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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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James Timpson

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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