Studies show that plants really can improve our wellbeing, leading to a boost in mood, memory, and productivity. One study in Norway assessed the impact of introducing plants to your home, office or school which led to fewer coughs, headaches, and fatigue.
Most of us know that air pollution caused by traffic is bad for our health. But the reality is that indoor air pollution has been linked to a range of health problems, like asthma, wheezing and eczema. Houseplants are nature’s way to purify the air in our homes/offices.
Plants that give most benefits are those that are fast-growing, thirsty such as peace lilies and devil’s ivy. Plants which need lots of sunlight, photosynthesize more and grow more quickly have the biggest benefit. For a small room at least five or six plants to have a measurable impact on CO2 concentration. Plants which are lower maintenance might be less beneficial.
If you’re looking for the greatest benefits, place them in the brightest corner and make sure they get enough light and water. Being nice and talking to them will certainly help. Plants are influenced by all of the environmental changes around them and respond to the vibrations of nearby sound which influence their growth .Plants also increase photosynthesis production in response to carbon dioxide, which is a by-product of human speech.
Good all-rounders and relatively easy-to-grow plants include peace lilies, money plant, devil’s ivy, spider plant & dragon plant to name a few.
Self-care jars, what are they and why would we need one?
Watch Kenmare Family Resource Centre's link worker Paula and Community Development Officer Christine, demonstrate how to make your own beautiful self-care jar at home. Read more below on what they're all about -
Self-care is important for our mental and physical health. Without taking the time to care for ourselves we leave ourselves susceptible to burnout, mental, physical and emotional distress. Self-care is a great way to restore our connection to ourselves and take a moment to breath.
One of the best tool-kits to facilitate self-care is a self-care jar. The jar can act as a prompt and reminder of all the ways you can look after yourself and indulge in some me-time. By writing out different self-care activities and placing them in the jar, you can easily pick one out to inspire your next self-care activity any day of the week, without the added pressure of trying to think of ideas on the spot!
Why not make one for yourself by following the steps in the video below click on the link to view
Self-care requires checking in with yourself and asking yourself how are you doing?
Self-care does not mean the same thing for everyone; each of us will likely differ from someone else.
Self-care for you one day might not feel like self-care another day.
Ideas for self-care:
Go outside: connect with nature which has been proven to improve health and wellbeing. Improves our mental health by reducing stress and anxiety. All these positive outcomes can help in creating a gentle environment for you to feel through your emotions.
Live in the present moment: We automatically scan our worlds for past mistakes we dare not repeat and future threats we try desperately to avoid and prepare to deal with. In so doing, we lose touch with the present-moment the here and now and limit our abilities to experience positive states such as joy, connection, and love. Teaching ourselves to focus on the present moment can train our brain pathways towards more positive experiences.
Have a good cry: It’s safe to say that 2020 gave us all more than enough to cry about. Crying is a natural response to a range of emotions, from deep sadness and grief to extreme happiness and joy. Crying is also a mechanism that allows us to release stress and emotional pain. Crying is an important safety valve, largely because keeping difficult feelings inside can be bad for our health.
Reflect on past experiences in which you were memorably sad, watch a film that made you cry before. Look at old photographs.
Practice gratitude: We are constantly bombarded by bad news about world events daily. Our thoughts are powerful things. Why Gratitude Journal? When you have positive thoughts and interactions, it’s easier to focus on what matters. Positive interactions free you up to have the energy to do what matters to you. When we keep a gratitude journal, we start to become grateful for things we observe, rather than things we expect.
Each night before you go to sleep.
1.Think of 3 good things that happened today.
2.Write them down.
3.Reflect on why they happened.
Low cost / No cost Energy Saving Tips
With energy costs rising by the day, it is more important than ever that we try and reduce energy waste. There are “no-cost” and “low-cost” ways to keep our homes warm while cutting down on the amount of energy we use – helping both our pockets, and the planet.
Here we have links and further information on some cheap, effective DIY ways that you can reduce your energy costs.
One efficient and cost-effective way to reduce heat-loss in the home is by taking draught-proofing measures.
While all homes need good ventilation to reduce condensation and damp, draughts are a waste of heat and money – but there are simple cost-effective ways to prevent draughts, and help keep your home warm.
This short-video shows how to locate draughts in your home, with some DIY tips to seal them: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQ9DSxfaS94
This is an informative page on draughts and ventilation with useful links: www.transitioncambridge.org/wiki/TTEnergy/VentilationFAQ
This is a short video with a good general overview of draught-proofing: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BljYyfecxRw
This is a short DIY video on installing draught-excluders, including brush-strip, surround seal, and letterbox seal, on your windows and front door. www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWJ8J5c0LE8&t=3s
Skirting boards can be another source of draughts. This is a short video showing you how to draught-proof your skirting boards: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZozybgIZ6U
The impact of under-door draughts should not be underestimated!
A ¼ inch wide gap under your front door will waste about the same amount of heat as if you had a 2" square hole in the wall!
A tried and trusted way to exclude draughts is to use a door “sausage” or door “stopper” to block draughts and keep the heat in the room. Door “sausages” can be easily made by rolling up and tying old blankets. But there are many cheap, easy, and colourful ways to make them. This video shows 17 different types of homemade door “sausages” with links to pages with instructions – including “no-sew” versions. www.youtube.com/watch?v=SI3S9IfJy1U
Windows are often a source of cold and draughts in houses. However, there are some easy steps that can be taken to minimise heat loss through windows.
Curtains are still one of the most effective ways to regulate heat in your home. Open your curtains to maximise heat gain from the sun (when it shines!) and reduce heat loss at night by closing them. Ideally, curtains should be lined to maximise their effect.
During the day, doors to rooms that benefit from passive solar heat should be opened to allow the heat to circulate to the rest of the house.
Tucking your curtains behind the radiator, or onto the window sill will ensure that the heat stays in the room. Another way to stop curtains blocking radiator heat is to attach net-curtain wire with hooks and eyes under the edge of the window sill, and tuck the curtains behind the wire so that the heat goes into the room rather than between the curtains and window.
There are a number of cheap and effective methods of blocking draughts from your windows such as weather-proofing tape. This video shows how to draught-proof a hinged window. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw8bBZx19yY
Single-glazed windows can be made more energy-efficient by installing Secondary Glazing Film – for example the Irish-made Exitex – which is a cheap and effective way to minimise heat loss. It is widely available from hardware stores, and online. This short video shows how easy it is to install Secondary Glazing Film as a DIY job: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IYuEI6mLRw&t=3s
Thermostatic Valve Controls/ Thermostatic Radiator Valves are a very effective way to control the heat in a room, but there is a lot of confusion about how they work. We have linked to a very informative and useful video about TRVs here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d5-OzlOah0
Radiator Reflective Panels /Foil are a very effective and cheap means to reduce heat loss through external walls. Reflective panels come in the form of insulated foil panels or as a roll, and are very easy to install. Here is a short video showing how it is done: www.youtube.com/watch?v=48co8eLBUmg
Reflector panels/foil are widely available in hardware shops and DIY stores, and online.
Insulation is key to a warmer home, and reducing energy costs. There are small DIY insulation projects that are cheap and easy to carry out either by yourself, or with a little help.
Insulating your hot water tank with a lagging jacket, and hot water pipes with pipe insulation is an easy way to reduce the cost of heating water. This short video shows how to install pipe insulation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ko4yYx_OwOc
Water thermostats are usually set far too high – typically to 80 degrees Celsius and sometimes higher – which is costly in terms of both money and energy, but with no added benefit. It is recommended that the thermostat for hot water should be set to 60 degrees C. For every 5.5 degrees C. reduction in water temperature you can save up to 13% on your water heating costs.
While the focus of this post is on no cost/low cost DIY tips, if you are considering more substantial insulation works, then the SEAI have a range of grants available for homeowners. www.seai.ie/grants/home-energy-grants/insulation-grants/
Attic insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce heat loss from your home – and will typically pay for itself within a year, or two at most. The SEAI have an information pack on attic insulation available: www.seai.ie/publications/Homeowners-Guide-To-Attic-Rafter-Insulation
This is a good general information page with lots of technical advice about heating controls, thermostats, and radiators. www.transitioncambridge.org/wiki/TTEnergy/HeatingFAQ
This is a useful webpage with a good general overview on draught-proofing: https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/draught-proofing/
Useful page with a number of no-cost, ways to reduce your energy bills.
CHANGING SUPPLIER INFORMATION
Changing your supplier is one of the easiest ways to save money on your electricity bill. Last year only 14% of Irish households changed electricity supplier, meaning that the vast majority of households missed out on making substantial savings on their bill.
We have compiled some information on changing suppliers and what is involved that we hope you find useful.
If you have been with your electricity and/or gas provider for over a year, it is likely that you can save money by switching. Changing energy supplier can offer substantial savings and there are a number of comparison websites which can be a useful source of information and advice, as well as enabling you to actually make the switch. However only three of the comparison websites are currently accredited by the Irish energy regulator CRU. These are: