When you’re heading to the beach or you’re getting the kids ready for a day at the pool, it’s easy to remember things like sunscreen, snacks, shade breaks, water… but when you’re doing something like staining the deck, working on the landscaping or organizing the garage, time can get away from you. Before you head out to face whatever project you have on your to-do list, take a few minutes to prepare…
Hydrate: Like with any activity you do outside in the heat (or inside in the heat), it’s important to make sure you are drinking enough water. It’s easy to lose track of time – you just want to finish one more part of the project before you go inside – but being dehydrated can be serious and, if you are thirsty, you are already on your way to being dehydrated. Take a water bottle out with you (warm water is better than no water!) and watch for signs of dehydration like feeling dizzy, having a rapid heart rate or feeling confused or sleepy. Also, although you might not want to hear it, alcohol and caffeine can cause your body to lose fluid, so be careful.
Protect Yourself from the Sun: Sunburn can happen quickly, even on overcast days, so be sure to wear sunscreen if you’re going to be working outside. And don’t just put it on your shoulders! If you’re going to be kneeling to work, the back of your legs will thank you for applying sunscreen. Also, even water resistant sunscreen needs to be reapplied every couple of hours, so keep an eye on your skin. If you have a sunhat, wear it while you work to protect the top of your head and keep your face and neck a bit more shaded. And try to dress in as light of clothes as makes sense for the task you’re working to complete.
Don’t Work Hungry: Being hungry can cause you to lose focus, feel dizzy or be nauseous. Sure, you might not want to hit the breakfast buffet before spending the morning staining the deck, but make sure you do eat something with some protein to help you face the day. Also be sure to take breaks and have small snacks when you need to – you’re burning calories so keep an eye on your hunger level.
Pay Attention to Your Body: Even if you’re protecting yourself from the sun, eating and drinking, it can be easy for the heat to get to you. When you’re motivated to get the job done, the desire to push through can override your body’s signals that you need a break. Anytime you feel overheated, dizzy, confused, unfocused or tired, take a break. Waiting 30 minutes before getting back to whatever project your tackling is better than having to wait a week before you ended up at urgent care or the emergency room.
And if the heat (or the project) is enough to make you cringe, contact your local TruBlue for help: https://www.trubluehousecare.com/locations/.