With many of us spending more time in our homes than usual, it’s important that it’s a space that not only helps us feel more positive and productive, but one that also supports our health. Here are six changes you can make now to help your home become a healthier, more nurturing space…
Embrace plant power
Countless studies prove that being in nature and surrounded by greenery can help alleviate stress and anxiety. The same is true when you bring the outside in. A recent study from Nasa found that certain plants – including chrysanthemum, English ivy and peace lily – help purify the air and reduce common indoor toxins, such as paint and cleaning chemicals. Plus, they release oxygen throughout the night (unlike most other plants, which release carbon dioxide at night), making them ideal bedroom plants.
Scent with wood
While an aromatic bouquet of jasmine and lilies may lift your spirits, woody scents should also be on your list of household fragrances. Pine trees, for instance, are loaded with health-enhancing benefits – scenting your home with their essential oil has been proven to improve energy, wellbeing, sleep, immune function, cardiovascular health and the parasympathetic (rest-and-recover) response. Candles are a relaxing tonic at the best of times, but add an outdoorsy and woody scent into the mix and you’re on to a winning combination. With its notes of sandalwood, guaiac wood and cedar, Byredo Tree House is a favorite.
Views of nature, landscapes or the sky have a positive effect on mood, attention and even recovery from illness – a Stanford University study showed hospital patients with tree views had a speedier recovery than patients whose rooms faced walls. So when you can’t get outdoors, at least look outside – especially if you’re feeling stressed or anxious.
Add some salt
Himalayan salt lamps and candle holders emit a natural warm red glow that provides a signal to the body that it’s time to wind down, inducing a deeper and more restful night’s sleep without interfering with the body’s natural circadian rhythm. Plus, the negative ions they release can increase levels of serotonin (the feel-good hormone), calm allergies and boost blood flow. If you like to end your day with a bath, buff your skin first with French Girl Organics Jasmin Sea Polish and then submerge yourself in the water without rinsing it away.
Smudge your space
Traditionally, this ancient ceremonial ritual is practiced by indigenous people in South America, Canada and America, who burn sacred herbs and medicines to cleanse a space or a person. Now, particularly in the West, the ritual has expanded beyond its cultural origins to be performed when a home or a space is thought to have negative energy. Exactly what you burn is hugely significant. Sage is said to bring clarity and wisdom; cedar enhances positive feelings and emotions; sweetgrass is a symbol of kindness; copal, a tree resin, is thought to assist meditation and increase peace of mind; while palo santo – from a tree that grows in South America – helps you to feel grounded and more creative. Light a small bundle of your chosen herbs with a match or lighter and walk through your home, allowing the smoke to reach every corner of every room. Put a clay or ceramic bowl under your smoking bundle to catch any falling embers and open your windows so the negatives you are releasing have an escape route.
BRING THE OUTDOORS IN