So you bought an online gym membership, recorded your nutrition goals, and maybe even downloaded a meditation app. 2021 is in full force, which means your resolutions are too. But while you may think you have everything needed to achieve health goals and reach your best self, do you know how your environment might impact those goals?
Think about it: you are what you eat, but you are where you live too. The place you spend the most time in should not only be organized and clean, but should be used to boost your mental and physical health. You don’t have to invest in expensive renovations or fancier furniture to make your home healthier, happier, and more motivating. In fact, it requires just a few key hacks. Here are eight home upgrades that can make a big difference in your health and happiness:
1. Healthier lighting
I know I’m extra when it comes to wellness, but doesn’t being indoors 24/7 make you wonder how it affects your health? One of the upgrades that has made the biggest difference for me is switching lightbulbs. BIOS is not just the average bulb you stock up on at CVS. BIOS lightbulbs emit specific wavelengths that provide many of the same circadian benefits as the sun. To understand why I love this upgrade so much, you probably have to understand a little bit about the circadian rhythm. To summarize, the body has a biological clock that responds to light from the sun during the day and darkness at night. This response tells us when to be awake and when to sleep.
In today’s world, we stay awake well after the sun has set, spend all day indoors, and no longer rely on the sun for light, which can negatively affect the body’s circadian rhythms. Switching to BIOS SkyBlue can increase alertness, enhance productivity, boost your mood, and help you sleep better. Likewise, a BIOS Nightfall lightbulb reduces blue light by up to 700 percent (yes, really!) to help your body relax and fall asleep. BIOS brings the necessary and biological benefits of natural sunlight into your home for more energetic, productive days and more restful, sleepy nights.
2. Indoor plants
A ficus in the corner or a succulent on the coffee table isn’t just a decor statement; it’s a health hack. Some studies show that interacting with indoor plants may help reduce stress, and one study even found that plants can spark creativity. Plus, some houseplants can purify toxins in the air, especially in enclosed spaces with little airflow (AKA my studio apartment). To start an indoor plant collection, click here to learn how to keep them alive, click here for the best plants to ease stress, and click here if you’re convinced you don’t have a green thumb. Whether it’s an indoor herb garden or a love fern (rom-com fans will get that one), try caring for at least one plant for a wide range of health and stress-relief benefits.
3. Non-toxic cleaning supplies
I’m sure it’s not the first time you’ve heard that you should be switching your dish soap and all-purpose cleaner to more natural options (you know, the options that don’t come with a warning label), but do you know why? According to the Environmental Working Group, many home cleaners can release toxic chemicals into the air that could result in health problems. Plus, federal regulation surrounding cleaning products is highly unregulated, and manufacturers aren’t required to disclose every ingredient (including the ones that are harmful to the health of humans, animals, or the environment). Switching to non-toxic cleaning products (or DIYing your own) can not only be better for your health, but better for the planet. To check out more info about natural cleaning products, click here.
4. Health-friendly kitchen gadgets
Eating healthy is so much easier when you’re cooking at home, and cooking at home is so much easier with gadgets and tools that make plant-based eating not only convenient but more delicious. For example, use a spiralizer when you’ve got a craving for pasta (I drool over the TikTok feta pasta) and want a nutritious version. After all, zucchini and carrots taste better when they’re in the shape of noodles. We’re also big fans of air fryers because they can make your favorite foods (like fries) in a much healthier way, and any veggie tastes more delicious when it’s crispy. Also, have a blender on hand to make smoothies and sauces, as well as a pressure cooker to throw in ingredients during the day for a nutritious dinner waiting for you at night.
5. Optimized WFH spaces
Since working from home isn’t going anywhere and the kitchen table has become your office, optimize your work setup to not only make you better at your job, but also to make you healthier. Start with blue-light screen protectors (to protect your eyes) and laptop stands (to help with posture and avoid dreaded text neck). Also, you don’t even need to leave your desk to get in exercise anymore. Consider switching to a standing desk, or if you’re stuck with your old seated desk (or that aforementioned kitchen table), try out a mini exercise bike or treadmill that goes underneath. And if exercise equipment isn’t your thing, switch out your chair for a yoga ball or sit on a wobble cushion to work your core. Now that’s some serious multitasking.
6. Decor that makes you happy
Home decor should not only look good and feel functional, but it should also make you happy and help relieve stress. If walking into your front door doesn’t instantly lift your mood, it’s time for some adjustments. Hang up mirrors opposite windows to fill the space with more natural light, paint walls with colors that are proven to boost happiness (color therapy is real!), light or diffuse your favorite scents, and hang up artwork that reminds you of a happy memory—like a painting of a vacation destination or childhood photographs. BTW, pictures of nature can reap some of the health benefits of actually being in nature. Prioritize comfort and coziness, and opt for decor pieces that make you feel instantly happy over pieces that are on-trend.
7. Sustainable food organization
It’s about time we ditch the aluminum foil, plastic bags, and disposable plasticware once and for all. In 2021, there are more than enough options to organize our produce, store fresh foods, and keep leftovers in more sustainable ways. Food organization looks instantly satisfying (if you watched Get Organized with The Home Edit, you know) and reduces food waste by keeping produce fresher for longer—which means no more throwing out rotten bananas or droopy herbs. But food organization can also be better for the earth when you’re no longer using disposable packaging. Try storing grains and dried beans in jars, use glass containers and beeswax wrap for leftovers, and keep produce storage containers in the refrigerator for your fruits and veggies to stay fresh.
8. Books tailored to health goals
Even if you’re not a self-identified bookworm like me, you probably have books somewhere: a stack of them on your nightstand, a coffee table book in your living room, or a shelf of cookbooks in your kitchen. For optimal health (and happiness), why not add books specifically tailored to making you better? For example, a healthy cookbook on display can inspire you to choose more nutritious options, or a self-help book on your nightstand makes it easy to get in some inspiration first thing in the morning or right before bed. Books are a great way to sprinkle a little more inspiration and stress-relief into your day. Opt for covers that motivate or relax you and topics tailored to your specific health goals for an added dose of motivation throughout your home.
How have you changed up your home to improve your health and happiness?
This post contains a sponsored inclusion of BIOS, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.