Improve Your Health And Your Home With Better Indoor Air Quality

Is your home making you sick? Many people don’t even realize that the headaches and allergies that they are experiencing could be due to the pollutants inside their home. There are a number of ways that we can eliminate the dangerous air pollutants in our home to make indoor air quality much better. Some of the ways are very simple and cost very little while other ways are more expensive and can take more resources. All of the tips I’m going to give you will help you and your family breath easier and be a little healthier.

A number of years ago I was working in the construction industry building new homes and I wanted to learn more about building green. One of the components of building green is building a home that is safe to live in. Now, you might be thinking to yourself “Aren’t all homes ‘safe’ to live in?” and I would respond with “No, actually not all homes are ‘safe’ to live in due to the poor indoor air quality.” There are many things that you should consider in order to make the indoor air quality better for yourself and your family.

One area of your home that could be making you sick is your heating and cooling system aka HVAC system. If the air filter has not been changed in a while or the venting system has not been cleaned in a while it may be time to get those items checked out. If you’re buying a home I recommend having the venting system and air filter changed right when you get into the home. This way you know for sure that it’s been recently cleaned and that it will not be blowing dusty air throughout your home. For cleaning your vents, also known as ducting, you can call a local HVAC contractor and they will likely know of someone who has the equipment to do the job. It’s important to have your ducts cleaning every few years because the ducting can be a place where dust, dander, and other nasty pollutants can hide and be put into your home at a later time. Also, rodents and other living things can sometimes use ducting for passageways and nesting. Just removing the rodents is not enough. If they’ve been living in your ducting for some time then there are likely droppings that you will essentially be breathing in unless your ducts are cleaned. After the ducts are cleaned get a HEPA rated air filter or a filter with a MERV 16 rating to replace the filter that you currently have for your furnace. The HEPA rated air filter is the top-of-the-line when it comes to air filters and these will likely be pretty spendy on the cost spectrum of air filters for your furnace. If the HEPA air filter is out of your budget then look at other filters that have a MERV 16 rating. The MERV rating is used to categorize how well the filter traps particles in the air and the rating goes from 1 to 16, with 16 being the best. So, the higher the MERV number you get the smaller the particle your filter will be able to trap, and thus, the cleaner the air in your home will be.

Another danger inside the home that can cause poor air quality is mold. You might not think that mold is in your home but I think that you would be surprised if you did some investigative work. Mold as we all know is an outcome of damp places. These places can be anywhere there is water on a regular basis. The way to rid your home of mold is to eliminate any water sources like leaky sinks or fixtures. Even a sink that just on occasion is leaking water in the cabinet below can create mold issues. Check below your sinks like the one in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. Look for any water marks below the sink. If there are water marks tighten the pipe fittings so that they stop dripping. If you can’t get the pipe fittings to stop dripping then call a plumber or handyman to help you out. Another place that I’ve found mold in the past is around the bottom of windows. In the winter condensation builds up and can accumulate at the bottom of windows. When this happens you need to be intentional about wiping up the moisture and making sure that mold isn’t growing. Bathrooms seem to be a good place for mold to grow because of the hot water during a bath and shower puts off steam. Make sure to properly ventilate your bathroom when someone is taking a hot shower. Poorly ventilated bathrooms are going to trap that moisture and mold will soon start to grow. If you do have a mold issue, then you clean it with bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or vinegar. There are tons of tips on the internet for more specific instructions on cleaning mold. However, I think the best way to clean mold is to never let it start growing in the first place.

One of the worst sources of air pollutants can come from the products and materials that you put into your home. For example, paints and sealer can off gas what’s known as VOCs. According to the EPA  VOCs (volatile organic compounds) may have several negative health effects such as: headaches, loss of coordination and nausea, and are known to cause cancer in humans. This is big deal! It is incredibly important to your health, the health of your family, and the health of those who enter your home that the air in your home is safe and VOC free. To reduce the potential of bringing VOCs into your home make sure that when you buy new paint that it is VOC free. Also, if you plan on refinishing floors or cabinets or trim work that the sealers and stain that you use are VOC free. Another source of VOCs is the carpet in your home. If you get new carpet in your home look into the low VOC or VOC free options. Many times carpet manufactures will offer a “Green Label” certified product. This means the carpet has been made in a way that minimizes VOCs.

In summary, I encourage you to research the indoor air quality of your home. Improving this could make a big difference in the level of health for you and your family. Keep in mind that some of the health issues caused by poor indoor air quality do not show symptoms right away. However, the damage being done to your body could have long-term affects. You can do a lot of different things that either do not cost money or are very inexpensive to make sure that your indoor air quality is the best that you can make it. Doing a simple internet search for improving indoor air quality will help you on your way to making sure you’re providing good indoor air for everyone in your home.

Pruning Your Life To Create Focus And Success

Hey guys! In this post I’m going to talk about pruning your life. This means cutting back the things that you don’t need to do so that you can put more focus on the things that will help you to reach your goals. I know that you’ve experienced this too, that point you realize you’re crazy busy with life and it doesn’t seem like you’re making the kind of progress on your goals that you want. When you hit this point it’s time to do some pruning. So, what does pruning mean and how is it going to help me?  This is the question that I will be answering in this post.

I grew up out in the country near acres and acres of apple, pear, and cherry trees and every winter work crews would work their way through each tree pruning off the excess growth. Someone might ask “Why would you want to prune branches that are going to bear perfectly good fruit”. The answer to this question in one word is: quality. If a fruit tree grows unpruned it’ll likely grow a tremendous amount of fruit, which might sound like a good thing, however, it isn’t, simply because the tree actually grows too much fruit. An apple tree for example is going to grow more apples than it has nutrients to grow into quality fruit. The fruit on the unpruned tree will be very small because there are so many pieces of fruit on the tree sharing the nutrients that the tree provides. So, by pruning back some of the tree it creates fewer places that fruit can grow. By doing this, the apples that do grow will have a higher amount of nutrients and will grow to become big, plump, beautiful apples.

In life it can be easy for many of us to find ourselves over committing, trying to do too many things, and not giving our goals the appropriate amount of time and resources required. After some amount of time goes by we look at our lack of progress with these goals and then wonder why we’re not getting anywhere. If this happens to you, it’s time to start doing some pruning. If you find yourself saying yes way too often and then becoming distracted from reaching your goals it’s time to start saying no. Saying no to one thing means that you get to say yes to something else. Therefore, saying no is a form of pruning.

When it comes to health, wealth, and happiness, pruning can help you to focus more time and resources on your goals in these areas. One of the biggest reasons I tell myself that I’m not going to the gym is because “I’m too busy”. As we all know, this is totally a bogus reason for not going. I need to be better at prioritizing my time and if you find yourself slacking in health, wealth, or happiness because you “don’t have the time”, then you need to do a better job at prioritizing too. When we prioritize we simply look at the things that are most important to us and we make sure that we’re paying the right amount of attention to these areas. For the area of happiness, are you spending enough time with your family and loved ones? If you’re not, I can tell you that you’re going to regret it when your relationships start to suffer. Are you spending the proper amount of time to budget and plan for building wealth? If you’re not, your going to realize down the road that you wish you would have done a better job at this. For your health, are you spending enough time in the gym and making healthy meals? Or are you skipping the gym and eating junk because you “don’t have time”? The only way you’re going to be successful is if you make time to be successful and you make your goals priorities. Do you want to be a great husband and a great father or a great wife and a great mother? Then you need to be intentional about dedicating time to this area of your life. Do you want to be a wealth builder? Then you need to be intentional about dedicating time to this area of your life. Do you want to live a healthy lifestyle? Then you need to be intentional about dedicating time to this area of your life. You don’t become successful in something by accident. You become successful by being intentional about your goals in that area of your life. You must give those goals the necessary time and resources to accomplish them.

There are other areas of your life that you can prune besides just areas that will give you more time. Sometimes people need to be pruned from your life. Is someone in your life dragging you down instead of building you up? Does this person create negativity in your life and slow you down from reaching your goals? If so, you may have to decide that this person doesn’t need to take anymore of your time and “unfriend” them. This sounds a little harsh and it doesn’t have to be that drastic. Simply deciding to spend less time around someone that brings you down and spend more time around someone that builds you up is all you need to do. But what if this person is close to you and you can’t escape them? If the person that is bringing you down is a coworker or family member that you can’t really unfriend you need to have a talk with them. Make some time to meet with this person one on one. Tell them that they’re negativity is dragging you down. I believe that communication is key in most situations. Some people might not even realize that they’re being negative and dragging you down and maybe a good chat will help them to realize what they’re doing. You could have a really positive effect on his or her life just by taking the time to help them realize the effects of their actions.

Another area of your life that you can prune is the area of habits. Do you have some bad habits that you need to rid yourself of? A while back I realized that I was drinking way too many sodas throughout the week and so I cut back to drinking just one or two a week. I really enjoy a nice cold soda but drinking too many isn’t good for you just like too much of just about anything isn’t good for you. When it comes to pruning bad habits in your life you must take a hard look at the things that you’re doing that you know you probably shouldn’t be. Are you drinking too much alcohol? Are you smoking? Are you eating ice cream just before you go to bed? Are you drinking caffeinated beverages late in the day or early evening? What is a habit that you know you need to prune out of your life?

Pruning can be difficult. It takes discipline and it takes courage. It takes strength to walk away from someone or something that is keeping you from reaching your goals. However, the fact is that pruning will help you to reach your goals and pruning will help you to build yourself into the person that you want to be.

Being Intentional About Unloading Stress

If you’re human then you’ve experienced stress. Stress can come from all sorts of different areas of life: from work, from home, and everything else that we find ourselves doing. We’ve all experienced it and sometimes too much stress can build up. On the other hand, I believe stress in a small amount can actually be a good thing. I think of when I feel challenged at work or when I’m working out at the gym there is a mild level of stress there. However, too much stress for too long can bog us down and depleted the happiness from our lives. From my experience when stress and burnout hit at the same time that’s when I feel the most defeated and this is obviously something that should be avoided.

We can’t always control the things that happen at work or in our personal lives and therefore stress is something that we’re going to encounter. The good thing is that we can control how we diffuse stress and if we do this we can avoid the negative impact from stress and use small healthy amounts of stress to our benefit as a way to keep us motivated and engaged in different areas of life.

Here’s 5 ways of letting go of stress.

One way to be intentional about reducing stress is making time for yourself. I know that you parents out there with young kids are saying “Yeah, right, time to myself, huh? What’s that?” But even just taking 15 minutes to have to yourself in the middle of a busy day can be extremely helpful. This could be some quiet time to read a book, mediate, or just sip some hot coffee on a Saturday morning. For me, I like my quiet time. I’m totally an introvert and being around a lot of people makes me feel stressed. After being around a lot of people I enjoy just being alone and having some quiet time to myself. The same is true for me at work. On my lunch break I enjoy finding a quiet place to be by myself. I have found that more and more when I’m driving by myself I turn the radio off and just drive in silence and focus on relaxing and letting go of the stress.

Another way to reduce stress is to hit the gym. There’s something about going to the gym and getting a good sweat on that feels good and helps reduce stress. I’ve read and heard from several people that exercising releases endorphins which are chemicals that are naturally produced by your body that help you to feel good. Also, exercising on a regular basis can increase your metabolism which can help you to feel like you have more energy to conquer the challenges that you face day to day. This will help you to feel ready to tackle the things that you would normally dread. Having a better attitude because you have more energy can help you to feel more confident and less stressed.

Another great way to relive stress is prayer. Sometimes we don’t always have someone to talk to about the stressful things that are going on in our life, or sometimes we don’t want to burden the ones that we do have to talk to with all of our own stresses. The great thing about prayer is God always has time to listen to us. He’s always there willing to take the burdens from our lives. Asking God to help you through that hurdle that you’re facing can help you to let go of the stress by realizing He is for you and with you every step of the way.

Eating right can help you deduce stress . When I’m stressed it’s easy to eat junk food as a quick treat that temporarily makes me feel good. I get a huge smile on my face when I think of stuffing my face with a bunch of glazed donuts. But junk food is only a temporary fix that has really bad side effects. Eating junk food is bad for our health and the longer-term effects are just going to make you feel sluggish. As I’ve learned in the past all those donuts might be tasty right when you eat them but the upset stomach and the energy crash they cause you will only bring you dissatisfaction. Also, drinking lots of water can help us to avoid dehydration. For me, a lack of water means that my mind isn’t as clear as when I’m fully hydrated and eating clean. Also, try to eat on a regular basis. We’ve often heard of the word “hangry” which is a combination of the word hungry and angry. Some of us get upset when we don’t eat and this can add to our level of stress.

The final tip for reducing stress is to get good sleep. We’ve all been sleep deprived at some point where it feels like we’re running on fumes, our body feels like it’s dragging, and our mind seems foggy at best. Sleep can make a huge difference on our energy levels and how we react to stress. To get a good nights rest try to go to bed and wake up at consistent times. For me, if I stay up way too late, like on a weekend night, it takes me at least a couple days to get back into my sleep rhythm. When I get out of my sleep rhythm, from either over sleeping or under sleeping, I start to feel sleepy and groggy and it’s hard to be productive when I feel this way. So, try to keep your sleeping times consistent. Also, avoid caffeine late in the day. I found that when I stopped drinking caffeine after 1pm I was getting better sleep and feeling more rested.

In summary, a little stress is good but too much stress can really take a toll on your life. Be intentional about reducing stress in your life if you want avoid hitting the “red zone”. Believe me, reducing stress in your life will bring more happiness to yourself and those around you. So remember, take some time for yourself, get some exercise, make some time for prayer, eat right, drink enough water, and get some good sleep. If you do these things you’ll be able to fire on all cylinders and tackle whatever the day throws your way.