You can see the signs everywhere that Christmas is right around the corner. It’s the time of year when we gather together and celebrate with friends and family. Christmas is also a time where we expose ourselves and our families to a variety of viruses and bacteria. Many of us can become run down after a full season of baking, shopping, kids activities on top of our already-too-busy schedules. It’s a recipe for disaster.
The good news is if you’re prepared, you can take preventative measures to try and promote a healthy environment that will boost your immune system rather than weaken it. The simple, free habit changes I have listed out in this post will help you stay healthy this Christmas. Taking just a few precautions around the holidays when it comes to your home can promote health and wellbeing. Pair this with healthy food choices and a schedule that’s not too hectic and the holidays are fun and relatively illness-free.
These five ideas below are simple things you can do at your home this Christmas season to help keep your family healthy and happy. These are habit changes that could come in handy down the road, even after Christmas.
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1. Ask Guests to Remove Their Shoes
Don’t be afraid to ask your Christmas guests to abide by your no-shoe policy. You are the keeper of your home and bring toxins, pesticides, bacteria and viruses in on shoes is one way you can expose your family to unneeded illness. The dirt and germs brought in on shoes can quickly get tracked throughout the entire home. Once it’s inside your house it can be very difficult to actually get rid of. Often times it ends up in our air and gets pushed around our house until our furnace filter can filter the particles out.
If you’re too shy to ask your company to remove their shoes, a kitschy little sign works great and can take the burden off of you. But keep in mind, your simply asking to stay healthy this Christmas! Another idea is to have a rug and a tray where shoes can be placed as a friendly reminder that you’re house is a “no-shoe” house.
2. Hand Washing Policy
This may be a no-brainer for some, but for so many families, washing hands is only done after using a restroom or before eating. Implementing a policy of quick hand washing when you arrive at home, you can gently wash away germs and bacteria before you touch other surfaces in your house. We also use a waterless hand purifier in a pinch.
We’ve made it practice at home to wash hands as soon as we get home from school, church or the grocery store. Once we started this, it only took a week or two before my kids had made it a habit themselves. We keep a basket near the door that holds a bottle of Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier that they can use in a pinch if they need.
Get my favorite non-toxic, plant based soap and hand purifier
These two products are completely safe for little hands and are free of any harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances or hormone affecting toxins. These are a great option if your trying to stay healthy this Christmas and avoid introducing toxins at the same time.
3. Bring in Fresh Air Too
When winter is here and in full force, we often times don’t open our windows or doors. This is for obvious reasons and it might sound strange for someone to tell you to open up your house. But what we’ve learned over the past few years is that the air inside our homes is much more polluted than the air outside. This is due to the fact that our homes are extremely energy efficient and they don’t allow air to pass through walls, windows or seams in siding like they used to.
We also have more toxins in our house than ever before. Our furniture, carpet, plastic toys, cleaning products and air fresheners all add toxins to our indoor air through VOCs and off-gassing. We have our house so sealed up it’s almost impossible for these toxins to expel and they remain in our air for long periods of time. This is why it’s so important to naturally introduce new air to our homes.
One way to do this is by going through your home and opening one room’s windows at a time for 5-10 minutes with a ceiling fan or whole house fan on. This will help you to limit energy loss but will also allow fresh air into the room. If you have a heat exchanger you can make sure it’s turned to a winter mode. Using vented fans in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms will also help exchange air in your house with the outdoor air. This is one of the best ways to stay healthy this Christmas and the whole winter long.
4. Ditch Disposable Plastics
I grew up eating off of plastic plates for convenience — which it was! Plastic plates and cups were so easy to use and you could throw them away instead of washing them — what a concept! But times have changed and we know that plastic is more harmful than the convenience is worth. Now there are great options that can be recycled if you’re not looking to do dishes for two days after your Christmas dinner. This is such a great way to limit body burden and stay healthy this Christmas.
Plastic that touches our food is even more of a risk in terms of potential health concerns. When we ingest toxins they get a direct route to our bloodstream and it can take a short amount of time for our bodies to become burdened and affected. Plastic that we eat warmed food on is even worse as warmed plastic emits even more toxins into the food and air.
You can avoid using plastic dishes, cups and utensils by simply going with glass and regular silverware. Unfortunately that’s not always a great option depending on your size and type of gathering. You can check out MightyNest for some recyclable options that may be just what your family is looking for.
5. Create a Spot for Rest & Relaxation
This is probably the BEST way to help your health over the holidays. It’s important to allow your body to rest and recover free of toxins and chemicals. It’s true that our bodies become burdened by toxins and chemicals, meaning they build up in our system. This is when your body could use a real detox from chemicals, toxins, VOCs and other harmful solvents. Imagine if the place you laid your head every night was just that restorative environment. Every day you’d give your body a chance to heal from the toxins we come in contact with every day.
Creating a sleep sanctuary that promotes healthy sleep and boosts your immune system is easier than you might think. You don’t have to redesign your whole bedroom or cut off all electricity. No, you can make a few simple habit changes and perhaps product changes if it’s in your wheelhouse to do so.
Limiting electronics that are right next to your bed is a great place to start. You can also try to keep your room as dust free as possible. These are both very easy, inexpensive places to start improving your bedroom and sleep. Another way to truly improve your sleep is by limiting synthetic fragrances in your bedroom (and anywhere in my opinion!). Use a natural essential oil instead.
You can learn the basics of creating a sleep sanctuary here: