The promise of warm, sunny days happens every year around this time, and after the year we’ve all had so far, being able to get outside and enjoy the weather is much-needed! There are so many benefits to spending time outside, from boosting your energy to reducing stress levels.
But, whether you want to create your own personal outdoor space to relax and unwind, or you want to hit some nature trails with your family, it’s important to stay safe.
While you may not be able to prevent every little accident from happening, there are precautions you can take to protect yourself and your family when you spend time outside this spring and summer. Let’s take a look at five things you should put into practice to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy.
Dress For Any Type of Weather
One of the easiest ways to stay safe and protected outside is to dress appropriately for the weather. Obviously, you can take this one step further by checking the forecast before you head outside.
But, be mindful that during this season, especially, the weather can change very quickly! It can go from being a sunny day to a rainy one in a matter of minutes, and if you’re on a long hike or planning for a picnic outside, that kind of change can quickly ruin your experience.
One of the best things you can do to avoid falling victim to the weather is to dress in layers, or at least bring extra clothes along with you. That includes things like:
- Extra socks
Having a backpack with you, or at least one in your car with an extra change of clothes can make it easy to make a “quick change” whenever it’s necessary, so you can stay dry and warm.
Be Careful Where You Walk
If you’re hiking in the woods or even around local parks, be aware of things you shouldn’t touch or come in contact with, including plants like poison ivy or poison oak. These plants contain a specific type of oil that can irritate your skin, causing a rash and uncomfortable itching.
Wearing long pants when you’re walking through heavily-wooded areas can help you to avoid brushing against these plants, but you should also pay attention to your surroundings, especially if you’re out with your kids, to make sure they don’t touch any suspicious-looking plants.
Keep Things Age-Appropriate
You might get excited about hiking a long trail, but if you have little ones with you, keep in mind that they might not be able to make the whole trek. If you’re going to be outside for a while, plan things that the whole family can do – even little kids!
A good rule of thumb is to stay relatively close to home, or at least close to your car if you have little ones with you. They can tire out easily, and it’s important to be able to take care of their needs so they don’t get dehydrated or completely zapped of energy. Remember, you want to make the outdoor experience fun for everyone involved. By doing things that your little children can’t quite handle yet, it could put a damper on everyone’s experience.
If you’re trying to use the outdoors to re-ignite your love of exercise, that’s great! Again, being outside can give you a natural energy boost, and there are even more health benefits to exercising outside.
But, whether you want to run, bike, or hike, it’s important to start slow – especially if it’s been a while since you’ve had a steady exercise routine.
Plan out your route ahead of time. It’s okay if it’s not very long at first. That allows you to set goals for yourself and increase your distance each time. By setting those goals, you’re more likely to stay motivated and stick with your new routine instead of getting bored with it or giving up easily.
Check for Ticks and Bites
Spending a few hours outside is a great way to bond with your family, relax, or burn off some energy. But, whenever you come inside, be sure to check everyone for ticks, mosquito bites, or any other critter or insect that could wreak havoc on your body.
Ticks can be very dangerous. If they are found and removed right away, their bite can lead to Lyme Disease, which may require therapeutic apheresis treatment, in some extreme cases.
Checking doesn’t take long, but it’s important to know what to look for. If a tick has attached itself to you or someone in your family, you’ll need to use fine-tipped tweezers to remove it. Never use your fingers or try to “crush” the tick. They can be more difficult to remove once they’ve latched onto the skin and try to start burrowing.
Bonus Tip: Appreciate the Stillness
No matter where you are in the world, you were likely impacted somehow by the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Many people were under some sort of lockdown for weeks. So, while this isn’t necessarily a “safety tip,” it’s important to make your mental health a priority as we head into the warmer seasons.
Being outside can do wonders for your mental wellness, but be sure to take the time to actually appreciate it. It’s been reported that because so many people have spent weeks in social isolation, many aspects of nature in the world are thriving for the first time in a long time. Take the opportunity to appreciate everything nature has to offer and allow yourself to feel connected to it. Meditate. Be mindful. Appreciate the present moment whenever you have the opportunity to be outside, and make a commitment to taking things at a slower pace.
After being cooped up, there’s no doubt you and your family will want to spend time outside this spring and summer. Keep these tips in mind to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy along the way, and enjoy as much fresh air as possible!