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5 Environmentally Friendly Flooring Options

5 Environmentally Friendly Flooring Options

Homeowners in general, are looking for ways that they can make their home more environmentally friendly, especially if they are planning on doing any renovations.

If you are installing new flooring in your home, then you may want to consider using a sustainable flooring material. Don’t let the cost of using sustainable flooring deter you – in many cases, sustainable materials are actually more affordable – and even manage to add value to your home!

The following are five different sustainable flooring materials to consider:

1. Bamboo Flooring

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    Bamboo flooring has become a very popular alternative to hardwood, in part because of its environmentally friendly qualities. Bamboo is a very sustainable source. This is because bamboo is actually a grass – and a fast-growing one at that.

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    Additionally, bamboo thrives in practically any climate, which is why it can be found in many products such as bamboo sleep products, bamboo furniture, bamboo kitchenware, etc. But it’s incredible sustainability isn’t the only draw.

    The following are a few of the other benefits that bamboo has to offer:

    • Bamboo flooring has a similarly elegant aesthetic as hardwood, which is why it’s become such as popular alternative.
    • Bamboo is extremely durable and long-lasting, in some cases just as durable and long lasting as hardwood.
    • Bamboo flooring is surprisingly affordable considering its quality.
    • Bamboo flooring is easy to take care of as long as you sweep it regularly.
    • Bamboo flooring that is scratched or has become discolored can simply be refinished

    2. Cork Flooring

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      Cork is a relatively new type of flooring material that is slowly becoming a more popular option for homeowners. Cork is a material that is produced from the bark of a cork tree.

      The reason that it is such a sustainable material is that the cork tree doesn’t need to be killed in order to harvest the bark – it can simply be stripped from the tree. The bark will regrow within three years, which means it’s a renewable source. Not to mention that cork trees are commonly found throughout Mediterranean forests. In addition to being a sustainable material, cork has plenty of other benefits.

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      These advantages include:

      • Cork has anti-microbial properties, which means it’s perfect for anyone with allergies as it is extremely resistant to dust and toxin absorption as well as mold and mildew.
      • Cork is soft yet durable, making it comfortable to walk on.
      • Cork has insulative properties that help it to retain heat, which means your floors won’t get cold during the winter.
      • Cork has a very unique and beautiful look that makes it a good fit for contemporary and modern interior designs.

      3. Reclaimed Hardwood Flooring

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        Traditional hardwood is not very environmentally friendly. Even if you purchase your wood from a farm that practices sustainable growing practices, trees must be completely cut down in order to harvest the wood – and they can take decades to grow back into maturity. But hardwood has a certain allure to it because of its timeless quality. If hardwood is something that you have your heart set on, consider reclaimed hardwood.

        Reclaimed hardwood is hardwood that is reused from existing sources. For example, the wood siding from an old barn that was torn down. Basically, you’re salvaging wood for the use of your floors.

        The following are a few of the additional benefits of using reclaimed hardwood:

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        • Reclaimed hardwood provides a unique look to your home, not just because of its timeless quality but also because of the additional character that salvaged wood tends to have.
        • Reclaimed hardwood is extremely durable – more so than regular hardwood even. This is because the wood came from old-growth trees instead of first-generation forests that new hardwood typically comes from.
        • Reclaimed hardwood will last a lifetime. Once you’ve installed reclaimed hardwood, you can expect it to last as long as you live – provided that you care for it.
        • Reclaimed hardwood is easy to keep clean as long as you sweep and vacuum on a regular basis.

        4. Rubber Flooring

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          Believe it or not, but rubber flooring is a thing. It’s actually been used quite often in commercial spaces, such as gyms and hospitals, because of its durability as well as its ergonomics. But it’s also a very environmentally friendly choice.

          First of all, you can use rubber flooring produced out of recycled rubber products, such as tires. Secondly, rubber won’t hurt your indoor air quality since it doesn’t emit nearly as many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other carcinogenic substances as other flooring materials.

          Last but not least, rubber comes from a sustainable source – it’s a raw material that is produced from the sap that is extracted from tropical rubber trees. Rubber flooring has a lot of other things going for it as well. Some of its benefits include:

          • Rubber is low-maintenance since you can easily sweep or mop the surface and because it is resistant to stains.
          • Rubber has a naturally flexible nature that makes it a more supportive surface to stand on.
          • Rubber flooring is non-porous, making it resistant to moisture. This means that rubber flooring is a particularly good option for kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms.
          • Rubber flooring is available in all kinds of colors and patterns.
          • Rubber is extremely durable and long lasting due to its high density.

          5. Linoleum Flooring

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            A lot of people don’t realize that linoleum flooring is actually a very environmentally friendly flooring option. In fact, you might have even thought the opposite. This misconception often comes to be because of the idea that linoleum is similar to vinyl, which is a synthetic material that isn’t environmentally friendly in the slightest.

            However, linoleum is, because it is made out of sustainable materials that include linseed oil, tree resins, wood flour, cork dust, ground limestone and pigments. Not only are these materials natural, they are all biodegradable.

            In addition to coming from a sustainable source, linoleum flooring also provides the following benefits:

            • Linoleum flooring is extremely durable due to its coating, which makes it an excellent choice for high-traffic parts of the home as well as in commercial spaces.
            • Linoleum is a very visually flexible material because it can be manufactured to look like other flooring materials, including wood and stone.
            • Linoleum is one of the most affordable of all flooring materials.
            • Linoleum flooring is easy to maintain. You can sweep or mop it without worry since it is resistant to moisture, which is why it’s often used in kitchen spaces.

            While there are a lot of different factors to consider when choosing flooring material, one factor that you should really put some thought into is the sustainability of the material. These are five flooring materials that are not only environmentally friendly options, but that have numerous other benefits as well.

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            Published on November 14, 2018

            Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

            Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

            With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

            For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

            In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

            Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

            Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

            It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

            For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

            Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

            Symptoms of Fatigue

            Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

            • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
            • mental blocks
            • lack of motivation
            • headache
            • dizziness
            • muscle weakness
            • slowed reflexes and responses
            • impaired decision-making and judgement
            • moodiness, such as irritability
            • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
            • reduced immune system function
            • blurry vision
            • short-term memory problems
            • poor concentration
            • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

            Causes of Fatigue

            The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

            • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
            • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
            • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
            • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

            Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

            Medical Causes of Fatigue

            If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

            Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

            Anemia

            Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

            Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

            There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

            Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

            Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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            This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

            Diabetes

            Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

            Sleep Apnea

            Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

            Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

            Thyroid disease

            An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

            Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

            • Lack of sleep
            • Too much sleep 
            • Alcohol and drugs 
            • Sleep disturbances 
            • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
            • Poor diet 

            Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

            • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
            • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
            • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
            • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

            Psychological Causes of Fatigue

            Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

            • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
            • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
            • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

            How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

            Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

            1. Tell The Truth

            Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

            To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

            Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

            The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

            One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

            • How you feel
            • What time of day it is
            • What may have contributed to your fatigue
            • How your mind and body reacts

            This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

            2. Reduce Your Commitments

            When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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            If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

            When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

            Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

            3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

            If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

            Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

            If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

            Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

            Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

            4. Express More Gratitude

            Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

            It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

            Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

            5. Focus On Yourself

            Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

            There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

            But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

            We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

            6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

            Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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            Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

            The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

            Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

            7. Take a Power Nap

            When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

            Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

            This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

            8. Take More Exercise

            The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

            Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

            The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

            You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

            9. Get More Quality Sleep

            To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

            Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

            My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

            10. Improve Your Diet

            Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

            Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

            On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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            To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

            Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

            Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

            11. Manage Your Stress Levels

            Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

            When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

            Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

            My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

            12. Get Hydrated

            Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

            Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

            If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

            The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

            The Bottom Line

            These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

            If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

            Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
            [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
            [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
            [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
            [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
            [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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