Tips for spending time outdoors

The recent updates to the government guidance on shielding in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland means people who are advised to shield can now spend time outdoors. If you would like to go outdoors, but you are concerned on how best to protect yourself, we have put together a blog with tips on staying safe.

Correct as of 19/06/2020. We will update this with further information as soon as it is released. Please get in touch with us at advocacy@leukaemiacare.org.uk for further help. 

The recent updates to the government guidance on shielding in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland means people who are advised to shield can now spend time outdoors. It is important to note that whether or not you decide to spend time outdoors is a personal choice and your decision to make. If you are worried or anxious about leaving your home and going outside, we would encourage you to speak to your GP or haematology team and discuss these concerns with them.

Please note that the most recent announcement on 10th June that people living alone can visit another household at home does NOT apply to shielded people. To find out more, read our FAQs on shielding.

Before going outside, think about…

  1. Whether you have all the necessary items packed, including hand gel and a face mask.
  2. The time of day – is it likely to be busy, and therefore perhaps more difficult to maintain social distancing? Is there a quieter time to leave the house, such as the early mornings or the evenings?
  3. Your destination – is it likely to be busier? Is there perhaps a quieter walking route you could take, or a quieter park to visit? It is also easier to maintain distance when walking in larger open areas.
  4. How long you plan to spend outside – it is important to still keep the amount of time spent outside in the company of others to a minimum so as to reduce your risk, but equally do not feel like you must go outside at all if you do not yet feel comfortable. Stay out only for as long as you feel is acceptable.

Whilst outside, remember…

  1. Follow strict social distancing – try to keep two metres away from other people when outside.
  2. Do not touch surfaces and do not touch your face – it can be hard especially to not touch your face, but there is a risk you may transfer anything from your hands onto your face.
  3. Do not go anywhere indoors – this includes shops and others houses. Support is still available for those shielding, so you do not need to visit a supermarket for your groceries.
  4. Meet the same person each time – this is also to lower your risk of coming into contact with the virus.
  5. Don’t forget to relax and enjoy your time outdoors – if you feel yourself becoming anxious, try mindfulness by focussing on the things you can see, hear and smell. Follow the guidelines and let yourself enjoy the moment instead of worrying about the ‘what ifs’.

When you return home…

  1. Wash your hands straight away – remember to wash them thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds.

What if I don’t want to go outside?

The decision to go outdoors is yours alone, so do not be too hard on yourself if you don’t yet feel comfortable to go outside. These are difficult times, so feeling anxious or concerned is normal.

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, you can still get the benefits of fresh air and nature. There are also plenty of ways you can keep yourself both entertained and connected from the comfort of your home.

If you’re not tech-savvy, we’ve put together a guide on accessing our forums and making video calls. Read it here.

Our weekly newsletter – Weekly Wrap – is also sent out every Friday and is packed full of ideas on how to keep yourself busy and entertained. Sign up here.

If you have any questions, our Patient Advocacy team are on hand to assist you. Email them at advocacy@leukaemiacare.org.uk, or call the helpline on 08088 010 444.

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