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6 Ways to Create a Healthier Home Routine This Spring

Getty Images; Rob Vargas

The spring clean means it’s commonplace for many of us to take inventory of what’s happening within our homes. While some people use this season as cause to ditch stuff accumulated throughout the year, it can also be a helpful time to reevaluate the health and wellness practices within your home.

Over the pandemic, the concept of home took on a new meaning as so many of us spent more and more time inside. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends about 90% of their time indoors. Make your surroundings work for you (and your goals) by setting up your home in a smart way with these expert-backed tips:

1. It Begins In the Evening

A healthier home is one that’s in a good spot when you wake up. Simply put: You want to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success the night before to live your best life come sunrise. Starting the day with a clean home is the ultimate recipe for success, says Janine Adams, Certified Professional Organizer and owner of Peace of Mind Organizing in St. Louis, Missouri. Adams recommends cleaning surfaces, like your desktop, kitchen counters, or kitchen table so that you can get started on your a.m. tasks without having to tidy up. “It makes things peaceful,” she adds. “You can even set your breakfast table the night before or prepare your breakfast in advance.”

2. Make Your Bed

That clean streak doesn’t end in the living room, either. The absolute first thing you do every morning after hitting up the bathroom is make your bed, according to neurologist Chris Winter, MD, sleep specialist and host of the Sleep Unplugged podcast. “Keeping your room neat and making your bed every morning can make a major difference in how you feel,” he says. “There is something positive and sleep-promoting about walking into a clean and clutter-free space when it’s time for sleep.”

3. Pay Attention to the Air Quality

If there’s one product that had a true renaissance during the pandemic—aside from Lysol products—it’s air purifiers. Dyson, one of the largest names in the game for air purifying technology, saw a revenue increase of nearly $12 million between 2021 and 2022. We’re more and more concerned about the air we breathe inside, with good reason: indoor pollutants can have drastic health effects even after a single exposure, including irritated eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue, according to the EPA.

“Outdoor air pollutants can be less likely to escape after being let into your home as doors and windows are open,” says Shawn Navarednam, a design engineer focused on environmental care at Dyson. “We create a huge amount of pollution in our homes – from cooking to cleaning to using products like aerosols or candles. These pollutants can be present in the home, whether in a city or the country.”

To combat in-home pollutants, lean into a purifier (like the Dyson Purifier Big+Quiet or Molekule Air Pro), rid your home of other indoor air pollutants, including candles (sorry to be the bearer of bad news), and regularly clean your central heating and cooling systems, and humidifiers.

4. Remove the Barriers to Movement

Now that it's getting nice, one way you can make your home healthier? Leave it frequently. That starts by rethinking the way you think about exercise, says Michael Easter, New York Times bestselling author behind The Comfort Crisis and author of the 2% newsletter. “Exercise is some shit we invented after the Industrial Revolution. Life used to be highly active, and no one exercised. But we compartmentalize our lives into normal living and exercise. One is being sedentary; the other is intensely active."

Instead of thinking of a full-on run as your movement quota for the day, get okay with the open and wide middle ground of low-level wins that you can work into your schedule. A simple way to do this? Keep a pair of sneakers by the door, suggests Easter. “I keep a light ruck and a pair of walking shoes there,” he says. “That makes it far easier to take a quick walk or ruck when I need to think or make a call. Instead of using GrubHub for the restaurant that's a mile away, walk there and back.”

5. Smartly Stock Your Fridge

Your fridge is one of the key portals for a healthier home, according to registered dietitian Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, author of Eating from Our Roots: 80+ Healthy Home-Cooked Favorites from Cultures Around the World, and co-host of Well, Now Podcast. Stacking it with more minimally processed options, including frozen veggies and fruits, can be a game changer, as well as pre-washed and bagged fresh veggies and fruits.

“Things like parboiled or fully cooked and frozen grains can literally shave 20 minutes of kitchen preparation time,” says Feller. “ I call these options 'chef's helpers.' A bag of stir-fried greens with snap peas, mushrooms, peppers, onion, and broccoli can be tossed into a pan with the protein of your choice (plant or animal), and a meal is ready in 15 minutes.”

When these items are ready for you to grab and go, you’re more likely to make smarter food choices, which will make you feel good in the long run.

6. Have a Sleep Plan B

No matter how well you prepare for your best night’s sleep, there are going to be inevitable evenings when the plan goes sideways. So, have a backup plan to accommodate instead of leaning into frustration. “Fill the Stanley Cup you got for Christmas with ice water. Set a good book and a headlamp on your bedside table, ready to be read in the middle of the night,” says Dr. Winter. “Have some lavender spray nearby to give your bed an inviting and fragrant smell. None of these things are going to put you to sleep, but that's never the point. The point is to accept the fact that we sometimes wake up or struggle to sleep, and in those wakeful moments, we can choose how we feel about the situation and what we do with that little bit of extra time for ourselves.”

Originally Appeared on GQ