Setting Up Your Home for Better Health and Wellness
They say that emotional connection makes a house a home. But how do you set up your home as a place that supports your overall health and wellness?
Holistic Home Design
Did you know there are designers and architects who specialize in homes that promote healthy living? A holistic approach to home design incorporates nature inside, considers ergonomics, and applies color psychology, among other things. The purpose of holistic home design is to create a space that not only looks good, but supports physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. You probably spend a lot of time pouring over health insurance options, determining the best exercise routine for your health goals, and planning meals to support your health. Why not give the same attention to your home and how it affects your health?
Elements to Consider
When designing or setting up your home for optimal health, there are specific elements to focus on. There should be a priority placed on acoustics, air quality, cooling, heating, lighting, and water purification. These factors can influence your mind and body, so you want to ensure a lot of thought has been put into the materials used, as well as their placement.
Your home doesn’t have to look like a recording studio to have good acoustics. Yes, you can install panels to help absorb sound, but you can also use more natural methods. Fabric used throughout your home in the form of pillows, blankets, and curtains can help reduce how much sound echoes throughout your home. They also offer warmth, both literally and figuratively. Get creative with the art you hang in your home and use textiles on the walls to deaden sound in hallways or large rooms.
Invest in proper insulation for your walls and attic, as well as updated windows and doors with seals that help keep sound in or out. These efficient upgrades not only help with sound, but will help you control the climate inside your home.
HOME AIR QUALITY
There’s nothing like getting home and heaving a huge sigh of relief that you’ve left a bustling day behind you. But, have you considered the quality of the air in your home when you take those deep, soothing breaths? Chances are you could improve the air in your safe haven.
For a healthy home, incorporate air purifiers in your design, whether it’s plants or a device with a filter. According to Almanac, the following houseplants have perfected the task of purifying air:
- Areca Palms – chrysalidocarpus lutescens
- Bromeliads – bromeliaceae
- Dragaon Plants – dracaena
- English Ivy – hederra helix
- Peace Lily – spathiphyllum sp
- Philodendrons – thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum
- Rubber Plant – ficus elastica
- Snake Plant – sansevieria
- Spider Plant – chlorophytum comosum
- Weeping Fig – ficus benjamina
Bringing your favorite plants indoors has biophilic benefits as well. Studies show that having natural elements inside, such as plants, fish tanks, or even pictures of nature, stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the body’s system for activating a rest and restore state. You know how good you feel when you’re in your beautiful yard or taking a walk through a park? Bring that feeling home by bringing elements of nature inside.
Other ways to clean the air in your home include having a range hood, purifiers with EPA filters, and UV/UVC lights that kill 99.9% of airborne viruses. The materials you use throughout your home, such as wood, paint, and sealants for flooring, can affect air quality due to the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOC). If you’re starting from scratch, look into healthier options when it comes to building, or make a swap if you can renovate.
Also, let’s not underestimate the power of a good cross-breeze in your home. While your filters and plants are doing a great job purifying the air, it’s important to open up windows and doors for a resurgence of actual, outdoor fresh air.
Speaking of outdoor air, sometimes it’s too cold or too hot. For your health, it’s important to have an energy-efficient furnace and air conditioning system in your home. How good does it feel to step inside when the weather outside is frightful, and your home offers relief?
If it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning, or you dread taking a shower because of cold tile floors, consider implementing radiant heat in your home. Having a more comfortable temperature in your home can help boost your mood, and increase your productivity. We all know how hard it is to work from home at a computer all day when your fingers are freezing; do something about it!
Have you heard of circadian lighting? The belief is that our bodies have a natural, circadian rhythm for waking and sleeping. It can be influenced by light, just like an animal. We can use indoor lighting to mimic natural daylight cycles, which can help promote better sleep.
Not only will circadian lighting offer bright indoor light during the day, but it can dim or change hues at certain times of the day.
- Morning circadian lighting: bright, short-wavelength blue light
- Dusk and evening circadian lighting: dim, warm, long-wavelength red/yellow/orange light
Large windows that let in natural light are important for your health, but so is being able to properly block out light at night. Install room-darkening shades to support sleep in bedrooms, and consider putting them on timers so they open and close in sync with sunlight.
Your body can go weeks without food, but it will only last about three days without access to water. Water is important to our survival, so be sure your home is set up with a water filtration system. If that’s out of the budget, invest in filtered pitchers you can keep in your fridge, or a filter you can attach to a faucet.
Clean water is not only good for you, but it tastes better as well. If something tastes good, you’re more likely to consume it. Unfiltered water may be perfectly safe to drink, but it can often have a strange taste or odor; as a result, you’re less likely to turn to the tap to hydrate. While it’s fine to spend money on bottled water, single-use plastics are harmful to the environment.
Carve Out Space for Yourself
Whether it’s a bedroom, a hobby room, or a home gym, make sure you have space for yourself in your home. It can be hard to balance when you live and work in the same place day in and out. But, that’s where color can come into play. Consider changing out the linens in your bedroom or bathroom, or putting a new color on your office walls to provide the vibe you need to thrive.
How certain colors can make us feel
Black Feels powerful
Blue Soothes illness and relieve pain, promotes stability
Brown Promotes connection to nature, creates feelings of strength
Green Encourages tranquility, promotes positive thinking
Orange Heals the lungs and increases energy
Pink Calming (soft hues), supports femininity and creativity
Purple Supports growth (spiritual, monetary), promotes imagination
Red Stimulates circulation, promotes confidence and power
Yellow Stimulates nerves for body purification, promotes happiness
White Feels clean, evokes youthfulness
No matter what a color chart says, your previous associations with color will impact how you react to it. If you have negative memories linked to a color, don’t feel pressured to include it in your space simply because psychology suggests it will fulfill a certain aesthetic.