When it comes to self-care habits, we tend to look at ourselves and wonder how we can cultivate inner peace. Yet not many people realise that there are eight areas of self-care: physical, psychological, emotional, social, professional, environmental, spiritual, and financial. Having a holistic approach to self-care means being aware of all these areas and how they affect you. In this article, we focus in on the environmental factors of self-care.
The environment where we spend our time has become more important now than ever, especially for those who are spending a lot of time at home during the pandemic. Our homes have become our workplace, school, gym, and still be a place to relax from all the everyday stresses. Whether you live alone or share your space, crafting an inviting home can have positive effects on your lifestyle. Here are VOYA’s top tips to enhance your environment and lift your spirits.
Declutter your space
Japanese organising consultant and TV-show host Marie Kondo has a philosophy to decluttering that teaches how to be mindful of everyday objects. What makes her method so effective is to not think about what you need to get rid of but what would you like to keep.
'Cherish the things that bring you joy and a reason to be grateful.'
Your home is a place of memories; somewhere unique to you so invite beauty into your life. For the things you no longer need, Marie encourages you to remember the positive feelings the object gave you, before letting it go. A cleaner home equals a clearer mind, and a clearer mind equals more happiness and productivity. For inspiration on how to understand if an item really sparks joy, check out Marie Kondo short video as she explains her simple decluttering technique.
Embrace Natural light
Adjusting the lighting situation in your home can transform your mood. Natural light has been shown to increase concentration and focus, reduce stress and boost your immune system. This might mean orienting areas in a room based on the time of day when the best light hits. For instance, it might be helpful to design a reading nook exactly where the sunlight tends to pour in from behind you when reading. If you have an outdoor area, make it more inviting so you are more likely to spend a little more time enjoying the sunshine, which has a calming effect. Sitting by a window can double an individual's alertness compared to sitting in the middle of the room.
Pay attention to air quality
According to the EPA, indoor air quality can be two to five times worse than outdoor air quality. Stale indoor air and heating systems can increase the number of dust particles lurking in your surroundings. Most of the things that trigger allergies and irritations are odorless. Opening windows and allowing fresh air to flow through the house can prevent fatigue and respiratory problems. This can be difficult during winter but remains important nonetheless. Regularly vacuuming and changing the bedding is vital to reduce indoor pollutants. A clean house is a healthier house because good indoor hygiene can greatly cut down on dust, and animal dander. In Ireland, the number of premature deaths attributable to air pollution is estimated at 1,300 people (Air Quality in Europe 2020, EEA) and is mainly due to cardiovascular disease. The WHO has described air pollution as the 'single biggest environmental health risk'.
Enrich with natural scents
Aromatherapy should be incorporated into your daily wellness routine. The simple act of lighting incense has been used for thousands of years in ceremonies and rituals, especially in meditation practices. Our smell is one of the most heightened senses linked to triggering emotion and essential oils can play a vital role within a home with their calming properties and health benefits. Many air fresheners contain volatile compounds that are not clearly stated on the label. Synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum products, which are harmful to the environment and our health. Look for naturally-scented and organic room sprays, diffusers, or soybean wax candles.
VOYA’s OH SO SCENTED Range of luxury lifestyle fragrances naturally eliminate odours while freshening the air with essential oils and natural emulsifiers. Each scent is unique and can be used in any room for a quick and convenient way to give your home an opulent spa ambiance. The Cedarwood and Bergamot fragrance is blended with compelling citrus and eucalyptus that create a sumptuous yet clean and balanced aroma. This ultra-luxurious and timeless scent helps to improve mental clarity and is a great addition to a living room or office. The Coconut and Jasmine fragrance is a summery scent that will transport you to the warm white sandy beaches of the Caribbean. The heavenly aroma of Jasmine with the earthy combination of Coconut can brighten up a hallway to greet you and your guests with its dreamy and exotic scent. The African Lime and Clove fragrance is mixed with notes of Lemon, Grapefruit, and fresh Lime combined with an unexpected twist of crisp herbs and warm spicy cloves. This scent provides an uplifting and refreshing pick me up to awaken the senses and is perfect for the bedroom to boost your mood.
Bring nature indoors
Fill your home with houseplants. They make a room prettier, healthier and connect us closer to nature. Houseplants help to cleanse your indoor air as the foliage and roots work in tandem to absorb chemical pollutants released by synthetic materials. The benefits of having plants around you are far worth the work in watering and feeding them. Research even shows they improve creativity and problem-solving! If you have kids or pets, make sure the plants aren’t poisonous if ingested. Check with your garden center which plants are best suited for you. The easiest to care for are fern and aloe vera plants. There are many useful online hacks and articles to help you along the way and bring out your inner gardener- How not to kill your houseplants
Harness home technology
It is good for the planet and your wallet to switch off electronics when they are not in use. As well as reducing the risk of a fire hazard, unplugging can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Simple to use technologies exist that allow you to control your lights from your smartphone. But remember to keep electric devices out of the bedroom for at least an hour or two before going to bed. The fewer distractions there are, the easier it is to cultivate a restful nighttime routine.
Re-imagine your space
Take time to observe the layout of a room and play around with different ways you can improve or alter the space. From restorations to budget-friendly rearrangements, there are plenty of opportunities to be creative. Imagine your ideal lifestyle and think about how your home design reflects your values, needs, and interests. Have fun and remember home is where your heart is. Personalising your place has become a trend of the year and there are plenty innovative and fun ways to decorate your home. Consider a contemporary poster of your county's sporting colours with Irish brand Camán and Co. Support local independent interior and lifestyle brands or upcycle items when possible. There are fantastic companies that specialise in handcrafting statement pieces using reclaimed materials such as Home Street Home and Wooden it be nice
Beyond the home
Our home is not just a house but the Earth too. We are citizens of the world and live together within a community. Respect for and an effort to preserve our rich heritage is a vital link to our cultural, educational, sustainable, inspirational, and economic legacies. This is essential for VOYA, we are the guardians of traditional seaweed harvesting methods, that have passed down through generations. Voya offsets all carbon dioxide emissions associated with the general operations and in turn over 6,098 m2 of world wildlife habitat and the amazon rainforest have been protected.
VOYA promise to continue to explore environmental and sustainable ways to do business by innovating and adapting where we can and when we can. We are on a trajectory to reduce waste, carbon emissions, and pollution by minimising our impact on the environment and planet Earth.
For more information on VOYA's ethos - https://www.voya.ie/pages/a-better-way