It’s a surprising realisation for many people that we spend over 90 per cent of our time indoors. And yet we pay little attention to how our interiors directly affect our health.
When we are outside nature provides the perfect balance for our wellbeing. Inside, however, our manmade interiors have in many cases engineered wellness out of the space.
While increasingly we are creating interior spaces that are good for the environment, little attention has been given to how these same interiors are affecting human health.
Here are 10 key wellness protocols that if addressed can make significant improvements to our health and wellbeing.
We all need to stop sitting so much. Using a stand-up desk at work or home can reduce the significant health implications of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Just standing can reduce the chances of sedentary illnesses like diabetes and heart disease significantly.
Replace your old light bulb technology with the latest circadian rhythm lights that adapt their colour temperature during the day to reflect the changing light outside. Tip: blue light in the morning to kickstart your brain for the day ahead; warm oranges and reds in the evening to prepare the brain for sleep.
Be aware of the noise around you while working and at home. High levels of noise can lead to lower productivity, stress and, if at night, poor sleep. New contemporary designed acoustic panels that mimic art can reduce noise pollution significantly and keep you more relaxed and productive.
The air we breath inside is often more polluted that the air outside, especially in offices. Wall-mounted UV air purifiers have been proven to reduce airborne bacteria by over 70 per cent, meaning you breathe easy and stay healthy.
The water we drink and wash in is heavily treated with chlorine as well as carrying high levels of other traceable chemicals. Install a simple under-sink alkaline water purifier to remove 99 per cent of toxins and return the water to its natural structure.
Understand your sleep better and wake up refreshed. Wearable devices such as Jawbone and Fitbit track your sleep cycles and wake you at the optimal time in the morning when you are in your lightest sleep cycle. Or try dawn simulation alarm clocks that simulate the sun rising 30 minutes before the alarm sounds.
Instead of opting for that afternoon caffeine or junk food pick me up go for a healthy alternative. Keeping healthy snacks always at hand such as pulses, nuts and fruit makes it much easier to avoid those cravings and keeps your moods and ability to concentrate far more balanced.
Even if you are not a runner – walk! The medically recommended 10,000 steps a day can do wonders for your health. When at work take time every hour to walk around the office or head outside for a walking meeting, and take the stairs instead of an elevator whenever possible.
Meditate! Mindfulness as it is also known is a proven way to reduce stress, feel happier and improve productivity. Find a quiet corner at work or home, close your eyes and just focus on your breathing for 10 or 20 minutes. The positive effects on your wellbeing are scientifically proven and are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace as a way to beat the effects of stressful workloads.
Clean surfaces reduce your chances of being exposed to bacteria and illness. The average person touches 132 items per day. Consider a non-toxic water based treatment, such as Microbe Shield Treatment, which can protect surfaces you are in regular contact with for up to 30 days.
Nigel Hobbs is founder of Welnis Labs, an interior consultancy and fitout company.