Day 15: Freshen the Air

When you think of freshening up the air in your home what comes to mind?

  • A big shot of your favorite air freshener scent blasted out into each room of your home?
  • Spring cleaning top to toe with an assortment of cleaners, a mix of “green” products and conventional, each poised to tackle a specific job?
  • Lighting a deliciously scented candle or two?

Yes, these are a few ways to scent the air or remove odors, but I’m actually talking about freshening your home’s air by reducing the amount of pollutants rather than making it smell better. All of the items listed above actually contribute to the level of pollutants in your home’s air you and your family breathe in every day.

What does all of this have to do with living a more creative life?  Plenty!

Just think about it for a minute.  Most everything I’ve been writing about a more creative life addresses one simple thing, energy.  As my writing reflects, there are specific things that we can include or change in our lives that will help us obtain higher energy levels in our body and brain, which in turn supports a healthy increase in our creativity.  Breathing in polluted stagnate air only drains us further. It can…

  • make us sick
  • aggravate allergies
  • cause headaches
  • bring on irritability
  • make us breathe more shallow which means less oxygen to our brains

These are far from the creative energy boosters we need to encourage in our lives. In fact, they are “energy drainers” that could ultimately zap our creative productivity.  Far from the results we were looking for.

Most folks these days are aware of the unhealthy toxins and pollutants in homes today and some may have even taken steps to replace some of the building materials to healthier versions. For most though, this option may be too costly.  So what about the rest of us poor polluted air-breathing souls; how can we make a positive change that can fit into our limited budgets?

Open Your Windows

One of the easiest and no cost first step is to open your windows up for a few minutes when the weather is nice and the air has a gentle breeze.  Air too breezy can bring in more unwanted pollutants, like dust.  Now, if you or a family member has acute allergies, readily opening windows throughout your home is a terrible idea.  For the rest of us, go ahead and fling those windows open.  A few minutes a day here and there can do wonders for both the quality of your air and your creative mind.

Several years back, when I lived in Southern California, I regularly participated in weekend painting workshops taught by a dear friend and absolutely wonderful artist, Mark Kerckhoff (if you’re ever in the Laguna Beach, California area and want to take a plein air painting class be sure to check out one of Mark’s workshops).  

After a full day of painting by the beach or some other local spot, I’d come home and sometimes could just feel the “yuck” in the air of my home; being in the fresh air by the beach can really “clear out” your ole’ sniffer. On especially beautiful clear days with a nice cool gentle breeze, I would open the windows in the family room and set up, opposite my couch, the painting sketch I made earlier that day. Then, I’d  grab a nice cool glass of mint tea and take a place on my couch with the air gently stirring my hair and caressing my face.  It was just so refreshing. 

For about 20 minutes or so, I’d sit there enjoying my tea, fresh air and studying my painting.  Could I have done anything differently?  Did I take enough time to consider my composition? Could I have included or excluded something from the painting to make my composition stronger?  You know artist stuff. 

With my critique complete, I’d close up the windows, move my still very wet painting to a safe place out of reach of my fur babies then go about my daily business.  Taking this time was so relaxing in and of itself, but I could always tell a difference in the quality of the air. Maybe it was a perceived difference because I had no scientific instruments to measure the before and after pollutants in my air.  All the same, I could tell there was an exchange of air because the air was cooler than when I first entered into the house. Any lingering odor I noticed upon entering were also gone.  It was all good to me 🙂

Do you have any wonderful memories you can stir up to help inspire you to take this next step?

Buy an Air Purifier

As I mentioned earlier, if you or a family member has acute allergies, opening windows in your house to let in fresh air would do more harm than good.  Instead, having a high quality air purifier is a better solution. This is also a good idea for the rest of us.  Just be sure to turn off your unit before opening your windows, than after closing your windows give it a few minutes for any dust or pollen to settle, than kicker’ back on.

Having a high quality air purifier is a necessity if your creative time involves an assortment of chemicals, paints or loose particles (i.e., chalk, charcoal, pastels, etc.).  There are just too many potential health related issues involved.

I have a few air purifiers I like to keep around my home, but over the past couple of years I’ve avoided turning them on since we’ve had so much dust and such from our transformation project.  My air purifiers have multiple filter types plus HEPA and the filters can be a bit on the expensive side to replace.  Running my units with construction dust would have been just horribly expensive to maintain.  Now that the major work has settled down, I’m ready to bring them out again.

Having an air purifier running in your bedroom, especially while you sleep, is a crazy good idea.  It can really help with nighttime stuffiness.

Here’s a great resource I use for my air purifying needs: Allergy Buyers Club

For the home, I personally recommend:

IQAir Purifiers

The unit I have is very quiet and does a fantastic job at cleaning the air.  I would keep the unit at the low setting while we were watching t.v., then kick it up (which is still quiet but noticeably louder) when we weren’t using the room for family time.

For the studio / creative space, I personally recommend:

AllerAir VOC Purifier

This unit collects gases, chemicals and odors and includes not only a HEPA filter but a substantial carbon filter to boot.  It’s perfect for creative spaces that are about 923 sq ft or smaller.

Air Purifiers can be a bit on the pricey side, but are an great investment in your (and your family) health and creativity and will last a good long time.


Every small step you make is a positive step in the right direction.  Just remember to take it “slow and sure” and be nice to yourself.


Go to the next post in my series: Day 16: Be Ready

God Bless,



Filed under Art & Creativity

4 responses to “Day 15: Freshen the Air

  1. mark

    Hello April:
    Thank you so much for the nice words and mentioning my workshops.
    Just love your series of discussions. Saludos to you, Ted and the toy collector.

  2. Very interesting blog! I’m glad I found it 🙂

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