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We’re always looking for ways to improve our health. From new diet trends to exercise classes to going organic, every little change we make in our lives is one step forward in our struggle for optimal health. But what if we told you there were things you could be doing – and SHOULD be doing – everyday, that are incredibly simple lifestyle changes and will improve your health on a daily basis? And the best part is, you don’t even have to break a sweat! The following is a list of 13 things to do everyday to aid you in reaching your optimal health goals.
1. Remove Your Shoes At The Door
Many people either feel it will be too difficult to get into the daily habit of removing their shoes at the front door or too awkward to ask guests to. But this really should be a non-negotiable rule in every household. Not only will it keep your floors significantly cleaner (because let’s face it, who has time to wash their floors and steam their carpets every day?), but it will also keep you and your family significantly healthier.
Think about every surface your shoes touch on a daily basis, from the floor on a public restroom to the grounds at the local farm where you get your fresh produce. Sure, “a little dirt never hurt anyone!” But there’s more than just dirt on the bottom of your shoes. There could be E coli, animal and human fecal matter, motor oil, pesticides, remnants of glass and gravel and even lead dust. You can’t build immunity to these things through exposure, so do you really want to track them throughout your house on a daily basis?
2. Sanitize Your Cell Phone Daily
After spending a girl’s day out, shopping, snapping selfies and going to the movies, you arrive at a restaurant for lunch and immediately wash your hands before sitting down. You don’t want all of the germs you encountered from touching door handles, entering public restrooms and browsing clothing racks to get onto your food and into your body! But then, as soon as you sit down at the table, you grab your cell phone with your freshly washed hands and start browsing the web while you wait for your menu. You have now re-exposed yourself to every germ you encountered throughout the day.
There are potentially over 25,000 germs on your phone on a daily basis, from E coli to cold and flu viruses and beyond. And since constant use keeps the temperature of your cell phone elevated, it is the perfect breeding ground for these germs to thrive. Studies have shown that the petri dish that is one’s cell phone is potentially more germ-infested than a public toilet seat!
Make it a habit to sanitize your cell phone daily – especially after a day spent out in public or if you have taken your phone into the bathroom with you, shared it with someone or used it while cooking in the kitchen.
The best part is, there’s this clever little invention called “PhoneSoap” that lets you charge your phone while it uses a UV light to sanitize it at the same time! It’s so convenient and simple to use. Compatible with a variety of styles of cell phones, Phone Soap can easily become a part of your nightly routine!
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3. Always Flush Your Toilet With The Seat Down
A study from Leads Teaching Hospitals in the UK discovered that bacteria and viruses in fecal matter can be found in toilet water; and spray up to 10 inches above the toilet seat if it is flushed with the lid up. In the study, certain diarrhea-causing bacteria were found on nearby surfaces up to 90 minutes after flushing; and an average of 15-47 contaminated toilet water droplets can be found on the seat itself, the floor around the toilet and even the sink countertop next to it after every flush. Have you even thought about how close to the toilet your toothbrush sits on the counter? That is just gross.
To protect yourself and your bathroom from this gross, germy toilet spray, flush with the lid down. Every time. And get your kids and husband in the habit of doing it too.
4. Sanitize Your Kitchen Sponges Daily
Your kitchen sponge gets down and dirty with food and bacteria on the daily. Scrubbing everything from cutting boards and knives that were used to prepare raw meats to the teeniest straws and nipples of your little one’s bottles, you want to make sure your sponge is sanitized at the end of the day.
The easiest way to do this is by either placing it in the top rack of your dishwasher during your evening wash cycle or moistening it and then placing it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
5. Sanitize Your Toothbrush Weekly
It should be a no brainer that something that is being used every single day to clean food particles and bacteria from your teeth and gums should be sanitized often, but let’s be honest: have you ever once cleaned your toothbrush aside from rinsing it under the tap water after each brush session? Probably not.
With a mixture of saliva and food, toothbrushes can be a breeding ground for bacteria to grow. Why would you want to put that into your mouth day after day? You should not only thoroughly rinse your toothbrush in hot water after every brush session, but you should sanitize it too. You can do this by simply placing it in the top rack of your dishwasher, steaming it in your baby bottle sterilizer or placing the head in boiling water for a few minutes.
6. Replace Home Heating and Air Duct Filters Quarterly
Do you remember the last time you replaced your heating and air duct filters? Chances are, it has been too long. During periods of high use (such as mid-summer and winter), these filters should be checked often for dust and debris buildup. And they should absolutely be replaced every 3-4 months. This will ensure that the air flowing through your home is clean and dust-free!
7. Purge Old Makeup
Calling all makeup hoarders! We get it. Makeup is expensive. And it’s a lot of work and money building the perfect collection. While you might be proud of your 60 bottle display of nail polish (some dating back to your college days) and your vast collection of MAC eye shadows, the reality is that all makeup has a limited shelf life – and it’s probably a lot shorter than you think.
Remember that while it might be hard to toss a “perfectly good” lipstick because it has reached its expiration, you’re doing yourself a favor. Your skin is sensitive and precious, and you don’t want to be putting expired products on it that might do it more harm than good.
8. Stay Away From Commercial Plug-In Air Fresheners
If you love walking into your house and smelling the fresh apple-cinnamon scent from your favorite oil-based air-freshener plug-in, you’re not alone! Who doesn’t want their home to smell fresh all the time? But many of the store bought oil-based plug-in air fresheners contain unnatural ingredients and toxic chemicals to create that scent you love so much. The International Fragrance Association lists 3,163 stock chemical ingredients that can be used under the generic term fragrance. Of all of those, the EWG has found about 1 in every 20 to be highly hazardous. And those are just the chemicals found in the fragrance alone.
9. Clean Your Contact Lenses Properly
Rinse. Rub. Repeat. Soak. This is how you’re supposed to clean your contact lenses after each use. How often do you skip the first three steps and just toss them in the container to cleanse themselves overnight? Pretty much all the time, right? It might not seem like a big deal, but there’s a reason those first three steps exist. Soaking alone doesn’t remove daily grime from your lenses, which could result in eye irritation and even more serious infections. Take care of your eyes! They’re the only ones you’ll ever get.
10. Deep Clean Your Vacuum Quarterly
If you own a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, you’re already on the right track to clean air and floors in your home. But it’s just as important to remember to change the filter often and to deep clean the entire vacuum every 3-4 months. This will ensure that it is functioning properly and isn’t actually making your air dirtier.
11. Always Filter Your Tap Water
In 2009, the EWG found 316 chemicals in tap water across the United States. If your family drinks that tap water, they could be consuming hundreds of toxins on a daily basis. While purchasing bottled water can get expensive and inconvenient, there are many filter devices offered as an alternative. It’s important for your health and your family’s to always filter any tap water that is going to be consumed.
12. Dust Ceiling Fans And Bed Frames Weekly
Ceiling fans and bed frames often get forgotten on weekly cleaning to-do lists, but they should be at the top of the list. Dust settles on them, often for months, before you even notice. But your headboard is right above your pillow, where dust can fall and irritate your sinuses. The same goes for dust on ceiling fans, but on a greater level. When you turn the fan on, the dust can fly off, floating through the air and falling onto objects throughout the room. A quick weekly dusting of these two pieces will keep your air and your sinuses in the clear!
13. Go outside daily!
The old saying “fresh air does a body good” is 100 percent true! Daily vitamin D and fresh air, even on cooler days will help boost your immune system and nourish your soul.
Photo Credit: With A Red Bird On My Shoulder