The end of the year is a time when we look to create new habits.
We reflect back on the year that we have had.
And decide what we would like to do differently.
Do you do that?
I love this practice and tend to do it way more often.
Here’s are 5 new habits that support health!
New Habit 1: Turn Off the Tech
Research shows that evening use of devices containing LED lights in their screens can have a large effect on our wellbeing.
Research out of Israel by Green, et al., discovered that 2-hours of evening exposure to these screens resulted in:
- Increased waking through the night,
- Poorer quality sleep, and
- Suppressed melatonin production.
The effects were also seen the following day, with:
- Increased sleepiness,
- A decrease in the ability to concentrate, and
- Reduced accuracy
Sleep in incredibly important not only for your mood and ability to concentrate, but also for your health and ability to tolerate environmental stressors.
So, when can you turn off the tech?
Habit #2: Easy & Breezy
Did you know that the air inside our homes can be 5-10 times more polluted than outdoors?
This is due to all sorts of reasons, from what we bring into our homes, to what our homes are made of, how we cook and what our pots and pans are made of…
And that is just for starters.
When we add pesticides, cleaning products and scented reeds into the mix, we are really cooking up a storm!
Then we’re there.
Breathing, eating, using the bathroom…
Sweating (or “perspiring” 😉 for those who don’t sweat), cooking, sleeping…
Everything we bring into our homes can affect the quality of the indoor air.
If our home is nicely energy efficient, it is very likely that it is well-sealed, keeping the indoor air in, and the outdoor air out.
This can lead to a build-up of volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, house dust mites, mould spores, combustion gases and more.
To make matters worse, if you never exchange the air in your home…
It never gets diluted.
That is how the indoor air can be so much worse than the outdoor air.
Where in your day can you open your windows and doors?
Habit #3: Healing Naturally
I always see nature as our baseline…
The ideal to which we strive…
The harmony and balance of nature is so supportive and healing.
The Japanese embrace this through their practise of Shinrin Yoku – or “forest bathing.”
The idea is that you wander out into nature, ideally under a canopy of trees, and sit or lay there for at least an hour.
I see so many benefits of this…
- You get to breathe fresh natural air, instead of indoor air
- Being in nature in this way can allow you to discharge accumulated EMF – it is a form of grounding
- I suspect that the air you breathe is full of natural antimicrobials – let’s face it, trees survive in a forest because of their natural antimicrobials
- If you do this free from devices, it can be deeply relaxing, which can be incredibly healing
- It can help us to reconnect with nature – which traditionally we have always been well aware of
I have seen research some years ago now, that found that the benefits of one-hour of forest bathing last for 7 days.
So even if you live in the city, you should be able to carve out an hour a week to do this.
Where can you create some time to be in nature?
Habit #4: Be a Labels Sleuth
Whilst there is a lot to learn about reading labels, there is a lot you can learn by doing this.
If you took a moment to review the labels of products as you pick them off the shelf, you might be surprised at what you see.
If I could encourage you to eliminate one ingredient…
It would be fragrance (also listed as perfume or parfum).
By cutting out fragrances, you could reduce your daily chemical exposure dramatically because…
Fragrances require so many chemicals to make them!
There are loads of other ingredients you can omit, too…
But fragrances are the best place to start.
Also, some products don’t necessarily have an ingredients list…
So, this is where you can put your nose to use and have a sniff of it.
Tip: toilet paper and sanitary products are often fragranced…
Instead, you may choose to focus on an ingredient in food.
Which ingredient are you going to target?
Habit #5: Need or Want?
When you are about to make a purchase, stop and think:
Do I actually need it?
If not, then consider why you want it.
The goal here is not to accumulate too much “stuff.”
Accumulating can lead to issues in terms of safety (trip-hazards), pests, dust (and house dust mites) and may even become a hygiene issue if cleaning becomes difficult.
We created a rule many years ago that you might like to adapt or adopt…
For every item that we buy, we need to pass on three to charity.
When I do this, I tend to really get into it, and often can fill a large garbage bag with goodies that would benefit from a new home.
It is surprisingly liberating to pass things on to charity…
What can you put in place, so you remember to ask, “Do I really need it?” when making a purchase?
5 New Habits
There you go – there are five new habits to propel you towards a home or workplace that supports your health.
Let me know how you go with them!
A. Green, M. Cohen-Zion, A. Haim & Y. Dagan (2017): Evening light exposure to computer screens disrupts human sleep, biological rhythms, and attention abilities, Chronobiology International, DOI: 10.1080/07420528.2017.1324878