I’ve learned over the last few years that there are some very important parts of my daily routines and house habits that can drastically improve our chances of staying healthy. I firmly believe that our houses can be a great building block to help keep us and our immune systems healthy. Supporting your immune system and your kids’ immune systems can be the difference between a miserable school year or a positively enjoyable school year.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think illness can be completely avoided, but I do think it can be prevented and I believe our bodies are stronger when we give them the right tools. There’s always an inevitable cold or virus here and there — and I have come to expect that. What I used to expect was having someone sick every other week in my house. After changing some of our routines and working hard to make healthier choices, I no longer see weeks upon weeks of illness in the winter.
Obviously a lot of staying healthy has to do with getting proper nutrition and sleep, but today I also want to share with you some ways your actual house and home environment can help support your family’s immune system. Just a few small changes to daily habits can make all the difference.
LEAVE SHOES AT THE DOOR
Creating a space for your family to drop their belongings from work and school (including coats, shoes and bags) will help keep the germiest surfaces out of your living spaces.
Some of the best tools you can utilize when it comes to creating a drop space are:
Rugs to catch dirt before it comes in
Hooks for bags and coats
Baskets for outdoor apparel (hats, gloves, etc.)
CLEAN OUT BACKPACKS DAILY
A great daily routine is to completely clean out the contents of backpacks every night after school. This ensures that nothing will get forgotten and cause unexpected problems.
WASH HANDS RIGHT AWAY OR PROVIDE A WATERLESS OPTION
Now that my kiddos are older, however, we’ve made it a habit to wash hands the second we enter the house. This helps minimize germs and bacteria from coming in.
AIR OUT YOUR HOUSE ON A REGULAR BASIS
Due to homes being much more energy efficient now, it’s important that we air out our homes to bring in fresh air to dilute our stale air inside. Indoor air is often times much more polluted than outside air due to our chemical-laden products, cleaning solutions and gas appliances. If you have an air-to-air exchanger, you don’t need to worry about airing out your home as much.
Air to Air Exchanger: These tools are an incredibly healthy option for any home. They hook up to your HVAC system and bring fresh air into your home through your duct work. The exchanger brings fresh air inside while at the same time sending inside air outdoors. These boxes even have a set of filters to clean the air before it enters your home. These are a great option for anyone wanting to bring fresh air inside.
CREATE A TECHNOLOGY-FREE AREA FOR DOWNTIME
For this reason, it’s important to have a technology-free space for your child to unwind in. Whether it’s a peaceful space to read a book, journal or do something else they love, these low-stimuli spaces help give the brain and body the down time they need.
Another idea is to have an area for creativity to flow. A small table or desk where they can be creative without having many boundaries put on their creativity is a great way to unwind. A body that’s producing less cortisol is going to be a healthier body both short term and long term. Allowing your home to have a tech-free space to unwind will be a great tool and create a good habit for the future.
UTILIZE ESSENTIAL OILS & DIFFUSERS
The Thieves Essential Oil blend is a great way to support your family’s immune system this school year. This blend has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help reduce your illness this year.
Another oil that is particularly helpful during the stressful school year is Frankincense. Frankincense has many properties, but one of them is the ability to reduce stress and anxiety. We know through different studies done how bad stress and anxiety is for all of us, but especially children who are continuing to develop.
Bergamot is another great essential oil to help promote emotional well-being. It can help reduce the emotional stress that comes along with school starting once again. It’s been studied and shown that it can actually reduce negative-feelings and promote a feeling of happiness.
CREATE A RESTORATIVE SLEEP SANCTUARY
The same is true for a room with dust and dust mites for a child who has asthma or allergies. There are many ways you can make a room more conducive to sleep and in particular, restorative sleep. And creating a room that’s more of a sleep sanctuary and less of a playroom is often times the key. My blog post a few weeks back about creating a sleep sanctuary for your child goes through each way you can improve their space.
A quick an easy checklist for creating a night-time oasis where your child can rest and be restored can help you during the hustle and bustle of back to school.
- Reduce Light: Room Darkening Shades or Blinds
- Improve Airflow: Open Vents & Fans On
- Reduce Dust: Wash bedding (even lovies) once a week in hot water, vacuum frequently and dust frequently
- Reduce Toxins: Keep synthetic fragrances out of the room and use fragrance free laundry products
- Remove Electronics: Keep any electronic (sound machine, monitor, speaker, etc.) at least 6 feet from your child’s bed
- Promote Restorative Sleep: Lavender and Cedarwood Essential Oils are my go to blend for creating a restful environment. We use a roller of 10 drops each topped with Fractionated Coconut Oil on feet at bedtime to calm down and quiet our minds. You can also choose to diffuse this blend at bedtime.
BONUS: ACTIVATED CARBON FILTERS TO REDUCE VIRUSES AND BACTERIA
Keeping your ducts cleaned once every two years is a great start. But changing your filter every six months is a simple, inexpensive habit to start. I recommend a Merv 12 furnace filter made of activated carbon or charcoal to help reduce allergens, bacteria and viruses as they travel throughout the vents in your home.