According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average citizen spends 93% of their life indoors.
This might seem like a pretty shocking statistic, but if you include the whopping 25 years of our life we spend asleep, it makes a little more sense. While it might feel like we’re always at work, we spend a massive amount of our time at home – and our living environment plays a big part in our overall well-being.
It’s really important not to neglect how your home environment could be affecting how you feel mentally and physically, and with a bit of planning and careful thought, there are plenty of ways your home can become a well-being-boosting haven. Here are a few top tips:
1. Make sure your home provides enough natural light
Natural light is massively important for our well-being. Without regular access to natural light, it can be difficult to get enough vitamin D, which regulates our calcium levels. Our circadian rhythms also become affected, which can have negative impacts on our energy, mood, and physical performance.
Make sure your home provides you with as much natural light as possible by keeping windows clean and unobstructed, and your curtains drawn. Try to keep curtains open at night, as being naturally woken by daylight can be hugely beneficial (research is even being done into how living in a glass home can improve our biological rhythms and well-being!)
2. Keep your air clean
The average person spends 1.1 years of their life cleaning (I know. That’s a lot of scrubbing.), but how many of us really know how clean the air is in our home? It might seem insignificant, but we spend a pretty hefty amount of time breathing the stuff – and airborne pollutants can have all kinds of negative effects on our well-being.
Several plants, such as aloe vera, have been found to remove toxins from the air, thus improving overall air quality. Including a few in each room could make a noticeable difference.
You should also think about likely pollutant sources. Several appliances – such as printers – actually emit ozone, so it’s a good idea to place these near windows and away from places you’re likely to spend lots of time (i.e close to beds, armchairs etc.).
3. Invest in quality soft furnishings
We spend a lot of time sleeping and sitting. Poor quality beds and chairs can play havoc with our posture, muscles and general physical well-being. Investing in high quality soft furnishings is a must for a well-being-centric home.
Sleep is vitally important for our well-being, While there are plenty of exaggerated marketing claims about magic beds that will make you feel like a superhero after a single night, ultimately a good, firm mattress is key. And be sure to only use one pillow – it’s better for your neck/back!
The same goes for chairs – aim for a firm, solid design. Of course comfort should be top priority, but you don’t want poorly designed furnishings that you will spend hours slouched in, slowly but surely turning you into an aching hunchback.
4. Explore the arts of interior arrangement
There is evidence to suggest that the style and layout of our home interiors can make us feel great if carefully thought out and organised.
Look into trends like the Danish ‘Hygge’ (pronounced hoo-gah), the Chinese ‘Feng Shui’, or the Swedish ‘Lagom’ (Lar-gohm). These principles – dealing with cosiness, harmony, and balance, respectively – are great ways to style your home, and can make you feel fantastic. And we all know a good mood is key to good health!
5. Craft a pleasant aesthetic
Put simply, if you like the way your home looks, you’re going to feel better when you spend time there. Well-being isn’t just about how you feel physically, but mentally too, and there’s plenty of research which shows just how connected the two are.
Include artwork, furniture, appliances, and even wallpaper/paint designs that you love the look of. Use your home as a canvas to express your personality, and spending time there will inevitably make you feel better – and more ‘at home’ in your living environment.
6. Keep baths/showers (and fridges) clean
When we don’t at least vaguely keep on top of the cleanliness of our home, germs, dust, mould and all other sorts of other well-being busting problems crop up.
Showers, baths and fridges are among the most important things to keep spick and span. Trying to wash in a dirty shower or bath is completely counter-productive, and essentially is just a waste of water.
Similarly, fridges that aren’t regularly wiped down/cleaned out harbor all kinds of germs – and even if you eat healthily, an unclean fridge could mean you’re ingesting germs and microbes that will hinder your well-being progress.
7. Think about what food is in the house – and where
This one might seem strange, but think about how your home is laid out, and where the food is in relation to where you usually spend time.
Keep healthy snacks within reach of where you relax (placing the fruit bowl right by the TV or sofa/couch is a nifty trick). Make it as easy as possible to eat and snack healthily, and as difficult as possible to feast on naughty foodstuffs.
Ensure that you keep your home stocked with healthy, fresh food to remove the temptation of sugary or processed foods. Plan meals ahead of time, and schedule comprehensive food shopping trips. In particular, you should avoid shopping when hungry to mitigate the risk of stocking up on unhealthy ‘quick fix’ foods.
These are just a few examples of the kind of things you can do to ensure your home boosts your well-being. They aren’t a substitute for living a healthy lifestyle overall; we’re all on a wellness journey after all, and there are no easy fix-alls. But with that in mind, gearing your home – the base from which you live – towards your well-being could make your journey to feeling fantastic that little bit easier.