Self-care has evolved. In the past, self-care was perceived as taking time for a bubble bath or a nice massage. Everyone is concerned with thriving personally, but a big part of that is having a healthy environment to exist in. So, broaden your view of self-care to include taking care of yourself, your family, your home, the land you live on, the creatures who live with and near you, and the water and air everyone shares.
Sound like a big job? It is a big job, but each individual can make a difference. If everyone can begin to value the planet and fellow cohabitants, then changes for the good are possible. Everyone can all help green up their own little corner of the world. Additionally, the positive energy from individual caring actions magnifies the good in yourself and can inspire others. So, take care of your home and environment as you would care for your own body.
Green self-care includes suggestions about cleaning chemicals, lawn care, noise, and landscaping. The goal is to share ideas that are easy, cost-effective, fun and healthy for humans, as well as the planet.
Green Self-Care in the HomeLet’s look at self-care as a sort of balancing act. There are some changes that can be made easily and others that are a much greater challenge. Green self-care isn’t about adding more things to your already crowded to-do list. The intent is to raise awareness, not stress levels. Of all the suggestions highlighted here, a few might seem easier. Those are your starting points. Every small change you make increases your energy to thrive and requires less energy from the planet. Toxic choices are hard on the body and on the planet. Just as the garbage people throw in the dump doesn’t just disappear, the toxic chemicals people may use to clean their homes or treat lawns don’t go away easily either. Washing toxins down the drain take them out of your sight, but nature still has to face them. Having said that, it might not yet be possible to make your footprint on the planet completely disappear, but it is possible to significantly decrease it. Making that choice will allow both you and the planet to thrive. The top tips for doing just that are highlighted below.
Get the Toxins Out of CleaningEvery day in most homes in the United States, someone pulls out a bottle of cleaner and sprays it on their counters, floors, walls, and furniture. The chemicals in these products are not controlled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because they aren’t ingested.1 However, they are inhaled and absorbed through the skin. Try searching the internet for “toxicity of household cleaning products.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, breast cancer research fund, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and a local waste management site are among the first-page results on a recent search. The point is that the products people use to clean their homes include corrosive, poisonous, flammable, and skin-irritating products. This is why individuals are encouraged to wear gloves, masks, and work in good ventilation when using these products. What do you think years of exposure to these chemicals does to your body? In considering green self-care, it’s suggested that you take the perspective of making the environment in your home the best you can so that you can also thrive. Long-term exposure to chemicals in the home is like adding unnecessary obstacles to our body’s long-term health. Additionally, long-term exposure to many of the chemicals found in household cleaners can cause irritation and inflammation in the body, making it more vulnerable to other health issues.2 There are new lines of household cleaning chemicals available in health food stores and perhaps even in your favorite market that might be safer and more environmentally friendly options. Just be mindful of reading labels and ingredients. You might also consider making your own cleaning products. This can sound complicated but water plus vinegar, baking soda, a bit of rubbing alcohol, and a favorite essential oil can easily make a gentle cleaning spray that tackles most household cleaning jobs easily.
Be Mindful About WaterThe body must bathe each cell in water, and the quality of the water you take in is important. City water processing plants add chlorine and fluoride to the water. Both are considered carcinogens by many researchers, and many people choose to avoid them. Look into water filters or sources of spring water, then use it to drink and to cook with.
Bring Fresh Air Indoors
Everyone savors those spring days when they can open the windows and let in fresh air. But what happens during those months when the windows are closed? Many people enjoy adding fragrances to their home. Some like candles or other scenting appliances. The challenge of these products in the green self-care plan is that the chemicals in these fragrances are often irritating to humans and pets. While the fragrance might smell like apple pie, the chemicals contained in the fragrance are very different than the pie. While the scent may be enjoyable, it’s just synthetic chemicals floating through the air. These chemicals land on your skin and are breathed into the lungs. Fragrances can trigger allergic reactions, rashes, and more.
From the perspective of balance, it’s one more chemical you are exposing your body to that it must overcome. There is a solution, however. Explore the world of therapeutic grade essential oils. These oils are actually distilled from plants, so the peppermint scent is actually made from peppermint plants rather than a synthetic peppermint fragrance. Even people with scent sensitivities and allergies are generally not bothered by essential oils. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that these oils are powerful and intended as a natural remedy, so don’t use them without learning a bit about them. Additionally, some oils can be toxic to pets, so consider your entire family when making choices about essential oils.