How Healthy Surroundings Help Chronic Illness

Reprinted with the kind permission of Sue Ingebretson and Rebuilding Wellness

Do you know how to create healthy surroundings for you and for your family? Do you know how your surroundings impact your fibromyalgia and chronic illness symptoms now?

Discovering how you’re impacted by your environment can help you to create a healthier way of living to support your healing process.

Keep reading to discover information you may not be aware of and definitely need to know. And, be sure to read to the end to see a special time-sensitive note. I don’t want you to miss out!

Dangers in Your (not) Healthy Surroundings

Each and every day, our environment has an impact on every cell of our bodies.

We breathe in the air, soak in what we apply topically, ingest what we eat/drink, and even absorb the negative energy of others around us.

All of the following elements/entities have the potential to damage our health and add to our chronic illness symptoms:

  • Air
  • Health and beauty products
  • Contact texture exposure (fabrics, surfaces, carpets/rugs, etc.)
  • Water
  • Foods
  • Supplements
  • People

You’ve probably thought about the foods you eat, and perhaps the quality of the supplements you take, but it’s likely that you’re not as aware of other contributing considerations.

Have you ever moved into a new apartment or home and developed lingering headaches? New paint, carpets, cleaners, and fumigation efforts can leave lasting chemicals for us to breathe in. Or you may live in an area near a golf course, school, park, or greenbelt area where there’s heavy use of pesticides, herbicides, and antifungal sprays designed to keep the grass and foliage beautifully green.

Some damaging pollutants that we breathe in our own homes come from seemingly innocuous sources. Cleaning sprays, bathroom scrubs, and appliance cleaners can wreak havoc on our respiratory systems. So can the artificial/chemical scents from candles, room fresheners, carpet deodorizers, perfumes, laundry detergents, and dryer sheets.

What about grabbing a quick on-the-go bite at your local fast food chain or quick stop vendor?

Fast, packaged, and highly-processed foods are known to contain low-levels of nutritional value and high levels of detrimental chemical flavorings, artificial dyes, fillers, preservatives, stabilizers, thickeners, and more.

When it comes to scents, your body KNOWS the difference between those that come from nature and those that are manufactured.

And what about the products you wear?

As your largest organ, your skin absorbs everything you put on it including skin care products, makeup, and hair care supplies. Your skin can become clogged with known toxins such as parabens, BHA & BHT, phthalates, formaldehyde, and fake fragrances. Heavy metals including lead, aluminum, and cadmium can be found in many body care products and sunscreens. Shampoos and bath products can be contaminated with toxic foaming agents such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).

This is just the tip of the toxic iceberg.

Do You Have Any Eeyores in Your Sphere of Influence?

Now that you know about your immediate and tangible environment, what about the people who surround you most?


Hopefully, your world consists of loving, affirming, and encouraging people. But on the off chance that there’s a clinker here or there, don’t dismiss the potential for influence.

Have you ever known someone who has a way to twist or respond to everything you say in a negative way? Some may not intend to be like Eeyore, but it just seems to be their nature.

Still, others may be outright detrimental. They may put you down, question your methods or intentions, and pick on your self-esteem in order to build themselves up.


Thing is, we can make choices when it comes to people such as this. We can choose to be around them less. Or, if that’s not possible, we can work our own inner game so that we can release and let go of their comments and not take them in as our own.

I won’t kid ya. This takes a bit of focused effort and attention.

It’s a process. And, it helps to work with someone else so that they can see things you can’t.

But I’m bringing it up here so that you don’t discount the impact that others have on your health. Your emotional health matters and has a profound impact on your physical health.

How to Upgrade Your Healthy Surroundings

This post would be a mile long if I included all the ways that I upgraded my surroundings compared to a decade ago. I’ve worked diligently to craft the healthy world in which I now live. I took it a little bit at a time. After researching, I make purchases and choices that fit within my priorities and budget.

Reading food labels is a great start. Look for fewer ingredients and recognizable ingredients. Even better? Buy foods that don’t come with a label (i.e. produce).

Purchase health and beauty items from companies you trust. Personally, I use Fresh Focus Skin Care products and makeup. I know, first-hand, the founders of this company and have faith and confidence in how the products are created. They make their lotions and bath bars in small batches using high-quality ingredients.

I do my best to create a healthy home environment, too. As someone who’s lived in a construction zone for the past 11 months, I’ve made some very strategic choices about carpets, paints, cabinet finishes, glues, varnishes, and adhesives.

I have a very sensitive nose (I suspect you do, too) and buy the healthiest products that I can. When subcontractors need to use unavoidable toxic products, I plan accordingly and make sure I’m out of the house while they work. We then leave windows and doors open for as long as possible afterward to off-gas the home. I just do my best.

When it comes to cleaning products used in my home, I prefer to make many of my own. The DIY approach assures me of two main things: I know what’s in the product I make, and I know that it’s the safest option I can create.

I use simple, natural cleaning ingredients such as baking soda, castile soap, vinegar, and essential oils.

Here are a few websites to peruse and come up with your favorite cleaning product recipes.

Top 10 Essential Oils Cleaning Recipes

10 Essential Oils for Cleaning

Natural Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner (That Works!)

(I’m not affiliated with any of these cleaning product websites nor their products)

How to Kick-Start Your DIY Lifestyle

There’s no “best” way to start making your surroundings healthier. But one sure-fire way is to become familiar with the ingredients used in many healthy recipes.

Sue Ingebretson is the Natural Healing Editor for as well as a frequent contributor to ProHealth’s Fibromyalgia site. She’s an Amazon best-selling author, speaker, and workshop leader. Additionally, Sue is an Integrative Nutrition & Health Coach, a Certified Nutritional Therapist, a Master NLP Practitioner, and the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Center at California State University, Fullerton. You can find out more and contact Sue at


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