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Avoid These 6 Holiday-Time Dangers

Avoid These 6 Holiday-Time Dangers

It may well be the season to be jolly but actually Christmas and New Years come armed with plenty of dangers. Believe it or not, cold weather is responsible for the death rate increasing 20% from December to March.

The seasonal culprits include:

· Traffic accidents

· Cold weather and flu

· Food poisoning

· Accidents around the home

· Burglary

· Alcohol-related accidents

Let’s look at these dangers in more detail, and more importantly, ways to avoid them.

1. Traffic Accidents

There are more people on the roads during the holiday season caused by increased shopping trips and more people on the road journeying to see relatives. Add an increase of drunk drivers, icy conditions and cars not kitted out with winter tires – and you have a sharp increase in traffic accidents.

· Be extra careful – you can’t see black ice.

· Leave extra room between you and driver in front of you.

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· Other sensible drivers are likely to drive slower so don’t get impatient, it could save your life.

· Bring your car in before it gets very frosty and get your tires checked.

By law, you are responsible for your car and will be made liable if you have a traffic accident due to car issues.

2. Cold Weather and Flu

According to research, cold weather-related deaths for this winter are expected at around 40,000 people. This is the highest number in 15 years.

· Maintain an indoor temperature of at least 18°C.

· Don’t leave windows open when you go to bed – this lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke in cold weather.

· Ensure your flu and pneumonia shots are up-to-date.

· Check your central heating – you’ll regret it if it breaks down on Christmas Eve.

· Make sure you have plenty of warm clothes and blankets in case of a power cut or broken boiler.

· If you have an elderly relative or know of an elderly person, do check on them.

3. Food Poisoning

Food poisoning over Christmas is a hazard because many people fail to cook the Christmas turkey properly.

Defrost Your Turkey Properly

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· As a guide, allow 10-12 hours per kilogram to defrost in the fridge.

· FSA (Food Standards Agency) research shows that 69% of people leave their turkey in an unsafe place when defrosting (the garage, the garden shed, or the bath) – don’t be one of them!

· Keep raw meat at the bottom of your fridge – it should be below 5°C.

· Keep it covered with the original packaging or in a container so no juices contaminate other food.

Cook Your Turkey Thoroughly

Despite popular belief, you don’t need to wash your defrosted turkey! The water doesn’t get rid of bacteria and actually just ends up on your kitchen surfaces.

· Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mark 4).

· To cook your bird (unstuffed):

· Under 4.5kg – allow 45 minutes per kg plus 20 minutes

· Between 4.5 and 6.5 kg – allow 40 minutes per kg

· Over 6.5 kg – allow 35 minutes per kg

Check the stuffing! If you’ve stuffed your turkey, the stuffing must also be at the same temperature as the turkey. The weight of the stuffing should be taken into account when cooking.

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· Check to make sure your turkey is cooked with a food thermometer, inserting the thermometer into the thickest part of the bird. If the temperature is at 74°C the turkey is ready to rest before carving.

· Alternatively, there should be no pink meat and the juices should be clear.

Dealing with Leftovers

People say they eat turkey sandwiches all throughout January – is that really such a good idea? Make sure you do the following:

· Place leftovers in the fridge as soon as possible.

· Remove the meat from the bone.

· Store for two days maximum.

Deal with leftovers in style – check out these 5 Awesome Christmas Dinner Leftover Recipe Ideas.

4. Accidents around the Home and Fire

According to statistics, up to 50% more people are likely to die in a house fire during the Christmas period than any other time of year. Reasons include:

· Christmas treesthis disturbing video shows just how quickly a Scotch Pine destroys a room.

· Candles – keep them away from anything that might catch alight.

· Smoking – everyone likes to snooze after Christmas dinner, unfortunately some with cigarettes in hand.

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· Drinking – people are way more accident prone around the house when they are under the influence.

More accidents happen at home than anywhere else – that’s a fact. Every year there are approximately 6,000 deaths as the result of a home accident. Add Christmas fun into the equation and this festive time can turn lethal, quickly. The bottom line is just to be sensible and careful.

5. Burglary

Alarmingly, 59% of burglaries in England and Wales occur when people are supposedly safe and sound at home. Christmas time is when we give and receive wonderful gifts, so homes are even more vulnerable as they are full of presents, most left under a Christmas tree. It’s a burglar’s paradise.

The most obvious solution is of course to get a burglar alarm. Failing that, here are some burglary prevention tips:

· Don’t whack the Christmas tree and presents right by the front window.

· Don’t leave your gifts under the tree – at all.

· Turn your Christmas lights off when you go to bed (they pose a fire risk) but keep your house well-lit.

· Put security warning stickers on your windows – much cheaper than buying the whole kit!

· Make sure your front door is double-locked.

6. Alcohol-Related Accidents

Did you know there is a 41% increase in alcohol-related injuries in December? It may sound surprising, but common assaults and domestic violence also go up by a one third on Christmas Day. As it is the season to be merry, drinking is par for the course but be drink-aware and try not to overdo it. Alcohol is very often involved in all of the above.

Final thoughts

This piece isn’t meant to sweep a black cloud over the festivities! You can still have plenty of fun even though the above hazards and dangers might sound daunting. If you do take these precautions you can increase your chances of having a safe, Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year!

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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