Tips for a Healthy Home in the Winter
Winter is like the yin to summer’s yang. I personally love summer and have never minded the hot weather, however, there is some beauty to winter as well: snuggling on the couch, hot baths, warm soups and stews, and of course the fireplace.
Winter also means we spend more time indoors, with the windows closed for months, the heat recirculating the same air over and over, and the toxins and allergens in the air never have a chance to leave. By spending more time indoors I started thinking about how healthy my home actually is. While I am very careful with food and eating healthy- I coach my clients daily about healthy eating- I have ignored looking in detail at my indoor environment. So during these cold days, looking around I have decided to write about what I did to make my home a healthier one.
Here are a few tips on how to keep your home healthy during winter:
Open the windows and ventilate
It is so essential to open the window at least once or even twice a day to ventilate and improve the air quality in our homes. Don’t think about the heat loss but more about bringing some fresh air into your home especially the bedroom.
Swapping your house cleaners to non-toxic ones:
There is so much toxicity in the housecleaners, these toxins just evaporate into the air and with our closed windows we inhale them. So I decided to do the research and found that not all products labeled “ green” or “natural” or “eco-friendly” are actually safe. A study I read recently found that some of these products contained up to 42 toxic or hazardous chemicals. Check the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Guide to Healthy Cleaning; a well-researched guide with safety ratings of over 2,500 products.
The brands I use are Method, Ecover and Dr. Bronners. I also started slowly making my own cleaners at home, by mixing baking soda with white vinegar, vodka, geranium essential oil and tea tree oil. Many recipes are available online.
Stay away from synthetic home fragrances
These fragrances are a major source of toxic chemicals. Scented candles, air fresheners, and deodorizing sprays are not good for you. If you need a nice smell in your home just use a diffuser with essential oils, buy fresh flowers or a small plant, or just open that window.
Buy a House Plant
After reading the NASA guide to air filtering house plants, I went and bought 2 plants: a Chinese evergreen and a spider plant, one for the living room and one for the bedroom. NASA experts recently discovered that certain plants are the best ways to clean the air in space stations. Their Clean Air study found that certain plants are more effective at removing benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia from the air—these chemicals have been linked to have health effects like headaches and eye irritation.
Here is a link to the study and to which plants are best to have in your home.
Move your desk next to a window
Dark and short days are winter’s specialty. So we hardly see the daylight, to stay in synchronization with the circadian rhythm, I moved my desk next to the window, this way I can feel and see the daylight.
Buy a water filter
One of the best gifts I have received is a water filter (I use the Berkey system), which I am in love with. The water taste, smell and feel is so much better. With so many toxic chemicals in our water, investing in a good water system is essential. Stay away from plastic bottles, they are really not good for you.
More natural personal care products
I love personal care products but it is so difficult to find non-toxic natural ones and I have spent long hours researching for the best. The biggest benefit of using natural skin care is healthy, moisturized and balanced skin. The chemicals found in cosmetics and skincare products, penetrate our skin and then circulate throughout our bodies damaging our skin cells and putting us at risk for developing serious health problems over time. These chemicals can lead to irritation, breakouts, sun sensitivities, deterioration of the skin’s barrier functions. Trying to switch to a natural product is essential as we use these products we use daily.
Here are some brands I really like:
Soap: Dr. Bronner’s magic soap
Deodorant: Schmidt’s lavender- sage/ ursa major deodorant
Toothpaste: Weleda salt toothpaste/ Dr. Bronner’s
Eye make up remover: simply organic coconut oil or almond oil
Cleanser: Trilogy cleansing balm and Acure cleansing cream
Moisturizer: Ursa major / Pacifica
So enjoy your winter and I hope some of the above tips are helpful. Healthy living and healthy eating are the pillars for a healthy life.