We hear many practitioners and presenters talking about lifestyle and what changes we should make to improve our health.
When we think of lifestyle, we usually think of food, drink, activity and social life. But lifestyle is much more than these, and we need to consider all aspects of our lifestyle in order to build robustness and joyful wellness. Lifestyle includes influences from conception through all our years of life – gestation, birth, childhood, self-choices, social contact, family dynamics, environment, ingestible therapies, and much more.
It will take more than one blog to cover all we need to consider, so keep watching for the next episodes.
WHERE WE LIVE
We cannot always choose the location of our home. This may be dictated by access to work, schools for the kids, community ties or affordability. Usually some combination of those factors.
There are, however, some aspects of location that must be considered if we are to be truly well, and we may need to make sacrifices in order to move out of a toxic environment.
Environmental factors that may impact our health include high-tension power lines within 500 metres/ 1/3 mile (further is better), farms or gardens where herbicides or pesticides are sprayed within 2 kilometres/1.2 miles (remembering that these sprays can drift up to 30 kilometres/19 miles on prevailing breezes), close to busy roads or freeways with pollution and noise, chemical blooms in ground water, areas of conflict or oppression, mouldy buildings than can’t be remediated. These are often factors that cannot be changed, and have a profound, negative effect on our health, so we may need to consider moving, even if this entails great effort and sacrifice.
However, if our home is not beset by such dramatic challenges, but not ideal, we can often make improvements and create a healing place where we are. Even if we are renting, we can make improvements and create spaces that will help us move towards wellness.
Plants - When I had severe Parkinson’s symptoms, I lived in rented houses. While I attempted to manage the established garden as well as possible (given that my physical strength was very low at the time), I made sure I had plenty of colourful plants in pots that were easy to care for, and could be moved easily if I left that house, or the owner wanted to make changes
Paint - Painting always improves a house inside and out. We chose to paint our living areas in a pale grey and, as we could, carried that colour outside. We find it restful and welcoming. You may choose different colours that give you joy and peace. If you are renting and you are not happy with the paint work, ask the landlord if you can paint one room to be your haven. The landlord may even have the room painted for you – one of mine did.
Photos and Art – Photos of loved ones or favourite scenes, joyful posters or your favourite paintings will always brighten up a room. These days there are wonderful stick-on picture hooks that will hold quite heavy weights and can be removed without marking the walls. While these were not available when I was so ill, I asked my landlords about hanging pictures and, without exception, they agreed.
Clearing Clutter – It is difficult to feel at peace if we are surrounded by clutter. Clearing clutter can help you feel better. If you find your wardrobes over-crowded, or you have run out of space for belongings, sit down and figure out what you need, a few things that you want, then get rid of the rest. Clutter stifles our ability to be active in healing. Create at least one uncluttered room in your house or apartment, so that you have a place of peace where you can meditate, read, or just “be”.
Quiet Space – Create a quiet place of peace in your house or apartment. We are battered by constant noise from refrigerator motors, traffic, almost inaudible but irritating “buzzing” from WiFi modems and other electronic devices and, perhaps, chatter from others sharing our home. Find a space/room, shed where you can remove noisy devices and just leave comfortable furnishings and, perhaps, a small music player for meditation/resting music, sounds from nature or similar.
Mould - Look for signs of mould in kitchen, laundry bathroom, behind curtains, under loose carpets and around doors. If there is mould, seek help in removing or ask the landlord to clear and remediate as this may be very detrimental to your health. Mould aggravates almost every disorder.
Gardens - If you own your home or are purchasing, planting indigenous plants in your garden that are easy to maintain (i.e. don’t need constant care), are tolerant of your climate, and give some flowers through most of the year can really lift the spirits. Leafy plants also help to clear the air by sucking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Mulching well when planting will reduce weed infestation making garden care easier.
We can create a healthier, healing lifestyle where we are with some simple, inexpensive changes.