10 Tips to Promote Environmental Wellness in Your Family
Environmental wellness consists of fostering awareness and a sense of respect for your surroundings. This can manifest through activities such as adopting a sustainable lifestyle, preserving resources, recycling and reusing your possessions, and getting involved in your community.
Your environment is an often-overlooked aspect of wellness. Things like physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional wellness tend to take center stage. These are followed by other areas like social, professional, and financial wellness.
However, your environment should always be a priority when it comes to the state of your health. This isn’t just applicable on a personal level, either. Entire families should consider the environmental wellness of their shared living spaces. This can help children and parents alike benefit from living in a healthy environment.
Here are ten different ways that you can help promote environmental wellness in your family.
1. Educate Your Family
It’s difficult to put a concept into practice when you don’t understand it. That’s why the first step in promoting environmental wellness is teaching your children what that means in the first place.
You can start with basic things, like explaining why a decluttered home can help with stress levels. From there, you can expand your child’s understanding to include larger environmental concerns like sustainable living, pollution, and climate change.
2. Create a Healthy Home Environment
As you cultivate an educational foundation of environmental awareness for your family, you can begin to lay the foundation for a healthy home environment, as well. There are many ways to create a home environment that supports your family’s health and wellbeing.
This can start by considering what your philosophy is for your living space. Do you prefer an austere minimalist approach? Or a full, yet organized, maximalist mindset?
From there, look for little ways that you can improve the atmosphere and living condition of your home, such as:
- Cleaning up your air quality;
- Setting up positive, quality lighting;
- Staying neat and well-organized;
- Cleaning with gentle, natural products like vinegar and lemon.
It’s important to preserve a baseline sense of wellbeing through a space that is optimized for wellness.
3. Spend Time Outside
Many science-backed benefits come from time spent outdoors. It can boost creativity, enhance mental wellness, improve sleep, and encourage physical activity. This makes the simple act of going outside a powerful way to promote environmental wellness.
A few suggestions for ways to get your kids outside, no matter what the season, include:
- Going for a bike ride;
- Playing an outside sport;
- Visiting a local playground;
- Making a fort or treehouse;
- Using chalk;
- Painting rocks;
- Having a bonfire;
- Picking locally grown produce;
- Going to a farmer’s market;
- Hiking a local trail.
By going outside, you help your family disconnect from distractions and appreciate their present surroundings.
4. Buy High-Quality, Durable Products
An environment filled with cheap or chintzy items doesn’t help foster a sense of appreciation. On the contrary, using disposable or breakable things can make children under-appreciate their material belongings.
By purchasing high-quality, durable products, you can begin to teach them to value each thing that they own. This shouldn’t be done in a materialistic way but rather a sustainable one. A durable caddy organizer can help keep your environment clean and organized while continuing to provide value to your family for the long term, rather than ending up in a trash heap several months from now.
5. Re-Use as Much as Possible
One of the key tenets of sustainable living is the ability to reuse and repurpose items. Sure, recycling is also important, but even that should only come once an item has truly found no other purpose in your home.
This is particularly applicable if you adopt the high-quality possessions recommendation above. If you invest in durable items, such as a quality organizational tool, you can reuse that item in the future. If you have another child, you won’t need a new caddy. Ideally, you’ll even have the item ready for service when grandchildren roll around, too.
This proclivity to reuse rather than get rid of things can do wonders in helping your children live in a healthy environment focused on sustainability rather than consumerism.
6. Consume Less
Another practice that goes hand in hand with reusing is simply using less. This can include reducing the number of needed items as well as cutting out certain “wanted items” completely.
For instance, a capsule wardrobe is a great way to deal with the need for clothing without giving in to trends like fast fashion and overstuffed wardrobes. At the same time, if you find that you gravitate toward junk food and candy when you’re stressed, you may want to avoid stocking them in your pantry entirely.
The average American child used to spend five to seven hours in front of a screen every day — and that was before the screen-heavy pandemic took place. This excess of screen time can lead to many unwelcome side effects, such as obesity, disrupted sleep, and even violence and other behavioral problems.
Helping your family consistently unplug from screens has become a necessary part of maintaining a healthy home environment. You can do this by:
- Planning family unplugging times together;
- Limiting screen time each day;
- Creating screen-free zones throughout your home.
They may not love it at the moment. Nevertheless, helping your children learn to have screen time discipline is essential.
8. Conserve Resources
Along with the health of your home as it pertains to you and your loved ones, it’s also important to consider how your living space impacts the Earth. For instance, you can take steps to conserve your resources by:
- Utilizing low-flow water fixtures and toilets;
- Using LED light bulbs;
- Installing a smart thermostat.
As you conserve your resources, explain the activity to your children, as well, to enhance their environmental wellness education.
9. Protect Yourself From Environmental Hazards
Many environmental hazards can threaten your home life. Some are more obvious, such as a fire or a flood. Others are nuanced, such as secondhand smoke or noise pollution.
It’s important to figure out where these threats exist within your home environment. When you identify them, do your best to address them. Some can be resolved immediately, such as closing a window or installing more insulation to reduce noise pollution from a neighbor. Others must be guarded against, such as creating a family emergency plan for if you go through a fire or some other natural catastrophe.
10. Be a Respectful Role Model
Finally, along with a factual education, you should also be a good role model for your children. Make sure that you’re not just building but also demonstrating how to create a healthy home environment.
This includes everything from fostering healthy habits like cutting back on sugar to demonstrating practical things like how to install a low-flow faucet. Throughout these activities, always make sure to approach environmental wellness with an attitude of positivity, warmth, and love.
As the director of Harvard’s Human Flourishing Program, Tyler VanderWeele, Ph.D., explained, “The experience of love in childhood is of profound importance, and parental warmth is a key factor.”