Welcome to Animals and Aquatics. I'm Gina, your host. I'm an occupational therapist, a sleep deprived mom of three, and a lover of all things nature-based. Today we're gonna have a fun little chat about what not to wear when working with animals and in the pool. I wanna touch base on what's been working for me in hot weather and cold weather, as well as give a special little discussion about interviews and fieldwork students. Now, I just have to give a disclaimer, I'm not sponsored at least yet by any of the company's brands or stores that I'm gonna mention when talking about clothes or where we found some of the products that have been working with us and why I think it's really important to have this discussion is because we are representing occupational therapy when we're out there working and this discussion about what not to wear is important when we wanna have a professional look that's functional in our specific setting. And since working with animals and aquatics are, require a little bit of a different uniform or outfit. I I think it's important to have that discussion because I know it's something that I've thought about a lot of, like, how do I pull this all together and look professional while still being able to move and get around and do what I need to do. So first, what Not to wear. Animal edition, anything you wanna keep. Anything that's going to stay wet. Things that show dirt and hair easily. Yes, I'm talking to you. Polar fleece. It's getting to be shedding season and polar fleece is the worst thing to wear around the barn. Everything sticks to it. Open toed shoes, clean white sneakers, high heels, anything like that. What's been working for me in hot weather. I like hiking pants for the pants that I'm going to wear. Sunguard shirts have worked really well. A business polo shirt with cool wick material. I think that gives a, really professional look. And hiking pants can come in a variety of different colors. So you can have khaki hiking pants and your polo shirt, or you can go with black. On the bottom and then your, polo shirt there. I prefer hats to sunglasses. I feel like with sunglasses, I feel like my peripheral is a little bit restricted. I like to have more open field of vision. I also find with most sunglasses that it restricts the way that I'm gonna connect with the clients. I really want that eye contact at face-to-face. Look I do occasionally wear sunglasses, but I. That's not my favorite. I don't like to so I do prefer hats if I really need some protection from the sun or from my eyes. I don't wear shorts, but I do know some other therapists who like to wear shorts. Now, some of this will depend a little bit on your climate. I've definitely spoken with some of my colleagues in Florida and they say, yep, shorts are, a must. And then I've spoken with other people that say, no, they actually prefer long pants. As far as protection. No matter where they are. And again those, kind of lightweight, cool wick materials that are out there, the performance materials can really be effective in helping keep us cool. I do have a couple pairs of pants that are hiking pants that have an insect guard sprayed on them. And. So that can help me when we're doing some work in taller grass areas. And the ticks are a problem where I live. There's a lot of issues with ticks and type borne diseases. So for me, in those specific areas, I do think that those types of pants are worth it for me. I still wear boots. I like hiking boots for our nature-based sessions with our therapy goats, and I wear tal terrains when I'm at the stable. I found that they give me a good amount of support if I need to do something with one of the horses. I have the right shoes on, but they're also really comfortable to walk in if I'm gonna be walking for a couple hours. So that is my preferred footwear. I like to have something a little bit heavy duty on. and something that's really gonna handle whatever terrain I'm on. Again, I do know therapists that treat in sneakers and that's comfortable for them, especially if they have any orthopedic needs. Then maybe sneakers are a little bit of a better fit for them. But for me, I want some sort of boot depending on where I'm at. So, Right now it's the middle of winter and it's really all about the cold weather. So I would say what works Animal edition, cold weather version is layers. Yep. Layer up, I think last Friday when it was about a high of 25, I had on about five layers. So wool yes. All of the wool things right from the bottom up hand warmers, especially reusable ones have been really helpful in just taking the chill off a little bit or if I can pop those in, in between sessions. Those have been helpful. Thermal underwear or whatever your base layer is going to be vests that are gonna go on under an outerwear jacket. I find that the vest gives my core body another layer without restricting my arm so much. Fleece or insulated pants, even on relatively nicer days. I do like my fleece and insulated pants for the extreme cold. I'm wearing those fleece pants with a Carhartt suit over it. So the Carhartt suit is insulated as well. I have insulated boots again. I have para areas that I really like. That are insulated that I like wearing at the stable this time of year. And wool socks with half a size larger shoes. So if you're planning ahead, remember to size up in your shoes or your boots, your winter boots. That way you have a little bit more airspace. I've also heard a lot of people say that bread bags around your feet can be really helpful in keeping the heat in. But I prefer my wool socks. Those have been working really well. And my student last week, she was wearing Bluetooth controlled heated socks, and she said they really helped to keep her feet warm. She did have to have her phone in her pocket or whatever to control them, but she found those at her local Costco and she said that those kept her feet warm when we were outside for a couple hours walking around. So as we've gone through that, you might think, well what about an interview? Or what about being a fieldwork student? And most of the fieldwork students that I've worked with, they reach out to me first and they ask what is the, dress code? And usually I'll say, You wanna be able to dress for the weather, so make sure you're checking the temperatures beforehand so you know what the weather's supposed to be like and dress in layers if you can. Khaki pants on the bottom and a polo on top. I think that's a very professional look no matter what setting we're in. There's a lot of equestrian based polo shirts that work really well for the staple setting. And a lot of schools also have. Shirts that are have the school logo on them. So those work well for fieldwork students. And then as it gets colder we are layering up. I do not like the look of HU hoodies. I do not think that's our best professional look if possible. If a student is asking, I would say, if you can avoid the jeans and hoodies, look, that tends to work better for me. Now you may have a different feeling about that. And then when we get to an interview, I wanna see a balance of knowing what the work demands are going to be. and then dressing professionally in that setting. So if I'm at the stable, I don't wanna see someone come in in riding pants because that's not what they're there to do, and they're not there to ride horses. They're there to treat children or treat the clients, some patient population that we see. Again, I wanna see them in some sort of pant with a boot or shoe that they don't mind getting dirty. I wanna see them in clean, neat. A button down collared shirt works well for an interview and I wanna see them be ready to get in the arena or get beside the horse or really kind of be in action. I interviewed an OT once who was interested in a position at the stable, and she came in a very appropriate outfit for an interview if you were maybe working a more clinical job. So she had on Suit. With a skirt and high heels and at the barn it just felt very, very out of place. So she was dressed for an interview but she wasn't necessarily dressed for an interview at a stable. So just thinking about what is that best professional look that you could have when going to an interview for this setting? If we were at our more nature base site and we had our therapy goats there I would still be looking for long pants because we're out. We're in the tall grass. Sturdy footwear and a nice button down or collared shirt would be what I would be looking for when someone comes to interview with me. So now let's take a moment and talk about water. We could be talking about aquatics in the pool. We could be talking about a lake or ocean, and let's start again with what to wear a bi. We're a revealing suit, Speedos, or swim briefs for men who are treating cotton shirts over your swimwear. So we wanna think functional and modest when we're thinking about being in the pool. Or being in a water setting, aquatic setting with our clients. We wanna be sure that we're gonna be comfortable when we get wet, that we can handle if there's terrain that we can handle, the terrain that we're going to be on for lake streams, oceans, those types of settings where we're gonna be with our clients in water. So what's been working is an athletic or sports one piece suit. I like the boy leg version. It gives me more coverage and less riding up. Rash guards went outside in Nashville water and I think those. Good for men and women alike. Wetsuits for cold water, so that can be ocean or the pool. We've been wearing our wetsuits when we're gonna be in the water for a couple hours. It does help to keep us warm, kind of the one of those people who are perpetually cold and in the water. My heat just really drains away very quickly, so when I'm in the water, I am wearing a wetsuit again it's a shorty, it's a boy leg version. and that's been working really well. So I definitely recommend the wetsuits and we've been recommending them to our clients as well. And there's one called Warm Belly. Those are kids wetsuits. And those work really well for helping keep kids warm when we're in the water. For their session so they're not ending up shivering towards the end of the session. Swim shoes for pool decks, Rocky Stream, Shelly Beaches. I don't like the grimy ness if there's a yuckiness on the pool deck and when I'm crossing over the stream, I'd rather have on water shoes, aqua shoes. And same with getting into the water. Water's, edges sometimes can be a little bit mucky, so I really. Having those swim shoes that are gonna drain out pretty well. I like to wear a waterproof watch with an alarm that way especially if I can put the alarm on vibrate, it really helps me to keep track of time when I'm in the water. If I don't have a clock that's nearby that I can see that alarm time is really great. Just getting that vibrate of like, okay, men can do bor shorts and rash guards. Pretty easy. Can be a pretty professional look for being around the water. And then we found that having a whistle can be great for queuing clients when it's time to leave the water. It's very functional in that is how most lifeguards in pool or ocean situations are also going to get people's attentions. So when we think about interviews and fieldwork students, again, I wanna see that you're coming prepared to get wet. Even if you're wearing your suit under your khakis and polo shirt, it's great if I said, Hey, can you help? Or could you show me this skill that someone is ready and able to participate in that way? So with fieldwork students, They're typically reaching out to me as a fieldwork educator ahead of time and asking what they should wear. I recommend a one piece suit with coverage and then being ready to get in the pool and to get wet, bringing your own towels, those types of things, so you can dry up afterwards for the interview. If we, if this was. Usually I would say, this may even be like a follow up. We may have done our first interview and kind of gotten a feeling whether we might be a good fit, and so this might be a follow up, more of a skills-based interview. And so same thing. I would like to see somebody come dress prepared for the interview, but then having your swim stuff with you. That way if we did wanna get into the water and work on some skills or demonstrate some skills and techniques you would be ready for. So to wrap up today, finding the perfect work wear when you're combining a professional field, like occupational therapy with children and animals, or aquatics, can be tricky. And I think there's a balance between functional and professional looking. I always recommend company logo wear. It's always an upgrade to any clothing in the professionalism department. If you're sporting your school logo or you're sporting your business logo, I think that helps to kind of pull the look together, even if we are in a more non-traditional setting. Otherwise, my recommendation is to choose fun, functional clothes that are. And appropriate for the climate, the physical demands of the task. So how much walking, running, bending climbing are you going to be doing? And always feel free to ask what's working for others. I shared a little bit about what's working for me today, but I'd say let's have some fun and go ahead and dm me on Facebook or Instagram about your last wardrobe malfunction when animals or aquatics were. If you haven't already done so, please be sure to subscribe to the podcast if you like what you hear, and please leave us a review so that other occupational therapy providers can find us. Thanks.