Health & Safety Institute Blog

December 16, 2015

Staying Safe and Beating the Holiday Blues

Sometimes the holidays can be overwhelming, and not just because we’re trying to pack so many things into our calendars or worrying about our gift budget. The holiday season has its own set of unique stressors for many people, so today’s blog offers a few tips to help you engage in some self-care if you need a helping hand at this time of year. After all, it’s hard to do our good work of helping to protect and save lives when the holiday blues are weighing on our minds.

At the Mayo Clinic website, you’ll find 10 stress and depression tips, including:

  • Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.
  • If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
  • Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.
  • Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity. If it's not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
  • Don't abandon healthy habits….Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Try these suggestions:

- Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.

- Get plenty of sleep.

- Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.

That holiday stress can spill over into work hours, and that can mean a less productive, potentially unsafe workplace. In their article, “Warding Off Holiday Injuries,” Occupational Health & Safety magazine shares some stats that show how the end of the calendar year can see an increase in workplace injury incidents:

“The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says there were approximately 15,000 injuries involving holiday decorating in November and December 2012. This translates to 250 injuries per day during the holiday season! Of these 15,000 emergency room visits, 34 percent involved falls, while 11 percent were the results of lacerations and another 10 percent stemmed from strained backs.”

 The article reminds us that:

  • The office cubicle-decorating contest promotes seasonal creativity, and competition can get fierce. Problems arise when we stand on our office chair, a desktop, or a cardboard box to reach those hard-to-get-to places. Avoid standing on your chair, especially one with rolling casters.
  • Holiday decorations look great but may be highly flammable. Consider the power source used to light up your office: Extension cords with exposed wires and missing ground prongs should be inspected and removed from service.

At home, at the office, or on the jobsite, don’t let the increased demands of the holiday season mean that you set aside good self-care and your best safety practices.




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