Home is where the heart is, they say. It’s also where your health begins – both physically and mentally. But in today’s hyper-connected world, creating a true sanctuary to separate from work and clear one’s head takes effort.
Take the time to invest in your health at home. Follow these six tips for a healthier, happier household, and turn your home into a wellness escape.
Let There Be Light
Any given real estate agent will likely wax poetic about how much sun a home gets. But do you know why natural light is important to health, as well as real estate values? Lighting has the power to boost your mood, and is scientifically proven to improve happiness. Studies have shown a direct link between sunlight and serotonin – the chemical in your body that affects mood. No wonder even influencer photos with more lighting get Instagram likes in significantly higher numbers.
What if you don’t have much natural light and don’t have the resources to install new windows? In any case, you can still improve the mood in your home by simply replacing heavy curtains with lighter or translucent material, incorporating mirrors into your space and changing up your wall color. You can also make adjustments to your furniture arrangement to allow the light to flow better.
According to Matthew Tanteri, Design Principal of Tanteri + Associates (a daylighting architecture firm) and university lecturer on environmental lighting, you can increase the reflectiveness inside your home by angling your furniture to maximize the penetration of rays of light into your home, choosing “close to white” colors for the ceiling and walls, and by using a matte finish instead of glossy paint.
Declutter with DIY Feng Shui
Feng shui, the ancient Chinese system of arranging furniture to let energy flow through your household, is a great way to invest in your health at home. One of the most important principles of feng shui is decluttering. Think clarity and white space. Give yourself room to breathe by removing unnecessary objects and clutter from your personal space – allowing positive energy to flow more freely.
For more advanced feng shui, try repositioning your bed according to the Spruce’s bed placement guidelines. Move your bed far from the door, but not directly facing it or in line with it, and balance out your energy by placing similar bed stands on both sides.
Regardless of whether you want to follow this system to a T, or simply just change up your ch’i, a little redecorating now and again is proven to make you happier.
Beyond literally pumping oxygen into the air, plants impart a number of health benefits on their human caretakers. The feeling of being in touch with nature provides stress relief, a more peaceful mindset and an overall sense of well-being.
Adding houseplants to your decor also has the functional perk of softening background noise. If you have party animal neighbors or live near a busy road, or you just want to make your home into more of a quiet sanctuary, plants might be your leafy silencing solution.
Lastly, houseplants require regular care, which provides a healthy routine for their owners. Watering your plants at a certain time every day may inspire you to build other routines into your daily life – eating, walking and sleeping at a similar time each day helps establish the body’s circadian rhythm, lowering stress and the risk of heart disease.
Get Better ZZZs
You spend up to one-third of your life asleep. That’s a lot of time to waste being uncomfortable. And unfortunately, data from the CDC reports that one-third of adults in the U.S. aren’t even sleeping enough. Developing good sleep habits can often come down to what you’re sleeping on.
Many people settle for an aged mattress that they put up with for far too long. Actually, a comfortable mattress is one of the best investments you can make. Not getting enough sleep can cause a number of short-term health problems including stress, irritability, lack of focus and nightmares, as well as long-term ailments like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and ultimately a shortened life expectancy.
New companies like Casper and Tuft & Needle are trying to make good sleep more accessible for everyone by simplifying the mattress buying process. Many of these startups provide a 100-night sleep trial, so you can test out how your new mattress feels before making that important investment.
Introduce a Little Class
In-home fitness classes no longer consist of a Richard Simmons VHS tape and neon leg warmers. (Unless that’s still your thing, in which case, keep on sweatin’ to the oldies.) Today there are a number of high-tech options for keeping to a fitness routine in the comfort of your own home – minimizing the time you’d otherwise spend commuting to the gym, and maximizing the time you have for your favorite activities.
Peloton offers in-home cycling classes through digital screens on their proprietary exercise bikes. Since the classes are on-demand, you don’t have to peg your workout schedule to a specific gym’s calendar. You can simply set aside an hour in your living room, hit a button and voila: spin class has begun.
A more DIY digital approach to in-home fitness classes is watching streaming video services. Popular workout programs like Tone It Up offer guided exercise routines. Many of these programs offer DVDs and premium subscriptions that cost far less than a monthly gym membership and don’t require you to leave the house.
Turn Your Home into a Spa
Enjoying regular health benefits at home is now as easy as hitting a button on your smartphone. Zeel, a wellness app that provides on-demand massage therapy, is the first service in the world to offer an in-home mobile massage membership. With health subscriptions like this, you can get a rejuvenating massage therapy session in your home every month. The licensed massage therapist arrives at your door with all the necessary equipment – all you have to do is kick back and relax. Now you always have time for a massage.
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