Healthy home habits well-being includes body and mind
Even with the best of intentions, most of us experience challenges on the road to wellness, the term now commonly used to describe optimal physical, emotional, and mental health.
Fortunately, the journey can begin with small steps at home, aided by both simple tools and sophisticated technology.
There’s a well-established link, for example, between oral health and diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and respiratory illness, as well as pre-term and low-birth-weight babies, according to the Canadian Dental Association.
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
To improve oral hygiene, Philips’ Sonicare DiamondClean uses an app to identify a user’s brushing problem areas, to set oral health goals, and to send data to the user’s dentist.
If the $250 price tag is too high, use a regular toothbrush at least twice a day and for at least two minutes. Replace it every three to four months or after you’ve had an illness or infection. Rinse it well before and after using, giving it a good shake to dispel water. It should sit upright to dry in a holder between uses and not touch toothbrushes of other family members. Don’t cover the brush, as bacteria loves to grow in closed, damp environments.
CATCH YOUR ZZZS
Poor quality or inadequate sleep has also been linked to chronic diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Simple changes to a bedtime routine can help. Start by turning off social media at least an hour before sleeping, and reducing room temperature. Because excess light can affect sleep quality, consider heavy curtains or an eye mask — easy to find and inexpensive at retailers like HomeSense or Winners. New lighting products can help with custom settings, delivering soothing hues at bedtime, or a gentle sunrise simulation when it’s time to rise and shine.
Canadian tech company Nanoleaf, for example, has just launched a line called Canvas; light squares that can be connected to create a design on any surface, and can be programmed to provide lighting for reading, watching movies, or falling asleep. For fun, the light pattern also responds to touch, and to music. The system works with Apple Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa.
An aromatherapy diffuser can set a calming mood in a home office or bedroom. Indigo sells a very pretty Auria diffuser in a gold and wood finish. This model, which connects to USB power supply, works for both home and travel, continually misting for up to four hours.
Lounging around the house to de-stress has a role in self-care, but research also links sitting for long periods with obesity, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels.
One way to encourage movement at home is to keep a basket of workout gear handy. Seeing a pair of weights, resistance bands, and yoga mat in the corner of a family room may encourage you to use them while watching a movie, or to follow along with one of the many good-quality exercise videos on YouTube.
The Apple watch also offers new ways to monitor health, based on four parameters: activity, mindfulness, nutrition, and sleep. In the home, it can be used as an aid in an exercise practise such as yoga, and to track calories or heart rate. An accelerometer and gyroscope even detects hard falls — helpful for seniors who wish to age in place at home.