It is extremely important to maintain good respiratory health - now more than ever. Asthma has been on the rise for decades; it’s the most widespread chronic disease in the world with over 330 million affected.
Environmental irritants such as wildfire smoke make breathing difficult and painful. And of course there is the COVID-19 pandemic. Scientists and survivors of COVID-19 report that the virus attacks the lungs, causing inflammation and making it difficult to breathe.
Thankfully, there are some easy, natural ways you can increase your respiratory health right at home.
1. Take deep breaths. Deep breathing relieves stress and naturally detoxifies your body. Fully oxygenated blood also helps you carry and absorb nutrients. Try counting as you breathe in and out. Count in for five seconds, filling your chest and abdomen with as much air as you can, hold the breath for three seconds, and then exhale for five seconds or longer.
2. Stay active. Exercise increases the blood flow to your lungs, allowing the lungs to deliver more oxygen to the blood, thus improving your lung capacity. Exercise also increases the vascularization of the lungs, thereby allowing more blood to flow in and out. This creates a greater surface area for the blood to bind with hemoglobin, which enhances the uptake of oxygen.
3. Eat fresh fruits and veggies. Some natural ways to increase hemoglobin are by watching your diet. Eat iron-rich foods, like dark, green leafy vegetables and dried fruit; increase Vitamin C intake; and increase folic acid intake.
4. Maintain good posture. Slouching puts tension in your shoulders and compresses your lungs, making it harder to breathe and harder for your body to take in air and release toxins.
5. Stay hydrated. Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day to flush out toxins and cleanse the lungs in a natural way.
6. Laugh. Even in this stressful time, seek out things that make you chuckle. A good laugh not only boosts mental health, it physically relaxes your body, which decreases stress hormones and increases immune cell production. Laughter also increases blood flow, which can help prevent cardiovascular diseases.
By Dipuo Mankheli and Katy Savage
Even before the pandemic hit, did you know Americans spend about 90% of their time inside? How your home is arranged and designed can vastly impact happiness. Choosing the right color, changing the lighting, and eliminating clutter are some easy ways to start creating a more mindful existence. Consider these five tips:
Bring the outside in
Biophilia refers to the idea that humans have an innate desire to be connected with nature. Numerous research studies have shown the outdoor environment improves self-esteem and mood, increases productivity and improves overall happiness. Some studies have found that working near plants improves memory retention and concentration. Other studies have found employees working in offices with natural light were happier and more productive.
There are ways you can make the inside of your home feel outdoorsy without spending a lot of money. Start with maximizing natural light in your home as much as possible. Move furniture and dark objects away from windows to let the light in. Next, bring in houseplants. Create a living wall or use indoor trees and flowers to brighten a room and cleanse the air.
Don’t stop there. Incorporate wood, stone, or other natural elements, in your home to add texture and warmth to a room.
You might also consider a water fountain to hear the sounds of running water and scents associated with the outdoors to evoke calmness. Studies have shown even having images or paintings of nature surrounded inside a building can improve your mood.
See the light
As we mentioned, it’s always best to maximize natural lighting, but where that’s not possible, try using different light bulbs to evoke a certain mood.
Light bulbs come in all different colors and shades. Lighting that’s too harsh can make you feel anxious while lighting that’s too dark leads to less productivity. How much lighting you want to use in each room will depend on the function of the room. Warm, soft lighting can make you feel calm and may be best in bedrooms and other areas of the house where you spend quiet or relaxation time. Bright bulbs, on the other hand, can energize you in places you want to be alert, like the kitchen, foyer, and office.
Show your true colors
Color is an important part of creating a soothing atmosphere. Red shades can be anxiety inhibiting, while lighter colors make a space feel more open. White is a perfect neutral color that makes a room seem bigger while also allowing natural light to bounce off it. Warm blue hues can be calming while green is also an increasingly popular indoor color. Since green is associated with nature, studies show it makes us feel refreshed and happy. Consider using green in the entrance way to a house to ease the transition from being outside to inside.
Rearrange the furniture
Try basic Feng Shui methods to improve your home. Look at the daily path you walk inside throughout the day, from the time you wake up, to the time you go to bed. Make sure to keep this path clear of any furniture or clutter. Having too many obstacles, like a light fixture that doesn’t work, a sticky door, or a cluttered hallway can drain your energy.
Go ahead and use Marie Kondo’s method to get rid of the extra clutter. Kondo-ing encourages you to find a place for everything in your home and only keep objects that spark joy. This type of minimalistic lifestyle gives your mind space to recover and recharge while reducing depression and anxiety.
Written By Katy Savage
Happy August from your friends at Stone Hill!
For many people, August is summer vacation month, when we take to the road to find a warm spot by the sea, breathe in the salt air, and pause.
With the pandemic in full swing, we know this may not be possible or advisable, so we at Stone Hill wanted to offer you the next best thing. Close all other computer windows, or put your phone on “silent,” grab some earphones, a homemade iced tea, and find a quiet spot where you can take in this video created by our media team. Breathe. Savor. Repeat.
Sending you love and sunshine,
wherever August finds you,
The Stone Hill Team
PS: Don’t forget to download your copy of The Essential Guide to Staycationing for beautiful, inspiring photos, ideas, and yummy recipes to make your home your favorite getaway.