Growing up in Holland was inspirational in many ways, from riding our bicycles every day to eating fresh foods. I often look back at my native country for clues on how to live a better, healthier life.
In Holland, there's a florist on every corner and most people keep fresh flowers in their homes. We shop at farmers' markets, butcher shops and cheese shops rather than giant supermarkets stocked with processed foods. Having all these fresh products around our homes and offices mean that we tend to be exposed to fewer toxic chemicals than people in the U.S.
Here are five ways I have adapted habits from my Dutch upbringing to detox my home and office. They're very easy to implement, and "going Dutch" this way can make a world of difference.
1. Add plants and flowers to your home or office.
Plants can be a powerful tool to clean the toxins from your space. Keeping potted plants and fresh flowers in your space can provide a natural way to improve scents and boost your mood. In addition, this has been shown to improve concentration, memory and performance.
2. Eat fresh, non-processed foods.
Whole foods are good for you and they're free of harmful additives. Also, if possible, avoid using plastic containers for food or beverages, as they can contain a toxin known as BPA, which can leech from plastics into your body. Skipping plastic will also help reduce your carbon footprint by decreasing the amount of garbage you produce. (Next time you go shopping, try to bring your own bag so you don't need to resort to plastic bags!)
3. Find natural, toxin-free ways to clean your home and office.
There are wonderful cleaning agents to be found in your kitchen, such as baking soda, vinegar, plain soda water, and hydrogen peroxide. Dr. Bronner's liquid soap is effective, environmentally friendly, and available at many major grocery store chains. If you'd like to clean house without added toxins, check out some great eco-friendly companies, including the Honest Company, Ecover, Mrs. Meyers and Method.
4. Look for natural, toxin-free beauty products and treatments.
You can make many of your own beauty products with organic coconut oil and essential oils. Some other ingredients that are great for skin and hair: avocado, Greek yogurt, honey, oatmeal, olive oil and eggs. Going DIY about your personal care products not only helps to improve any beauty routine, but also allows for us to improve our state of well-being by treating ourselves to something pure.
5. Get as much natural light and fresh air as you can for your overall well-being.
In your office, try to face the natural light. Open a window if you can't get outside for a stroll. It's also been shown that extended exposure to fluorescent light isn't good for you, so make it a habit of turning off your lights when you don't need them.
Growing up in Holland taught me to surround myself with living, green things and positive vibes. That leads me to another healthy living tip, which is making sure you say hello to people, share a smile with strangers and maybe even dare to start a conversation in the elevator. It changes everything! (And it definitely detoxes a bad mood!) Some days it doesn't work, but I try to always keep this as my guiding principle: live life in full bloom.
Photo courtesy of the author