A new year for me is ALWAYS a time where I try to make some intentional changes. I always have health goals for myself and my home, and I always have personal goals that I try to strive for throughout the year. I try to really plan out what will be a good fit for my life in the upcoming year and I always understand that sometimes goals shift and change throughout the course of 365 days.
But, with the idea that I can change my goals or shift them, I also keep in mind that coming up with health goals that I can EASILY stick with means I more than likely will stick with it. The best thing I’ve ever done is decide to layer on my changes. This means I don’t change all my habits and routines at once. I master ONE change and then give it time to stick. My next step is to add another set of health goals to that.
This works really well when you’re implementing changes for your home and your family as well. In order to get everyone on board or everyone on the same plan, it can take a little practice and a little growth.
So with the start of a new year and a shiny new outlook on 2021, it’s time to assess health goals you may have for your home space in order to create a healthier environment at home. I’m sharing with you my top 8 EASIEST changes that will have a BIG impact on the spaces inside your home.
Afterall, our ultimate health goal here is to create a space that supports a healthy body and promotes health and wellness.
WHY PAY ATTENTION TO HEALTH GOALS FOR YOUR HOUSE?
Chances are if you’re here and reading this post, you understand that there is a NEED for our homes to be healthier spaces. But, in case you’re new or you need to share with someone else how important health goals for your house are, I’ve got some backed up research for you.
When we talk about toxins, there are three ways we come in contact with health altering substances and chemicals. First, the toxins you consume in food. Second, the toxins you put directly on your skin. And third, the toxins that surround you all the time. THIS is the one I focus on with my clients and with you, my readers.
Our home space is one that we spend about 90% of our time inside. This means that we are constantly surrounded by whatever we put in our homes. If it’s synthetic fragrances, we’re allowing those toxins to surround our body for 90% of the day.
Our homes are also MUCH more energy efficient and have very little fresh air from outside coming in as well as stale air from inside escaping our walls. Many of our homes have a great thermal barrier, which is good for energy usage. However, what it’s not great for is our indoor air quality. This study means that all the VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), gasses (radon, carbon monoxide), chemicals (phthalates, formaldehyde) and bacteria (from mold and outdoors sources) STAY within our homes for a long period of time.
Our homes have also never had more man made materials inside them than they do now. From manufactured wood to laminate materials to plastic electronics; all these man made items contain man made components, many of which are harmful to our health and wellness.
Many of these man made materials contribute to a disruption of the endocrine system. This means that our hormones production is being interfered with on some level. When hormone production is disrupted, we see problems arrive with development in children, reproductive disorders, altered brain function, immune system suppression and other problems.
This research front he National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences also shares that other health related problems to endocrine dir supporters in our home can be seen in an increased risk of cancer, thyroid problems, obesity and metabolism issues, neurodevelopment of the brain and nerves as well as issues with normal reproduction.
By beginning to eliminate one or more toxins at a time, your body will start to have less of these chemical toxins surrounding it for 90% of the day. Our bodies actually metabolize most toxins fairly well and actually rid the body of toxins we come in contact with on a regular basis. The problem that comes into play, however, is when our bodies cannot get rid of the toxin as fast as we are coming into contact with it.
THIS is the reason we want to begin eliminating toxins where we can so that we can begin to create a healthier environment inside our homes to support our immune system and bodies.
2021 HEALTH GOALS FOR YOU CAN STICK WITH
1. Stop Using Scented Candles and Products
I beg of you, if you do only ONE thing on this list of health goals, do this one. It’s by far the EASIEST healthy house improvement I’ve ever made. There are SO many healthy alternatives out there to use in your home instead of synthetic fragrance sprays, candles and oils.
Fragranced products are actually the primary source of indoor air pollutants. It’s in SO many products we use from air fresheners to laundry detergent to shampoos and soaps. The adverse health effects include increased risk of developing asthma, neurological problems, contact dermatitis (rash) and endocrine disruption.
Instead, use essential oils to add scents to products and the air. Make sure you’re opting for a certified organic or third party tested essential oil to ensure that it is in fact pure.
You can also use these charcoal bags to reduce odors in your home instead of using a chemical-laden spray.
2. Remove Dust on a Regular Schedule
Dust is more than just a nuisance. It’s toxic. Dust actually contains more of the microscopic chemicals in it than our air in some instances. Studies of house dust showed that it contains phthalates, fragrance, flame retardants and phenols, which are all toxic to our bodies.
These toxins that are within the dust we have in our home are also sources of endocrine disruptors, immune system suppressors and some are even carcinogenic.
By cleaning up and removing dust on a regular basis, you can actually REMOVE toxins from your home. I recommend using a wet mop and wet dusting method to really get rid of the dust as opposed to spreading it around the house.
Also, having your home HVAC vents cleaned every few years and changing your furnace filter every 4 months will help eliminate dust as well.
3. Stop Wearing Shoes in the House
Your shoes, while trendy or cute, have been outside walking through stores, bathrooms, treated grass and other areas that may contain pesticides or toxins. Leaving your shoes outside or in a designated area can help reduce the amount of toxins you bring into your home.
This is just another way to control what comes into your home on a regular basis. Our shoes have the ability to pick up not only viruses and bacteria, but also particles of toxins and chemicals that are present in the spaces we’ve walked through. What’s more is that pesticides can also be tracked in if we’ve walked through treated lawns during the day.
Especially if you have kids who play on the floor for long periods of time, it’s important to make sure that shoes are left at the door.
4. Make Opening Windows Part of Your Routine
This is another one of my FAVORITE additions to my healthy goals list. It was SO easy to add into my daily and weekly routine that I tell EVERYONE about it. Earlier we talked about how there is just no good way for our air to leave our homes because they are SO energy efficient. One of the ways you can help improve this is through natural ventilation.
Natural ventilation is basically the act of opening doors and windows. You’ll want to ventilate your home on a very regular basis as toxins and VOCs are constantly off-gassing around us.
My best advice for opening windows is to have either a set time once a day for 10 minutes or so, or have a set schedule for once a week. Living in Minnesota, we have EVERY season imaginable, and so I have to alter how I do this based on the weather.
In the cold winter months, I open windows in each bedroom, turn on the house fan and turn on the ceiling fan. Then I close the door and set a timer for 30 minutes. I do this every few days to help air the room out as well as let fresh air in and stale air out.
Sometimes afterwards I’ll put essential oils in a diffuser and let it run for an hour or so to freshen the room even more.
5. Check Your Cleaning and Personal Care Products Before Buying
This is a REALLY great habit to get into, if you have the time and if you can. Start researching your products BEFORE you buy them. This was a REALLY big step for me when I would begin running out of things like shampoo, cleaners and household detergents.
As soon as whatever I was using was starting to run out, I’d do some research to find a BETTER, SAFER, HEALTHIER product to replace it with. Sometimes I could find something right away, and other times I would have to hunt for it
The ThinkDirty App and Target’s Search Tool became my best friend when it came to researching my products. I also started a Product Guide where you can find recommendations for everything from household items to your cleaning solutions — all safe and as low toxin as possible. Having these tools to help you with your health goals is a really great way to move forward.
6. Get Rid of Plastic in the Kitchen
Plastic is filled with endocrine disrupting chemicals and can be EXTREMELY harmful to your health and wellness. Plastic you eat off of actually leaches chemicals into your food, allowing for your consumption. Once consumed, your body has to work hard to filter out these toxins while they disrupt your hormones and weaken your immune system.
My best advice is to simply start making a plan with your kitchen. First, go through and throw away any plastic that you don’t use on a regular basis. Next, start making a list of glass, silicone or metal replacement options for the plastic you do have.
And the next time that box of plastic snack bags run out, make sure to opt for silicone or paper to replace it.
My Kitchen Detox Workbook is a great place to start with cutting plastic out of your kitchen and opting for healthier materials to prevent toxin overload in your body.
7. Start Using Vented Fans Regularly
Another VERY simple, easy to incorporate habit that can really improve the air inside your home. If you’ve been around my blog for a little while, you know that indoor humidity is something we want to keep low. High levels of humidity can cause VOCs to off gas at a higher rate and it can promote areas where mold, mildew and dust mites like to grow and reproduce. YUCK.
All of these things are harmful to our health and affect our bodies in overworking it and burdening our systems.
Vented fans offer us a way to reduce humidity in certain areas of our homes, like the kitchen, laundry room and bathroom. It’s also a good way for us to exchange that stale indoor air with the fresh outdoor air.
Get in the habit of running your vented fan while cooking, bathing and doing laundry. And then let it run for about 15-20 minutes after you’re done in the space to ensure that it really is pulling the humidity and moisture out of the air.
8. Plan Out Room Detoxes for Your Home
THIS is one of the BEST programs I have for my clients and it’s a mini workbook that will help you go through each room just as I would if you were consulting with me on a toxin removal plan.
Simply breaking your house down room by room means you’ll have the WHOLE year to completely detox your space. Some rooms like the kitchen or the bathroom may take a bit longer to detox as they contain more products and materials. But after you get going, you’ll be able to do each room after the first more quickly.
My workbook for your Room Detox can be reused over and over for each room. It gives you a very tangible plan to get rid of toxins, implement good habits and find healthier products and materials for your space. It’s one of the biggest health goals you can accomplish, but it’s well worth it.