One of the biggest trends in housing development is the wellness community. These neighborhoods are built with the express purpose of helping people connect with their neighbors and nature, and to promote personal health and well-being. Even if you don't live in an idyllic wellness community, you can adopt some of their strategies and create a home that centers on your wellness and well-being.
The wellness living concept really puts nature front and center. One of the first areas where that connection is made is in your yard and garden. Wellness communities spend a great deal of time thinking about garden and outdoor spaces as places where residents can gather and be in contact with nature. In a home garden setting, adding a kitchen garden where you can pick your own lettuce, vegetables and herbs is a great start.
Simple raised beds can be tucked into corners of the yard and can be planted with edible flowers and herbs. Small spots can be carved out with a swing or a chair to create an outdoor reading nook, a gravel walking labyrinth or a meditation garden.
Adding community patios invites families to linger and socialize outdoors. Even a small putting green can get you outside and into nature. Porches are emphasized for connecting with nature; and some landscape designers are starting to feature patios and gathering places at the front of the house, replacing expanses of grass that act as barriers to interaction.
Look for plants that you can enjoy indoors and out, such as a cutting garden that can fill up a vase with your own homegrown blooms. Select landscaping that fits in with your locale and can grow more naturally, such as xeriscaping. These naturally suited gardens also mean you can forgo pesticides and herbicides, because plants are better suited for their environment.
Wellness advocates eschew harsh chemicals indoors and opt for natural cleaning products that are plant-based and gentler, and don't circulate in your indoor air. Wood, tile or stone floors are more natural options that won't emit gas chemicals and that are more easily cleaned than carpets.
Look for ways to open up views of your garden or the outdoors more. Limit heavy drapes, and opt for lighter blinds that preserve view and bring more light in and help you connect with the outdoors.
Give thought to how your house might support your physical health and well-being. A meditation room or area can be added easily to almost any home. Consider creating a yoga or exercise room, and add a massage table for convenient in-home relaxation.
Soothe arthritis or aching joints with a hot tub or sauna that can be ordered online and that uses standard electric outlets. One sauna can be delivered and placed in a garage or home gym area, and it only costs about $1,000 (www.amazon.com).
Holistic health experts also recommend removing electronics next to your bed is due to high EMFs (electromagnetic fields). Swap your alarm clock with a simple battery or wind up variety to cut down on EMFs next to your head.
(For more information, contact Kathryn Weber through her website, www.redlotusletter.com.)