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8 Houseplants To Grow That Can Dramatically Improve Your Health

8 Houseplants To Grow That Can Dramatically Improve Your Health

Anyone who’s ever shopped around for houseplants would probably admit to prioritizing the way they look and what their maintenance requirements are before deciding on one to bring home. Those are obvious things to keep in mind, but there’s one more important aspect we sometimes tend to forget about when looking for an ideal houseplant: their health benefits.

Good health depends on more than just diet and exercise. Without a doubt your environment affects your health too, and the right houseplant can actually make a big difference in your mood, your stress level, your sleep quality and even your breathing.

A nice looking plant is great, but a nice looking plant that quietly works its magic in the background on your health as you go about your regular routine is even better. Here are eight houseplants that can help solve a few common health-related problems.

1. Spider Plant

    Spider plants are great for removing formaldehyde from the air in your home. This is the stuff that comes from all sorts of things you bring into your home including paper bags, waxed papers, facial tissues, paper towels, napkins, particle board, plywood panelling and synthetic fabrics. In addition to formaldehyde, snake plants target carbon monoxide and other toxic air impurities as well.

    If you have poor indoor air quality and not much of a green thumb, a spider plant may be exactly what you need. It’s one of the easiest plants to care for and can be kept in less sunny places in your home since it typically doesn’t like to be placed under direct sunlight.

    A spider plant can grow in any type of soil and only needs to be watered occasionally. If you can remember to water it often enough that its soil stays moist, then that’s all you really need to keep this plant alive and thriving.

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    2. Aloe Vera

      Chances are you’ve probably heard of or used commercially sold medicinal creams or ointments that say they contain aloe vera on their labels. Despite a lack of scientific evidence that aloe vera has any substantial healing properties, it’s been used for thousands of years as a common natural remedy to soothe irritated skin.

      The clear, gel-like substance found in the inner part of the leaf can be applied directly to the skin. According to WebMD, people typically use it to help treat burns, sunburn, frostbite, psoriasis and cold sores. Make sure you speak to your doctor first in case you have any allergies.

      Aloe vera plants need to be deeply watered and their soil left to dry just slightly (about 1 to 2 inches deep) between watering. They do very well with lots of sun but can turn brown if they get too much of it, so keeping your aloe vera plant under indirect sunlight is best.

      3. Lavender

        Lavender is a flowering plant that has a very gentle and pleasant aroma. Best known for its stress-relieving mental benefits, the scent of lavender is often used in spa products like bath salts, skincare creams, soaps and candles.

        You can place a lavender plant anywhere in your home, but putting it in your bedroom is especially helpful since it may help you sleep better. Catching a whiff of lavender may help soothe restlessness, nervousness, anxiety, depression and insomnia.

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        Lavender plants prefer well-drained soil and lots of sunlight. They also need deep watering, but be careful not to water them very often. Aim to water your lavender plant when the soil is nearly dry.

        4. English Ivy

          Nobody ever wants to think about the possibility of mold thriving in their home. If you’re worried about it, bringing an English ivy plant into your home can help you rest easy since it’s well-known to purify up to 94 percent of airborne mold particles that can trigger allergies.

          Like the aloe vera plant, English ivy is another great plant to put in your bedroom. If you have asthma or difficulty breathing at night, it can help you breathe easier and get a restful night’s sleep.

          Be aware that English ivy is poisonous, so it should be kept well out of reach from children and pets. The plant thrives under fluorescent light but not direct sun, so it’s the perfect houseplant for darker than normal bedrooms with artificial light. Soil should be kept most at all times, but not soggy.

          5. Snake Plant

            Another great houseplant for the bedroom, the snake plant (also known as the “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue”) is among one of the most popular choices for improving indoor air quality. It actually gets most of its job done at night, converting carbon dioxide into oxygen as you sleep.

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            Snake plants also remove all sorts of toxins from the air including trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, toluene, benzene and xylene. To optimize its air purifying power throughout your entire home, you’ll likely need more than one plant. Plan to get anywhere from 6 to 8 snake plants that are of waist-high height for optimal air purification.

            Considered to be one of the easiest plants to care for, snake plants do great when placed under indirect sunlight. You really don’t have to water them much at all, and they’ll actually grow better if you let them dry out quite a bit between watering.

            6. Rosemary

              Rosemary is an herb that’s been used in folk medicine for centuries to help improve concentration and memory. It turns out that there may be some merit to this claim since a study conducted by Northumbria University found that people who were exposed to the scent of rosemary essential oil performed better on questionnaires compared to people who were exposed to no scent at all.

              The memory-boosting component of rosemary is thought to be caused by a compound called 1,8-cineole, which may cause increases in a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Although you may be able to take advantage of a more potent scent by using rosemary essential oil with a diffuser in your home, it doesn’t hurt to keep a rosemary plant nearby in places like your home office or any other room where you could use a mental boost.

              Rosemary can be planted in a pot and put in any spot where it has access to bright sunlight. It should be watered evenly throughout the growing season, but will need less water in the winter. Avoid over-watering and remember to trim your rosemary plant after it flowers.

              7. Peace Lily

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                Peace lilies will really compliment your home decor in the summer when their beautiful white flowers are in full bloom, but that’s not all that they can do. This pretty and powerful houseplant is a master of air pollutant removal – working hard to absorb ammonia, benzene, xylene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene throughout your home.

                Since this is a flowering houseplant, it will produce some pollen and a floral scent, which isn’t always suitable for people with plant and pollen-related allergies. With that in mind, peace lilies can make a gorgeous addition to any dining table, side table or entryway table.

                Peace lilies should be planted in a pot with all-purpose soil and kept slightly most throughout the entire year (without overwatering). They can thrive in both low and bright light, but do best in shaded areas.

                8. Boston Fern

                  If you live in a location where humidity tends to be a problem, the Boston fern may be the most ideal houseplant to bring into your home. Said to be a natural humidifier, Boston ferns are among the best air purifying plants that also combat formaldehyde, xylene and other unwanted toxins.

                  Place this type of fern in any air-conditioned room of your home. It may also indirectly benefit any dry skin you may suffer from, which can often be a side effect of highly air-conditioned indoor spaces.

                  Boston ferns are easy to grow and prefer indirect sunlight, but you should check the soil daily to make sure that it’s kept moist. They’re most efficient in rooms kept at a cool temperature with a humidity level of 50 to 80 percent.

                  Never discount the power of what a simple and innocent looking houseplant can do for your health. It’s worth doing some further research on the type of plant you choose and how to care for it if it means it will make a difference in how you feel.

                  Featured photo credits: Spider plant, aloe vera, lavender, English ivy, snake plant, rosemary, peace lily, Boston fern.

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                  Elise Moreau

                  Elise helps desk workers lead healthier lifestyles. Visit her website on her profile to get a free list of health hacks.

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                  Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                  How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                  How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                  Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                  You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                  Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                  1. Work on the small tasks.

                  When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                  Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                  2. Take a break from your work desk.

                  Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                  Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                  3. Upgrade yourself

                  Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                  The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                  4. Talk to a friend.

                  Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                  Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                  5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                  If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                  Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                  Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                  6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                  If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                  Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                  Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                  7. Read a book (or blog).

                  The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                  Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                  Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                  8. Have a quick nap.

                  If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                  9. Remember why you are doing this.

                  Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                  What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                  10. Find some competition.

                  Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                  Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                  11. Go exercise.

                  Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                  Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                  As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                  Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                  12. Take a good break.

                  Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                  Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                  Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                  Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                  More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                  Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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