Savouring a safe summer at home in 2020

Please read these tips for enjoying a safe summer close to home in 2020 as you’re cleaning, gardening, working, and de-stressing. 

Photo of cleaning surface with hands in yellow rubber gloves holding spray bottle and sponge

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If there was ever a time to appreciate the “staycation,” it’s this summer of 2020. I’ve learned to make the most of my time at home, as have many others who have been doing things like making sourdough bread, painting rooms, and working on other home improvement projects.

One huge ongoing task we all face is cleaning. Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak hit in March, we’ve been constantly reminded to wash our hands and to clean and disinfect. A result of this has been an unprecedented demand for cleaning products.

Hand sanitizers, disinfectants, bleach, and other cleaning products have been flying off the shelves. At the same time, Health Canada is reporting an increase in the number of calls to poison control centres across the country. Here are some contributing factors to incidents involving cleaning products:

  • More cleaning products in homes as people stock up
  • Increased exposure to products as people clean and disinfect their homes more often
  • People, including children, spending more time at home

For more information on this topic — including a good refresher on “what not to mix together” — see this CBC story: Canadians are accidentally poisoning themselves while cleaning to prevent COVID-19.

Setting up a good workspace at home

For many people, working from home is a new arrangement. I noticed online that some people are asking about setting up an ergonomic workspace at home. They can find answers in a WorkSafeBC resource, Setting up, organizing, and working comfortably in your home workspace.

Here are a few pieces of advice from the above information sheet that I find helpful, as someone who has been working from home for more than 20 years:

  • Use a morning start-up routine (e.g., shower, get dressed, and eat breakfast) to help psychologically trigger your mind into work mode.
  • Once you’re working, follow the 20/20/20 guideline: take a 20-second stretch break every 20 minutes, and look about 20 feet away.
  • Having an “end of the workday” routine (e.g., change your clothes, go for a walk, do some exercise) is helpful to keep your work and home life separated.

Also see this Globe and Mail article for other tips for working from home: The ironing-board desk and other work-from-home hacks from an ergonomics expert. And for more about COVID-19 and the workplace, see COVID-19 information and resources on (These webpages are updated regularly.)

Gardening safely

Gardening can be fun to do this summer as you stay close to home — but it’s important to do it safely. See this information about garden safety from Health Canada. Here are some things it recommends you keep in mind when in the garden:

  • Read, understand, and follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions before using any power tool.
  • Before plugging in any power equipment, make sure the power switch is “off.”
  • Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF on all exposed skin.

Learn more about poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac, as well as about any other toxic plants you may encounter.

Take some time to enjoy life

Remember, it’s also essential to enjoy ourselves and be thankful. That’s what I plan to do during my staycation of 2020 — and I hope you will too. Please leave a comment, say hi, and tell us how your summer is going. Take care!

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