The Christmas guide to helping everyone in Edinburgh have a stress-free festive season

The Evening News has teamed up with Health in Mind and NHS Lothian to share their guide to surviving the festive holidays, which for many can be a stressful time.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 6:00 am

It is the most wonderful time of the year and the Capital is full to the brim with good deeds being carried out by Edinburgh elves across the city.

This week, we have seen sports stars spend their day off bringing joy - and presents - to children in Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Hospital.

And tonnes of food, warm clothes and money is being donated to keep those in need safe over the festive season.

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The Surviving the Holidays guide.

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There is no doubt that Edinburgh truly is the Capital of Kindness but it can also be the most manic place to spend the season.

Our streets are packed close to bursting with festive tourists and Christmas nights out.

This, coupled with additional stresses in the shape of party planning, family arrivals and battling through Princes Street to finish your present shopping can make the capital incredibly overwhelming.

While the city can offer non-stop fun for some, for others it is all too much.

With friction between family members, added responsibilities on carers and pressure to be around alcohol, Christmas can sometimes feels like something to get through rather than enjoy.

This is why the Evening News has teamed up with Health in Mind and NHS Lothian to share their guide to surviving the holidays and help everyone celebrating Christmas in the city have a better festive season.

Christmas Guide

The guide, collated into a helpful booklet brings together a range of support services needed during Christmas and the New Year, including emergency contacts, food banks, and ideas of how to keep well on Christmas day.

Communications manager at Health in Mind, Alana Genge, said: “The booklet includes several tips about how people can best look after themselves during Christmas and New Year.

“There’s also information about events that are being held across the city on Christmas Day, and contact details for a range of services from mental health, advocacy and legal to housing services, that are here to support people in Edinburgh.

“We have produced this guide for the last few years and it’s really popular and we often start to get requests for copies in October.”

Alana knows only too well how difficult the festive season can be for some people in Edinburgh.

She said: “For many people, the festive period can be a particularly tough time of year. For some, it can often heighten feelings of loneliness or isolation.

“Other people may feel pressure to go out and socialise or be in situations where there is a lot of drinking.

“People may also feel obligated to see their family, or have financial worries over buying presents, cooking food or heating the house."

She added that with the added stresses of the festive period, it’s important for people to make sure that they are taking care of themselves and their wellbeing.

“We know that Christmas and New Year can be a hard time for many of us and this booklet is for people in Edinburgh who may need some support over the festive period.”

Health in Mind want people in Edinburgh to know that it is the ‘little things’ that will help you get through the Christmas season and if you are struggling there is always someone to turn to.

In between the celebrations and exhaustion, they urge people to: “Remember that little things can make the biggest difference. It’s okay to take time out and look after yourself- have a hot bath or go on a long walk.”

If you would like to talk to this festive season remember that there is always an ear open in Edinburgh and access the booklet’s resources here: https://www.health-in-mind.org.uk/news_and_blogs/i2214/surviving_the_holidays_2019.aspx

Tips to look after yourself this winter

1. Think about little things you can do for yourself each day, like running yourself a nice warm bath or spending time outside.

2: Make sure you have enough medication to last the days when the GP and Chemist are closed.

3: Try to be honest with family and friends if things are starting to feel overwhelming. It is ok to take some time out to yourself when you need to.

4: Work out a budget in advance and try to stick to it.

5: What we eat can have an impact on how we feel. Try to plan some healthy meals as well to have a good balance over the festive period.

6: Try not to compare yourself and your Christmas to the things you see on TV or social media. You are not alone in finding things difficult.

7: Plan a routine and follow it every day.

8: Remember it’s ok to cancel plans if you don’t feel like going out. The most important thing is to look after yourself.

9: Talk to your support worker, or people who support you, about how you will cope around Christmas.

10: We can all feel overwhelmed at times. If things get too much, take time to talk to someone about how you’re feeling or reach out to listening services for support.