It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  It can also be the most stressful and accident-laden time of the year.  Aunt Mildred is still angry about the political debate at Thanksgiving and won’t pass the potatoes to Uncle Steve.  Between kids Christmas programs, friends and family holiday parties, shopping and wrapping, and work events you have 100 things waiting to fill 15 days on your calendar.  And if you don’t get to the store in time for the new Star Wars toy, your child is going to have a meltdown.  Ah yes, happy holidays indeed.  We’ve put together some tips to keep in mind to survive the holidays safely and with your sanity intact.

Hitting the road?  AAA projects a record number 100.5 million, or about one in three, Americans will be traveling between Wednesday, Dec. 23 and Sunday, Jan. 3.  And 90% of the nation will be traveling by car.  AAA is prepared to rescue about 900,000 motorists from a broken down vehicle, flat tire, or getting stuck in a snowbank.  You don’t have to be ready for a zombie apocalypse, but having the following in your vehicle to be prepared if things don’t go as planned:

  • Extra blankets
  • Shovel and kitty litter if you live in an area where you may get stuck in a snow bank
  • Flashlight
  • Extra snacks and water
  • First aid kit
  • Booster cables
  • Extra mobile phone batteries – for emergency calls or to keep children occupied while waiting for a tow

HolidayMadness2The last place you want to end up during the holidays is the emergency room. Keep these stats at the back of your mind as a gentle reminder of what not to do this season.

  • You may need a little alcohol to get through that family dinner but don’t overdo it, as you might end up saying something you regret or making snow angels in the front yard in your birthday suit. What’s worse than that? Getting behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking.  Drunk driving is the number one reason people head to the ER during the holidays, not to mention that the consequences can be deadly.
  • Foodborne illnesses hit 1 in 6 Americans each year. With all the dishes that are being prepared at once, it’s easy to cross contaminate foods.  Make sure meat is fully cooked and don’t let dishes that should be refrigerated sit out too long.  Distracted cooking can not only lead to foodborne illnesses, but also kitchen injuries such as cuts and burns.
  • Decking the halls can lead to falls…and other mishaps that can send you to the ER faster than Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2012, the most frequently reported holiday decorating incidents seen in emergency departments involved falls (34%), lacerations (11%) and back strains (10%).  They estimate over 15,000 decorating-related injuries in November and December.  Remind your employees to apply their on-the-job safety training to their off-the-job activities.

Feeling a little panicked or stressed? Now, breathe in and repeat the following “I will not lose my s#$t this year, I will not lose my s#$t this year”.  Ok, maybe that isn’t the right mantra, but it can help to get a little new-agey during times of stress to get your blood pressure down to reasonable levels.  Health magazine offers up these tips and more:

  • Get happy with citrus – Researchers studying depression have found that certain citrus fragrances boost feelings of well-being and alleviate stress by upping levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood. Perhaps put a little OJ in that glass of vodka (that’s probably not what they mean by a whiff of citrus though).
  • Exercise – Even a brisk walk can help reduce stress. Walking in the daylight? Even better.
  • Pressure Points – The fleshy place between your index finger and thumb is called the hoku spot in traditional Chinese medicine. Applying firm pressure there for just 30 seconds can reduce stress and tension in your upper body. Bonus, it’s discreet.
  • Add some Siracha to your holiday feast – Hot foods trigger the release of endorphins—the natural chemicals that trigger feelings of euphoria and well-being.
  • Crank up the tunes – Listen to your favorite music, whether it’s Jingle Bell Rock or the latest from Adele. Research from the University of Maryland shows that hearing music you love can relax blood vessels and increase blood flow, which calms you down and is heart healthy. Music also helps to drown out other noises such as voices, screaming kids, etc.

If all else fails, keep in mind that the holidays are only here for a short time.  Focus on the memories and enjoy time with your loved ones.  A little preparation and prevention can go a long way, but if things aren’t quite going to plan, hopefully, you can laugh about it…if not today, then maybe in the future.

Your friends at Evolved Safety wish you all a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year!