Sometimes it can feel like there are so many dangers out in the world. Other times we can get really casual in how we move about our lives and forget to employ even the most obvious precautions to help keep us safe.
Here are a few reminders to set yourself up for a safe life – all without wrapping yourself up in bubble wrap.
*Stay off your phone while walking – Whether you’re talking to someone, texting your bestie, or watching a show, keep your eyes on your surroundings and your phone safely tucked away so you can be more observant with what’s happening around you.
*Keep your phone with you – I’m not saying to hold it in your hand every moment. But when you’re going out and about, be sure you have a way to communicate with others should an emergency occur. And, as mentioned above, have it stashed in a place that is easily accessible to you but not to someone else.
*Walk with someone else – While I do enjoy my solo walking sessions, I wouldn’t go out alone after dusk. That old saying “there’s safety in numbers” is tried and true advice.
*Take a walking stick with you when you go for a walk – If you’re naturally kind of wobbly or there are lots of animals in your area (wild or domestic), having a walking stick of some type can come in handy.
*Listen to your gut – No, I’m not talking about going to the bathroom before you leave your house (though that is always a great idea!). I mean listen to your intuition when you’re out and about, especially if you’re by yourself. Have a weird feeling about someone? Steer clear of them. Feel like you shouldn’t go down a street? Listen to that cue. Even if you’re totally wrong, it doesn’t matter. Because it’s better to feel silly for changing your route than to have something happen and wish you’d listened to your inner guidance.
*Let someone know you’re going out (and where you’ll be going and when you’ll be back) – Don’t just take off without letting someone know, even if it’s just for a walk around the block or a short trip to the store. Tell someone the details so that they can be an extra layer of safety if you happen to need it. And for sure give your itinerary to someone when you’re going on a trip, just in case.
*Be aware of pickpockets – Keep your wallet in your front pocket, gents. And for everyone, don’t put it in the small front pocket of your backpack. As an extra layer of protection, carry the backpack in front of you when you’re around lots of people. Same rules apply for smartphones and where to stash them.
*Zip up your purse – I know it’s so much easier to just keep the zipper open, but with that convenience comes easy access for the meanies who might reach their hand in there and grab your goods.
*If you’re walking and you think someone is following you – Change direction or cross the street. If they’re still following you, go inside an open store or knock on the door of a well-lit house. And don’t hesitate to call 911 at any point. Not your sister or friend. The cops. You know, the ones who won’t get in trouble for protecting you.
*Let someone know you’re having trouble with another person – If you have a conflict with someone else, be sure to share that info with a trusted source. An example of this would be if, say, your ex is making threats to you (whether or not you think the threats are too small to report or if you feel that person wouldn’t actually follow through with the threat is irrelevant), be sure you mention the details to another person. And if the threats are such that you feel like the person is going to harm you, DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL THE POLICE. Heeding the warnings is crucial to your well-being, regardless of if the person is a stranger or a loved one.
*Don’t open your door to strangers – Just because someone’s a’knocking doesn’t mean you need to answer. Legitimate service providers will be wearing a company logo, driving a company vehicle, and/or have a business card (though this one is easier to fake, so keep that in mind). When in doubt, ignore their knocking or talk to them through the closed door. And don’t hesitate to ask for their supervisor’s phone number so you can call and verify them. While you might feel silly taking these extra steps, better to err on the safer side.
*Have locks on your home windows – If you’ll be leaving home during the day and want to keep your home windows open, be sure they’re locked in some way. If your windows don’t come with locks, visit your local hardware store to grab some. And when you’re headed off to bed at night, check your windows and make sure they’re either closed and locked or slightly open and locked.
*Stay in well-lit areas while walking and parking – This one is pretty self-explanatory. Shadows = potential lurkers, so park near the front of the store and under a light.
*Have someone escort you to your car if working late – Many buildings have a security guard for after-hours workers. Don’t feel awkward asking them to escort you to your car. They’ll feel helpful, and you’ll stay safe.
*Keep your car doors locked – This is while driving as well as when parked. Carjackings aren’t as much of a thing as they once were, but it’s better to be safe than sorry while you’re on the road. And when your car is parked in your driveway or on the street, be sure you’ve locked up all the doors and closed the windows to help prevent would-be burglars from gaining easy access.
*Don’t leave belongings in your car (like a purse or electronics) – This seems obvious, but leaving your purse or backpack in your car while you’re not there is an open invitation to someone who’s looking out for such things. Take them with you or leave them at home and just bring the smaller necessities with you instead. I’ve known people who’ve left items in their trunk and still had the car broken into and things stolen, so this approach isn’t as safe as you’d think.
*If you’re driving and someone is following you – Call 911 on your cell phone and follow their instructions. If you don’t have your phone with you, find a police station and go there. If you don’t know where that might be, find a busy shopping center or another place with lots of people. Whatever you do, don’t go home.
I know we were taught most of these safety tips when we were younger, but a little refresh can act as a gentle reminder of some of those techniques.
Stay safe, aware, and proactive. 💪