Your home is where your heart is, and it’s a place where your memories will be made. It can be a place of merriment and laughter, of joy and togetherness. A place where lessons are learned, hugs are shared and bonds of love are forged and strengthened. But it can also be a place where fights are fought, doors are slammed, illnesses are caught and interpersonal problems are allowed to fester while all parties involved staring blankly at the TV (or, increasingly, their phone screens). Of course, while it’s likely that every home has a little bit of both, as the responsible adult of the house it’s up to you to attempt to strike that difficult balance through stress, fatigue, illness, and animosity.
Your home is more than just a roof over your head. It’s a sanctuary for you and your family. A place where you can be yourself without judgment, without the worry of how you’re perceived and without the need to put on the face you wear for the outside world. But in order to achieve this your home needs to be healthy. This doesn’t just mean safe and hygienic (although that’s certainly part of it), it also means that it insulates you and your family from the emotional and psychological rigors of a household without harmony. A healthy home isn’t just one that’s free of harmful bacteria, it also prohibits harmful habits and facilitates open and honest communication as well as ensuring that its inhabitants are healthy in mind and body. As such, a healthy home should have at least some of the following…
A clean and tidy kitchen
Memories are made in the kitchen, and the kitchen is one of the most important parts of any home. A kitchen is where good food is prepared, sampled and eaten. It’s where people who love one another come together in the simple celebration of that most quotidian yet magical act… that of eating. But you are what you eat and that means that your kitchen needs to be kept clean at all times. Remember that most kitchen countertops have more bacteria lurking on them than the average toilet seat and if you have young children or elderly relatives living with you they are especially vulnerable to bacteria like listeria, salmonella, and campylobacter. Thus, it’s essential that not only is your kitchen kept clean, you also ensure that you cook and store your food properly.
Speaking of storage, ensure all dangerous utensils are kept out of the reach of children and that everyone able to use them has been taught how to use them safely. Not only will this keep your kitchen safe, it’ll keep it tidy and clutter free.
A refrigerator full of fresh veggies and fruits
There’s no better way to give your kids a head start in life than by making sure that they’re well nourished and that starts and ends with fresh produce. In an era where high calorie, low nutrient fast foods, processed foods and convenience foods are increasingly common, we owe it to our kids to show them what real food is. And only fresh vegetables and fruits are loaded with the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients they need to keep their bodies in peak condition, facilitate their learning in school and keep their immune systems healthy and robust so that they can keep the disease at bay. Rid your refrigerator of processed foods, especially processed meats like ham, bacon, salami and pepperoni which have been classified by the World Health Organization as type 1 carcinogens.
A clean and well serviced air con unit
Cool, clean and fresh air is important in more ways than one. Hot weather can have a negative impact on our behavior. It can make us irritable, quick to anger and generally not the person that we want to be. Thus, an AC unit is an important addition to a happy home… But like anything else in your home, it needs love, care, and proper maintenance. Unclean or dysfunctional AC units can create warm and damp conditions that can be a magic carpet for bacteria like Legionella pneumophila which results in Legionnaires disease. Fortunately, simple air quality testing and maintenance are neither difficult nor cripplingly expensive. Fail to keep on top of it, however, and your family’s health can be compromised.
Clutter-free communal areas
Clutter is at best a visual distraction and a nuisance and at worst it can take a serious toll on your mental health. Clutter can make a clean room look dirty. It can rob a well-decorated space of its character and it can make the home a nightmare for those who work remotely. Keep your communal areas clear of clutter and you’ll enjoy a feeling of peace and serenity when you spend time in them.
Personal space for everyone
As the old song says… Everybody needs a little time away from each other. No matter how much love each person under your roof has for one another, it’s essential that they have a little space of their own. Many parents worry about their kids’ need for solitude but they need a space that’s well and truly theirs every bit as much as you do, a place where they can relax and center themselves and feel at peace with who they are. Even very young kids need opportunities to find their independence and giving them their own space to enjoy (as well as clean and maintain) is a big part of that.
Books. Lots of books
In an increasingly digital era where kids have so many gadgets and gizmos screaming for their attention and a deluge of data coming at them from all angles, books are far from irrelevant. In fact, it’s arguable that they’re more important than ever. Books educate and edify as well as being a fun place to escape to. We all remember those first books we fell in love with. The ones that we couldn’t put down, read under the covers in bed and rushed back from school to get straight back into. You wouldn’t dream of depriving your family of that!
Enjoy the rest of your day and your happy, healthy household.
This post may or may not contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of the products I have recommended, I may or may not receive a small commission at no cost to you. For more information, please see my disclosures.