synthetics and pesticides from the products we use in our homes everyday.

“Most cleaners use man-made chemicals formulated in a lab,” says Franken. “These are not ingredients our bodies understand, which disrupts our natural environment. Even ‘natural’ products take plant molecules, break them, add what they want, and subtract what they want, making an ingredient unknown to the human body.”

You can protect the microbiome of your home through vetting your cleaning materials to make sure they’re free from toxins and bring in things that support healthy immune systems such as houseplants, natural ingredients, and even pets.

Acknowledge where toxins may be hiding 

Chemicals can be found in furniture, household cleaners, food, and toys, and while they may be tolerated in small doses, they can have negative effects on the nervous, cardiovascular, and reproductive systems. Being more intentional about the products we use can reduce our exposure to internal and external toxins and strengthen our resilience to the chemicals impacting our health.

Surprisingly, the flooring you select can largely impact the overall health of your home. For example, carpet traps pollutants like dust mites, allergens, mold spores, pesticides, dust, and dirt in its fibers. It can also emit harmful VOCs, absorbs liquid, and can foster mildew or mold growth. 

Similarly, hardwood is not exempt from dangerous chemicals. Chemicals in hardwood adhesive, sealer, and varnish, could cause allergic reactions. Additionally, some hardwoods contain formaldehyde-based glue. Minimize the impact by keeping yourself informed of the potential impacts of your surroundings. 

Consider purchasing water in bulk 

There is evidence that purified water in bulk—that is, water in multi-gallon bottles or run through a dispenser—is not only safer, but buying it at this volume can also be quite sustainable. Typically, water that can be purchased in a store or from a delivery service has been purified using a filtration or distillation method to remove harmful substances found in tap. 

While the initial cost of buying an in-home water dispenser may seem like a big investment, it can actually save money long-term. The bulk option is slightly cheaper than buying certain brands of plastic single-serve bottles. After the initial cost of the dispenser, the yearly cost of bulk water can be less than $350, almost half the cost of the single-serve bottle option.

Bulk water can also be surprisingly convenient. Having a supply of purified water in the home can not only save you trips to the store, there is also evidence that bulk water can increase the amount of water you drink. In a study conducted on behalf of Primo Water, it was found that bulk water families drink 25% more water than non-bulk households.

Maintain healthy air quality 

Poor air quality can exacerbate breathing problems and infuriate allergies. An air purifier removes irritants and toxins from the air, increasing indoor air quality levels while preventing respiratory issues like asthma and allergies. 

An excellent air filter can also improve the overall quality of your indoor air, but some are extremely expensive and the communities that need them the most cannot afford them. If you can afford just one, get one for the bedroom. You can also invest in a monitor from PurpleAir—these devices monitor the air in homes, businesses, and parks around the world.

Make your space eco-friendly 

Not only does your home impact your health, it impacts the health of the environment. It’s important to make sure that we as homeowners are doing our part to make our houses eco-friendly and sustainable. 

Roughly 9.1 billion tons of plastic have been produced since the 1950s, and since most plastic isn’t biodegradable, all that plastic waste will remain in our environment for hundreds of thousands of years. We can limit plastic waste by opting for glass bottles, purchasing reusable straws, shopping at zero-waste stores and farmers markets, and seeking out DIY alternatives to many of the products you buy in stores.

You should constantly be thinking of things you can swap out for more eco-friendly options: waxed cloth wrap for plastic wrap, fabric bags for plastic baggies, reusable bags for grocery bags. Reusable products are not only more sustainable, they can also save you money in the long run. 

Be conscious of where you’re shopping and what you’re buying. For example, mass-produced baked goods like breads and pastries come wrapped in plastic bags. Support local and go sustainable by finding a local bakery that will wrap goods in paper bags rather than plastic. Plus, it’s undeniable that there’s something about local food that always tastes better. 

Block out the stress 

When it comes to stress management, everyone could use a little bit of help. Coming home should be a part of your day that alleviates stress. More often than not, however, our homes don’t necessarily have that effect: clutter, cleaning, and chores often call to us when we walk in the door.  

Create a mindful space in the home to keep stress and anxiety levels down and help you live an overall healthier life. You can do this by eliminating distractions, increasing natural light, and using natural elements and calming colors.

It can also help to try stress-relieving practices beyond home improvement. Starting your morning right with a healthy routine can set the tone for the entire day. Drink water, meditate, eat a good breakfast, and workout. Do whatever makes you happy to clear your mind and prepare yourself for a day of productivity.

You can carry on these practices into your whole day by surrounding yourself with positive energy, getting enough sleep, infusing calm energy, and separating your work and home lives. These practices are much easier said than done, though they can have significant impacts on your overall health and wellbeing.

Try horticultural therapy 

According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, horticultural therapy is a time-proven, evidence-based process and practice of using plants and gardens in human healing, rehabilitation, and training. It involves customized activities and programs with treatment goals and objectives under the direction of a trained and credentialed horticultural therapist.

Today, horticultural therapy is widely accepted as a beneficial and effective therapeutic practice. In addition to hospitals, it’s used in assisted living facilities, substance abuse centers, vocational schools, correctional facilities, public and private schools, and mental health centers. 

While this technique is traditionally done in professional settings, here are a few other ways you can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of plants at home:

  • Grow marigolds in containers or in your garden. They have antiseptic properties and can be used to soothe the skin.
  • Cultivate plants that attract pollinators, like butterflies, bees, and beetles.
  • Use your imagination and create a vertical vegetable garden.
  • Take advantage of a sunny window in your house and create an indoor vegetable garden.
  • For those without a green thumb, tend to one of these easy-to-maintain house plants.

Build a physical wellness space 

Working out can do wonders for your mental and physical wellness. It’s not only about maintaining physique, working out can help clear your mind and provide a much needed escape from a hectic lifestyle. 

While there are plenty of exercises that can be done with minimal equipment, building a home gym—whether big or small—is a great way to stay on top of health goals or maintain a regular workout routine that incorporates resistance training. You may consider including total, upper, and lower body equipment, cardio machines, and critical exercise accessories such as a mat, resistance band, or foam roller. 

Bowflex is one of our favorite home workout equipment companies because of their commitment to individual wellness and trusted expertise in the industry. Bowflex made it their mission to provide a variety of high-quality home fitness machines for every type of workout. The company offers everything from strength training to cardio machines, and even machines that are a mixture of both.

You can also consider devoting a space to yoga or mindfulness. Keep in mind, though, that regular yoga and meditation practice requires a certain level of detachment from what our home lives require of us. In order to truly set an intention and carry it through, there can be no distraction of clutter, no pollution of noise, and no solicitation of chores that must be done.

Doctors recommend that when working out at home you should try your best to minimize distractions and zone in on your workout. That could mean turning off your phone or using a workout video, whatever you need to do to prioritize yourself. 

Finding workout motivation can be hard, especially if you’re stuck doing the same exercises multiple days in a row or if you feel like giving up because you aren’t seeing any progress. Try setting structured goals with rewards, switching up your routine often, and creating a buddy system to hold yourself accountable.

Hold yourself accountable in the kitchen  

Leading a healthy life doesn’t stop at regularly working out. Keeping your kitchen and diet clean can further encourage a healthy and happy lifestyle. 

That starts with knowing what’s in your pantry. You’ve likely come across food claims like “100% organic” or “No hormones added” that may seem like marketing fluff meant to tempt consumers into buying, but most labels are tightly regulated and can inform consumers of a food’s nutritional value, health claims, and manufacturing process. It can be hard to keep up with the seeming jargon, but it’s important to stay up-to-date on label claims to make informed choices when buying products for you and your family.

Eating healthy may be as simple as cooking more often. Your kitchen should be stocked up with only the essentials. Some basics chefs recommend to always keep on hand are eggs, quick-cooking whole grains, canned tomatoes, beans, and sea salt. These basics can be used in a variety of recipes for whatever your family is craving.

Plan your shopping trips strategically and organize simply to cut down on food waste. Meal prepping can be a great way to make the most of what’s in your kitchen and reduce temptations to grab fast-food while you’re running errands. 

Your home is your sacred place that should encourage healthy living and allow you to unwind from whatever outside stress you’re facing. Remaining conscious and informed on the dangers your house could be imposing on you and your family’s wellness can solve problems before they even arise.

Looking for some help with home repairs and maybe save a little money at the same time? Consider a home warranty. Check out our in-depth reviews to see which one may be right for you — all of them offer free quotes! 

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