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Healthy Home Design

Like many of us, before COVID it never occurred to us that one day we would have to stay home for weeks on end and never leave.  This pandemic has changed so much of how we view our time, relationships, and certainly our homes.  Some of these changes have been for the better.  We make that extra phone call to family instead of the text, we savor the moments we can hug and be together and don’t take those for granted like we used to in the past.

But I’m sure I’m not alone in stating some things have changed for the worse, and maybe we need a little check-in to see if things need to adjust.

Some of those things may be bad habits we have created at home.  According to a recent study internet use is up 50-70% and especially among young adults and its almost an average of 8 hours a day. ( And even more concerning according to the CDC children ages 11-14 spend nearly 9 hours a day in front of a screen.  (Let me be the first to state I’m not “anti-screens” and they can have a wonderful place in the home – I’m speaking of boundaries lost, and bad habits picked up- and I’m preaching to myself here as well, by the way.) With that said, we know increased or excessive screens lead to a myriad of physical, mental, emotional, and social issues.  So now that we all feel bad, (not my intention!) what can we do?

One step in the right direction can start in how we design our home.  

We don’t intend to but sometimes we arrange our entire homes around screens.  Then we wonder why we can never break free from them.  Its like wanting to eat healthy but keeping fresh doughnuts on the counter at all times.  Its just not a great idea. If there is a screen or screen access in every room first take a moment and see if they could all be in one room instead of many.  Could the den be the “screens” room and the rest of the house a screen free space? That way a movie night or video games can be special and not just turned to out of boredom. Find out what works best for you and your family and make a plan and then do it!

Many homes keep screens covered and not the center of attention in the room.  (I have a lovely canvas that covers mine). Here is an easy how to cover your screens. Sometimes out of sight is out of mind! In addition I love that kids can’t just turn them on without having parents uncover them first.  (Easier to stop before it starts!)

Create calming, fun, creative, or unique spaces! Not just the typical, “here is a room with all of the seating arranged around a screen.”  If you have a hobby or something healthy that you love and its in a closet, perhaps take it out? If art is your thing maybe create a space in your living room where your art can readily accessed.  There are ways to have our books, games, art, and other hobby items readily available without having our homes look cluttered and messy. Here are some examples and ideas of unique and wonderful spaces: living room and play room combo, art spaces at home, indoor gardens, ideas for a bike-friendly home, (and there is so much more out there!)

Also after the pandemic physical activity and exercise has decreased according to most studies.  How can you set up your home to create healthier activities and habits?  Do you love biking? Walking? Great, then what do you need to do to make that happen more and binge Netflix less?  For me sometimes its as simple as putting up photos of wonderful memories of me with friends or family doing something I love to make me look at the hiking picture and say to myself…hmm that would be great, maybe I should do that today?  I’m not saying you should decorate your home like the inside of an REI (Unless that’s your thing, go for it) but create a space that reflects the “YOU” you want to be.

I noticed when I left my cameras out and put up more pictures- I was taking more pictures.  When kids have art supplies within reach and not an iPad more art will get made! When living rooms are set up for community and face to face interactions more people come over!  

So here’s my big challenge, (please know I’m challenging myself as well) what are three things you wish you did more?

How can you rearrange something in your home to make these things happen more frequently?

Do you need to get rid of some things? Do you need to bring new things in? Who is the real you?  Not the “tired all the time and I eat in front of tv for hours and hours” you (by the way screens negatively affect sleep!)  Who were you before a screen was in front of your face 5+ hours a day and you stayed inside a lot?  That YOU is still in there.

It all starts at home.