Personal Safety and Health Tips

Being well prepared is a good thing, being well insured and well prepared is a great thing. Watch our website for frequent updates on tips and strategies on how to protect your home, health and business.

Give or Take an Hour – Daylight Savings style

Twice a year as we change the clocks for Daylight Savings time we willing give ourselves a little mini-jetlag without the great vacation photos. Stats show that this time change is challenging to deal with and in the days directly following there is a spike in accidents and oddly enough heart attacks.

Here are some tips for helping your body to adjust as quickly as your iphone does:clock-1295034_640

  • Exercise early in the day and ideally outdoors catching some natural light
  • Catch an early dinner to avoid digesting right before bedtime and reduce the caffeine
  • Cut back on the naps – talk a brisk walk around the block to shake out the cobwebs instead. If you do nap 20 – 30 mins should be the max.
  • Increase your light during the day and keep the night dark – using nightlights for late night wanderings
  • Turn off your electronics at least an hour before bed instead create relaxing pre-sleep rituals like a warm bath or meditation
  • Keep the bedroom cool and dark at night
  • Start adjusting early, making gradual changes over a couple of days works for most adults. If you’re a parent, ideally start adjusting bedtimes by 15 mins about four days prior

It is all about rebalancing. Your internal clock or circadian rhythm is heavily influenced by patterns, behaviours, environment and drugs. You can make sure that your rhythm is dancing to a new beat simply by taking a few easy steps.

And until you adjust, take that extra second of caution and that second cup of coffee in the morning to make sure you’re ready to roll.

 

Just Like Riding A Bike

Getting the kids back to school is just like riding a bike. You’ve figured out what to pack for lunches, you’ve bought the last of the “must have” items and everyone is finally settling into back to school routines. Unfortunately routines too often mean that kids will get lax about safety.

Simple things that you can reinforce with your kids will make all the difference. Things like making sure shoelaces are tied so you don’t trip entering or exiting the bus, waiting until the bus stops moving before standing up to exit, and just like when mom and dad are driving – keeping the noise down so the driver can concentrate on the road.

Give your kids a great foundation by learning the rules of the road early and it will put them on a safe path for success.

Back to School Safety Tips

Heart Healthy Habits

Valentine’s Day isn’t the only reason to wear red in February. February is national Heart Month in Canada. Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for Canadian men and women, but there are things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Heart Healthy Habits

  • be physically active
  • achieve and maintain a healthy weight through a healthy diet
  • reduce stress and increase breathing and meditation exercises
  • limit alcohol use
  • be smoke free
  • control exacerbating issues such as blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

It is quite a list, but don’t worry there’s an app for that. Click here to see some of the best heart-focused apps released in the last year. Prefer pen and paper to touch type? The Heart & Stroke Foundation has a Healthy Action Plan for you whether you prefer to track your efforts old school or digitally.

Take care of your heart, it belongs to someone you love.

Scary Can Be Safe this Halloween

Ghosts and goblins beware, this hallowed eve is not free of danger. Tricks, instead of treats, can be limited to harmless pranks this Halloween with a little extra care.

When planning both costumes and routes this year, makes sure you take these things into consideration:
ICBC Halloween Safety

  • a little reflective tape can go a long way towards making sure your vampire sparkles and can be seen at night;
  • don’t make the night a different kind of scary, before covering their sweet little faces with paint or make-up, do a quick test to make sure their skin won’t react;
  • create a wolf pack – gather the ghoulish together for both personal safety and visibility for drivers;
  • costume check for the five senses – can they see through their mask, can they breathe unimpeded, can they touch the ground without tripping over parts of their costume, do they feel warm enough to be outside for an hour or more, can they taste sweet victory as their bag fills with candy;
  • Drivers beware, the scary part is how quickly a child can pop up out of nowhere. Drive slowly and with extra caution in residential areas during prime trick or treat hours;
  • Staying home? Protect your car from those seeking to trick. Statistically vehicle vandalism is only higher on New Year’s Day;
  • Make sure Jack O’Lantern is a modern guy – battery candles or a flashlight make a safe alternative to an open flame.

Avoid being the person screaming the Banshee cry by heeding the advice above. This Halloween may your only true scare be from how much you gain after nibbling the treats and goodies that always seem to linger after the holidays.

Information courtesy of ICBC, IBC and the Government of Canada

Stand up for Yourself

Every January plans are made for a better, brighter new year. Part and parcel of these new year resolutions includes new health and fitness goals. For an easy first step, make sure you are sitting less and standing and/or walking more.

Studies in the last few years have shown that excessive sitting is literally killing us. Calorie-burning goes from 3 calories a minute when up and about to 1 calorie per minute while seated. Gaining weight is the tip of the iceberg in terms of health concerns. Dr. James Levine from the Mayo Clinic, considers sitting to be a lethal activity when done in excess of 6 hours straight. And it is not an equal opportunity killer – the death rate for men is 20% higher and 40% higher for women sitting consistently in excess of six hours a day.

Easy low impact solutions, can make a difference.

  • Set up a reminder to get up and stretch and move around at least every few hours
  • Take the stairs
  • Walk to see a colleague instead of calling or instant messaging
  • Plan your schedule to intersperse physical activity after sedentary stretches

While your office might not be ready to install treadmill desks, you can plan for a long and happy life by getting yourself moving.

For more information on this study, click here.

Hearth and Home for the Holidays

Keeping your family and home safe over the holidays is the most important holiday tradition. To keep any and all Christmas fires confined to the fireplace – or for the more modern, the digital burning log – follow these Christmas Safety Tips:

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 8.36.21 AMFireplaces & Candles:

  • Have the chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year.
  • Burn hardwood, which leaves less creosote (a flammable dark residue) in the chimney.
  • Make sure the fire is out before going to bed or leaving the room. Always use a secure and suitable screen in front of your fireplace, see the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Keep children and pets away from gas fireplaces and open flames.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended or positioned too closely to tree decorations or wrapping paper.
  • Cut candle wicks short to prevent high flames.
  • If candles are used in a centerpiece, make sure they are in a sturdy holder and don’t burn low enough to ignite the decorations or table.

Trees and lights:

  • When buying a real tree, make sure it’s fresh (you can tell if the needles are hard to pull off). Store it in a cool, sheltered area until you bring it indoors for decorating.
  • Place in a well-secured stand. Water real trees daily to prevent dryness – an increased fire risk.
  • Place the tree away from heating vents, radiators, stoves, fireplaces and burning candles.
  • Keep metal tree ornaments and decorations – which may contain lead – away from young children and pets.
  • Remove the tree right after the holidays or as soon as the needles start to fall to avoid a potential fire hazard.
  • Be sure to use indoor lights inside your home and outdoor lights outside. Only use lights that have been certified by a recognized organization such as CSA, LUC or C-UL
  • Check the light strings and extension cords you use, discarding any that are frayed or have exposed wires, loose connections or broken light sockets. Never run electrical cords through doorways or under carpets.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets. Use more than one outlet if the wattage of your lights is more than the outlet can handle.

Courtesy of the Insurance Bureau of Canada and Health Canada

Healthy Habits

Get moving. Today’s sedentary lifestyle is not helping keep Victorians feeling their best.

Many people may not know that exercise does more for you than just help you lose weight or build muscle. Regular physical activity is a prescription for helping decrease stress; relieve depression, anxiety, heartburn and constipation; increase happiness; improve your love life and fitness level; and, prevent diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, osteoporosis and cancer.

Experts recommend that adults over the age of 18 need to be physically active 30-60 minutes, most days of the week, to stay healthy. Physical activity doesn’t need to be hard. Any effort you expend, especially if you are just starting out, will help. Even just a few minutes a day can improve your health and generate feelings of well-being. Every little bit counts.

Start small and build physical activities into your daily routine. Here’s a 10 minute plan to get things moving:

  • Park the car 10 minutes from where you are going
  • Dance to your favourite music for 10 minutes each day
  • Take the stairs instead of the escalator
  • Take a 10-minute stretching break at work – set a reminder alarm to help
  • Walk or bike to work
  • Get off the bus 10 minutes from where you work

Check out Health Canada’s Get Active Tip Sheet on how you and your family can take a step in the right direction. And don’t forget Healthy Eating as a foundation for the new you.