While there are always great excuses to spend most of your summer outside—including the summer job of your dreams—there are a lot of liabilities that come with that kind of work.
If you’re lucky to work one of the more formal jobs, you’ll surely be initiated into some of the best practices for safely staying out of the sun. But even the best job won’t always give you every answer you need for maximizing your sun-time efficiency.
For us, it comes down to just a few simple tips and tricks. If you can manage to remember these, then you’ll enjoy your summer job that much more. If not, it could mean serious repercussions for your health—and ultimately for your life under the sun. Take care of yourself, and make sure to always stay protected!
It’s hard to admit, but caffeine is one of the biggest culprits in bringing our energy down when we’re in the sun. Sure, you won’t be able to avoid waking up early for work early, but there are other ways to beat the sleep monster if you just plan ahead.
For starters, getting a full night’s sleep is a must. When you’re out in the sun, you’re best weapon is your energy, and it’s what the sun primarily zaps from you. The less energy you start with, the more quickly you’re going to feel defeated.
The problem is, we often try to compensate for that lack of energy with caffeine. And unfortunately, this leads to grave consequences. Caffeine is an accelerant, and will quickly dehydrate you—where you’re in the sun or not! So drinking a lot of coffee, whether it’s hot or iced, can be a deadly combination for your health and energy.
If you absolutely must drink coffee, try an iced Americano, or some other water based drink—and be sure to stay extra hydrated. As an energy alternative, try starting your day with a full apple. You’ll be amazed what certain fruit can do for your energy!
Wear SPF Clothing
In a bit, we’ll talk more about the importance of sunscreen. But before that, we want to address the topic of SPF clothing. There are tons of places that you can find online, or even at brick and mortar shops, that sell clothes equipped with broad-spectrum SPF protected clothing.
Ever heard of the idea that dark clothes attract sun and light clothes repel it? Well, this takes things a step further toward science, and creates clothes that are actually acting as a layer of SPF protection between you and the sun.
In extreme heat, you’re essential exposing yourself to a form of radiation. It’s never too much to take every measure you can in protecting your skin and body from the sun’s harmful long-term effects.
Additionally, if you can wear sunglasses, make sure that they’re polarized. That polarization will prevent your sunglasses from magnifying the light into your eyes and will instead block the glare. That glare can often deplete you of energy and make you feel tired. Having polarized sunglasses will not only protect your eyes, but also keep you from being depleted by the suns rays.
Find Drinks With Electrolytes
While rehydrating is a generally important principle, it’s not enough just to grab some iced water—in fact, that can be counter productive. If you’re overheated, the most damaging thing you can do is shock your system with a large quantity of cold water.
Instead, find drinks that a rich in electrolytes, like Gatorade or coconut water, and slowly sip them at a mildly cool temperature. That will not only give your body time to properly digest it, but it will also help to prevent cramping.
Don’t Wait For The Symptoms
Speaking of electrolytes, it’s important to understand the symptoms of dehydration and overheating, and how you can prevent them before its too late.
When you’re sweating, that’s when your body is already beginning to deplete itself of electrolytes and fluid, in an attempt to cool yourself down. At that point, you may not feel internally like you’re overheating, but that’s the best time to treat yourself.
By rehydrating at the instant that your body begins to sweat and drain itself, you’ll be stopping the problem before it’s actually a problem. Once you’re dehydrated, it takes that much more time and energy to recover.
Learn The Proper Way To Apply Sunscreen
Then of course, there’s one of the most over-stated and under appreciated aspects of protecting yourself in the heat: applying sunscreen. If you’re going to be spending any time outdoors in the sun (and even thinly overcast days) it’s important that you put on sunscreen.
But it’s not just important to put it on, it’s important to know proper application techniques so that you’re protected all day. According to the AAD, that means that you need at least SPF 30 or higher.
Make sure that it’s broad spectrum to cover all the different forms of UV exposure you can get under the sun, and be sure to apply it 15 minutes before you’re going to be exposed, so that it has proper time to absorb.
What’s more, you really need to be reapplying it every 2 hours. No matter how “sweat-proof” or “sporty” the sunscreen is, it can still wear off.