The annual summer holiday period is rapidly approaching. Work Christmas party plans are in full swing, staff holidays are planned, families are excited – it’s not long now and the brain can be parked and the recharge begins.

The focus, though, is often on getting everything done before the break. Deadlines loom and pressure mounts. You’re tired, struggling to maintain concentration, but the focus remains on the finish line – ‘I can rest when the holiday starts’, you tell yourself. You feel like the little steam engine that could trying to make it up that hill.

I think I can, I think I can…

Just got to get everything done. Then it is easy town.

The pressure mounts. Your tired, not as focused but getting the job done. I can rest when the holiday starts you tell yourself. All of sudden your pushing yourself a little too far and not seeing the risks for what they are. The focus is the break – family time.

Equally though time off at home can also be around getting things ready around the house. Having everything just right before “the holiday starts”. Working through that preholiday DIY list, yet since you’re at home that same safety lens applied at work, which has been declining, becomes non-existent at home. Climbing ladders, lawn mowers, nail guns, decking, fencing, gutter clean, gardening, got to get it all done.

The mind is tired, the risk perception clouded.

Looking at the weekend list, order changes, what is a perceived an easy and quick fix slides to the top, start the job and suddenly the brain slides into neutral just for a second – everything changes.

That simple task becomes a life changing event.

Suddenly you become the grinch that stole the holiday because that quick task becomes an 18-month recovery following 3 months in a brace with limited mobility. The reason being you’re seeing the end game – holiday – not focusing on the here and now and taking those steps safely that will get you there.

That was me 12 months ago. The incident falling from a ladder when my dog knocked it out from under me and shattering the lower back. Whilst in hospital recovering the surgeons shared how this is a common story at this time of year. People are tired, in a rush and not focused. If your lucky it is a wake-up call. For me a near miss as I can still walk, there were 20 others who fell from ladders that week and 40% of them become paraplegics. Then there is all of the other rush and businesses to get ready for holidays.

For the surgeons in emergency I met this is just part the annual cycle.

So over the next few weeks, take a deep breath. Look at what you are doing, your peers, mates, colleagues, family and focus on the here and now. Instead of trying to squeeze that extra task in or diving in. Stop, think and consider will it impact my holiday plans? That moment of reflection could be the difference between having the holiday as planned or becoming the grinch.

Image Source: Barnes and Noble

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