With falling temperatures and snow in the forecast, the holiday season must be fast approaching. This is a time of giving, a time spent with family and friends, and a time of attending and hosting social events. While it can be joyous and magical, it can also be full of unexpected dangers and disappointments. Follow these simple tips to help you and your family stay safe during this festive season.
Use cannabis responsibly
We are all familiar with the expression “do not drink and drive” but with the recent legalization of recreational cannabis, it’s an opportune time to also say “don’t drive high”. Whether you fancy cannabis or not, you may come across it during this holiday season. Contrary to popular belief, cannabis can be as dangerous as alcohol when it comes to driving. Cannabis is second to alcohol as the most common drug found among drivers involved in crashes and those charged with impaired driving. Cannabis can impair one’s ability to drive by reducing alertness, altering depth perception, impairing concentration and attention span, slowing down reaction time, and affecting motor skills and visual function. Although experts recommend waiting a minimum of at least 4-8 hours before you drive after cannabis use, impairment may last up to 24 hours in some. If you plan to use cannabis, the safest option would be to plan ahead for a safe ride back home by having a designated driver.
Remember your lonely friends and family
The holidays are a joyful time of the year to spend with friends and family. However, this may not be the case for everyone. Those struggling with depression may feel more lonely and isolated during the holidays. In fact, people who are clinically depressed are at higher risk for suicide during holiday seasons. Therefore, be mindful of those around you who may be at risk. This could be the time to reach out to your awkward uncle to whom you haven’t spoken in months or the lonely neighbour next door. Make an effort to include them in the festivities or pay them a visit when you can.
Don’t stress yourself out
With all the festivities and gift giving, this can be a challenging time. Many may feel stressed and anxious as a result of unrealistic expectations, financial stress, fatigue, and a full social calendar. Try not to give in to holiday pressures; remember that you don’t have to attend all events. Maintain a daily planner to keep you on track and focused. If you are hosting an event, reach out for help and delegate the responsibilities so that you don’t over exert yourself. Additionally, getting quality sleep, meditating and deep breathing can help ground you in these busy times.
Watch your diet
Being around a variety of colourful and tasty foods during the holidays makes it hard to stick to your regular diet. It’s hard to avoid all unhealthy savouries and sweets but try not to overindulge. According to one study, the risk of fatal heart attack spikes during the holidays. Consider that during the holidays, we suffer a lot of physical stress due to increased salt, sugar and fat intake. Overeating, overdrinking, and missed medications can all contribute to a decline in your physical health. In order to have a healthy holiday season, eat fruits and vegetables that are packed with nutrition and limit your portions, stay physically active, and above all, do not miss taking your chronic medications!
Keep this holiday season safe and joyful by following these simple but crucial tips. Happy holidays!