My routine is very different during the winter compared to the summer. In the colder months, I exercise less, I crave warm comfort foods, and I spend significantly more time indoors. If you can relate, then consider these ways to detox your indoor environment and boost your resiliency.
Indoor Air Contaminants
Indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, and even up to 100 times more with some pollutants. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that we spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors.
During the winter, we also open windows and doors less, so toxic fumes from the release of indoor materials and from other sources become trapped and accumulate. Following the tips below, however, can help detox your indoor environment.
1. Reduce Indoor Combustion. Certain winter habits pollute our indoor air further: We burn candles, use fireplaces, and cook more indoors. Minimize using fireplaces and burning candles. When you can’t resist, remember that 100 percent unscented beeswax candles are best; beeswax candles scented with 100 percent natural essential oils are healthier options for when you crave scents.
2. Avoid Artificial Scents. While winter-themed products make our indoor ambiance more festive, synthetic fragrances are formulated with a variety of chemicals that may not be safe. Furthermore, inhaling these chemical formulas provides them with a fast route into our bodies. So avoid what you can, and remember air fresheners are obvious sources of these chemical-laden fumes.
3. Facilitate Air Exchange. Ventilate when cooking. Consider opening windows after burning candles and using products with artificial scents. Air purifiers can reduce toxic exposures too.
4. Fight the Dust. Household dust has been found to contain dozens of toxins, including pesticides and lead. Vacuuming and wiping surfaces with a wet microfiber cloth should be done regularly to minimize your exposure.
5. Reduce Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields. Electrical devices—such as televisions and appliances—emit electromagnetic fields. You can reduce your exposures by removing unnecessary devices from your bedroom, where we spend 1/3 of our time. Try not to keep devices plugged in near your head (like electric alarm clocks and cordless phones). Turn wireless devices off when cell service isn’t needed. If you can’t, set them to airplane mode. Turn off Wi-Fi routers at night too.
6. Exercise. Sweat regularly. And as long as you are dressed for it, consider raising your heart rate outdoors, where you can get sunshine and your lungs can take in fresh air.
7. Eat to Boost Immunity. Nutrient-dense diets for the winter include soups and vegetable-rich dishes. My favorite ingredients include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, orange foods (like squashes, sweet potatoes, and carrots), and other immune-boosting ingredients (like garlic, onions, and mushrooms). Organic herbal teas also support immunity, detoxing, and sleep.
8. Hit the Sauna. Salt baths and infrared saunas can help detox the body. Afterwards, hydrate your skin. My favorite non-toxic moisturizers include organic sesame oil (yes, the kind you cook with, but not the toasted kind!) for the body, and organic shea butter for my feet and hands.
Sophia Ruan Gushée is the author of “A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures,” described as “a great guide for people to reduce their toxic exposures from consumer products” by New York Times best-selling author Dr. Frank Lipman. This article was originally published on NaturallySavvy.com