Old habits, prepare to die.

One thing has become apparent in the beginning of this journey to sustainable wellness: the power of our habits is highly underestimated. Some can harm us and undo our hard work without us even realizing it. And others can create huge positive change over time, also without us realizing it.

While following Sarah Scherr’s 5 Easy Steps to a Healthier Home, I became a lot more aware of the air we are breathing and some of the things I/we do that could be harming me/us.

Here’s a quick recap of the steps:

  1. Establish a NO SHOE POLICY

  2. VENTILATE your home every day

  3. Eliminate all ARTIFICIAL FRAGRANCES

  4. Clear the CLUTTER

  5. Reduce toxins with PLANTS

Yes, all in all, fairly simple. However, each one of those has a corresponding way of doing things already. And that way of doing things is rarely evaluated. Which means I’ve acquired some “bad habits.” Let’s take a look, shall we?

BAD HABIT #1:

Running back through the house after I just put my shoes on.

Okay, this is minor because we already have the good habit of taking our shoes off as we enter the house. But getting ready to leave is another story.

Every time I think I’m ready to go, I remember to something I forgot: my keys, my scarf, or even to brush my teeth! This means, sometimes, I am standing on our bathroom rug in my street shoes. You know, the first thing we step onto after getting all clean. Not so good.

BAD HABIT #2:

Cooping myself up inside, especially in the winter.

We live in Chicago. There are definitely days (or weeks, months) when I find it damn-near impossible to face the cold. And I work from home, so I can avoid it pretty easily. And, oh I do! But if you read the other Sarah’s post, you may have seen the dying bamboo on top of my fridge saying that indoor air is 2-5 times MORE polluted than outdoor air. Ugh.

Ventilating daily helps. Even so, getting out of the house every day is vital. And not just because of the air. Apparently I need people too.

BAD HABIT #3:

Spraying Febreze to “get rid of” odors.

I’m not a candle and body spray kinda girl. Never have been. The only fragrance I actually LIKE is Febreze. And I suppose I could have guessed it wasn’t going to be good, but it’s just not worth me ignoring it anymore. Thanks to EWG, I know for sure that I’m loading our air and covering our stuff with allergens, carcinogens (formaldehyde!), and other “undisclosed ingredients.” Plus the stuff is not so great on water systems and other living things. Welp, that sucks.

BAD HABIT #4:

Constantly saying and thinking “I’ll need/want that at some point.”

While the rare occasion to use something I should have thrown or given away years ago does present itself, all the other things I’ve saved for that project I’m never gonna get to are still breaking down and gathering dust all over our house.

Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% in favor of recycling, upcycling, and using what you’ve got until it’s no longer usable. But keeping things around hoping I’ll get to it someday just adds to my anxiety, which doesn’t need any help.

BAD HABIT #5:

Refusing to buy plants because Stella will eat them.

It’s true, she will. Unless she can’t get to them. But that’s no excuse. There are plenty of pet-friendly, toxin-reducing plants out there. We just have pick some and find a place to put them.

 

The more I learn, the more I question my daily practices. But there is plenty to be done about it. If you found this post to be a bit of a downer, fear not. The next one will cover creating good habits.

Are there any habits you’ve come to recognize as harmful? Let us know in the comments below! Or you can tweet @girlmeetsgreen using #habitstoponder, which is my way of bringing some of these things we don’t think about to our attention.

SK