When many people think about their health, mental or physical, they think about ways to improve it. Things like diet, exercise, sleep, and stopping substance abuse may come to mind. And that’s a good start
But did you also know that where you live, and specifically your home itself, can be a huge determinant in your overall health? The environment in and around your home factors into your health in some very surprising ways.
You may not think of your home as causing you stress, but it can actually be a major source of elevated cortisol levels. Studies have shown that people report high stress levels in cluttered homes and environments. So if you feel like you’re dealing with a lot of stress lately, you may want to consider whether your house is a contributing factor.
On the bright side, decluttering can itself be a great stress-relieving activity and it’s not very difficult to begin. Set aside some time to tackle the clutter and slowly begin getting rid of all the buildup.
Poor Air Quality
Another unhealthy factor can be the air quality in your home. Poor air quality isn’t just a problem for those with asthma and other respiratory issues; bad air quality can contribute to allergies, trouble breathing, and even mold growth. Pet dander can also contribute to your home’s overall air quality.
If you’re concerned about the quality of your indoor air, try replacing your HVAC air filters regularly or even buying a residential-grade air filter. You can also work on keeping the pollutants out with surprisingly simple changes. Replacing your door, for instance, can make your home air cleaner by keeping dust and allergens out.
It’s not even just your home that’s contributing to your health – it’s also your surrounding neighborhood. The neighborhood environment can affect you in several big ways. Suburban neighborhoods, for instance, are generally more spread out and less walkable, leading to more time spent driving and less time exercising.
But urban neighborhoods have their own drawbacks, too. On the plus side, you’ll likely be more mobile and spend more time walking (getting good exercise), but on the other hand, urban environments can have higher air pollution levels.
Take a look around your home and see if there’s anything that is directly or indirectly contributing to your overall health. Chances are that you’ll find at least a few areas, but fortunately, many of them have relatively simple fixes.