New Years resolutions are often a time to concentrate on health and happiness. Perhaps you’re resolving to cut down on alcohol, get to the gym more often or drink more water. However, is your home environment helping or hindering?
With all of us spending more time in our homes, it’s time well spent to make them a healthier, happier place to be. This New Years, why not resolve to make your home…
1. More ergonomic
If you’re working from home, even occasionally, check your set up. A desk at the wrong height, a badly designed chair or poor lighting can all cause serious strain on your body.
Your ankles, knees, hips and elbows should all be at a 90 degree angle. You may need to lower or raise your desk or chair, and perhaps use a large book or foot stool to raise your feet if they don’t reach the floor properly. When your back is straight you should be looking straight at your monitor, not down. If you’re using a laptop, this might necessitate propping it up on a laptop stand.
Bright natural light is best for working without eye strain. Take regular breaks to look into the longer distance, and to stand and stretch.
The air we breathe inside our homes is critical to our health. Indoor air pollution can be significantly higher than outdoors, and any circulating germs and viruses easily caught. By making your air fresher and purer, you’ll give your lungs a helping hand.
House plants such as aloe vera, peace lilies, palms and ficus can remove toxins from your air and increase its quality by absorbing CO2 and releasing oxygen.
Other ways to keep the air fresh include:
• Using a dehumidifier to reduce damp and prevent mould
• Using an extractor fan in the bathroom
• Keeping windows open
• Avoiding heavily scented chemical sprays
3. More natural
Plants aren’t the only way to embrace a natural feel in your home. Try the following.
Cut down on the chemicals and switch to cleaning with natural products – plus a little bit of bleach for the tough stuff. Vinegar and bicarb of soda are cheap, healthy options that work well as an alternative to commercial cleaning sprays.
Bleach is an effective disinfectant, which you can dilute in water and use to disinfect surfaces, toilet bowls and the like. You can also add it to laundry to sanitise sheets, towels and clothing, but be careful to stick to cottons and linens, and don’t use too much.
Wooden furniture looks and feels beautiful and lends a sense of the outdoors to your interior. There’s a trend towards natural fibres in rugs and soft furnishings, as well. A sisal rug underfoot, raw linen cushion covers and a vase of freshly cut flowers looks beautiful and is very calming.
Dirt and mould can build up fast, causing dangerous toxins and unpleasant smells. Even if you’re doing a regular surface clean, you’re not getting to the more ingrained dirt.
Carpets, in particular, grab onto dirt and grime and hold them. For an effective deep cleaner, you can hire a steam cleaner from your local supermarket or, even better, book a professional to come in and help.
Bathrooms should also be deep cleaned, as they are prime candidates for mould and mildew. Wash your shower curtains, bleach your grouting and make sure the room is well aired. There are several mould-resistant paints on the market, so if you don’t have great ventilation in your bathroom, consider using one of these to paint the walls and ceilings.
Overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? Professional house cleaning companies usually offer a ‘deep clean’ or spring clean package. Consider making it a Christmas gift to yourself and paying for a team of professionals to come in and get your place sparkling for the new year.
5. More offline
The internet has transformed our lives, both for work and leisure. In 2022, consider making a pact with yourself to spend a little less time on-screen and a little more connecting with the world around you.
Create an ‘off-line’ zone in your home, where no phones, tablets, laptops or game consoles are allowed. Perhaps it’s your enclosed balcony or back decking. Or a corner of your lounge room or rumpus. It doesn’t have to be an entire room, as long as the boundaries of the zone are easy to spot. Put down some floor cushions or install a comfy chair and a reading light, add some plants and make sure you have a nice view. Then simply…relax.
A healthy home is a deeply personal thing. Not everyone can, or even wants to, take all the steps suggested above. What’s important is that your home reflects who you are and helps nurture your well being. Happy 2022!