OK, I’ll leave you alone

I give up. There are more people wearing shorts and flip-flops in the street than there are people dressed for work. In fact there are more people wearing shorts and flip-flops at the 24.com offices than there are people dressed for work. Nobody’s in the mood to take anything seriously, so after today, I’m going to leave you alone until 2009.

But before I go, and because I really care about you, and because I know you’re likely to be behaving at least a little bit badly, I want you to know that:

- Many people are in a lonely or otherwise bad or sad space. This season highlights the holes in their lives. Suicide rates go up. Domestic and other violence flares. But not everyone is partying: in fact, your community cares. Volunteers man helplines throughout the season; police and paramedics and hospitals are on duty permanently. So if you need help – someone you’re worried about, someone to talk to, someone to intervene on your behalf – ask for it. The comfort of strangers can see you through.

- It’s a dangerous time of the year. Drowning deaths and the road toll both go up. Look after the children, particularly closely when they are out of their usual territory. Look after yourself: alcohol and boats, alcohol and swimming don’t go together. You don’t need me to tell you about alcohol and driving; but long-distance driving, under any circumstances, is hard work. Pedestrians can sometimes be drunk and erratic and may cause many of the accidents on the road. Don’t drive if you’re feeling flat and tired.

- Society’s parasites are on full alert while our guard is down: crime goes up. Before you leave, check your alarms, and phone your security company for advice on best practice.

Have a break. Have a wonderful break.

And may 2009 turn into a year that makes you healthy, wealthy and wise.

Until next time,
(Heather Parker, Health24, December 2008)

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