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Is Christmas a difficult time for you? You’re not alone

Posted December 17th 2019 by Outside The Box

We know Christmas and New Year can be a really hard time for lots of people, for a variety of different reasons. We want you to know that you’re not alone.

“Christmas can be very stressful because on top of your depression or anxiety, or whatever it is, you have so much to do.”

“Some people have had a lot of bad experiences over Christmas and New Year. It’s not a good time. It brings back memories like bereavements they’ve had. It’s hard to deal with.”

“I used to go along with being all Christmassy and was miserable but I thought I had to or people would think I was a bit rude. Now I’ve decided not to care if people think I’m being rude.

We have spoken to people who feel the same and together we, have produced a number of resources that you might find useful…

Surviving Christmas and New Year 

“It looks as if everyone else seems to be enjoying themselves while you may feel left out.”

“You can feel under pressure to have fun, even though you don’t feel that way.”

If this sounds familiar, this booklet is for you. Written by people who feel the same, there are tips on:

  • How to plan for the holiday period.
  • Access to services.
  • How to check out the public transport arrangements, so you can get around.
  • Ideas if you like to feel busy and would like to have more people around.
  • Nice things to do if you are on your own.
  • Things to do with family and friends that do not cost much.
  • Coping with people and social occasions when you would rather avoid them.
  • Keeping well and looking after yourself.
  • Managing money at this time of year

Winter Tips

These are practical tips that families find make life easier. They come from:

  • People living with dementia.
  • Other people who have health problems or are finding food is sometimes a challenge.
  • Families who have a relative who is affected by dementia.

In this set of tips we have:

  1. General food tips – around food for any time of year.
  2. Shopping tips for winter.
  3. Suggestions for Christmas and New Year.
  4. Easy winter warmers – recipes and suggestions for food that are nice and cosy for this time of year.

These are suggestions that people have found work well for them. We all hope that some of them work well for you.

Keeping Connected through the Winter

Lots of people find winter a challenge. And it can be a challenge for community groups too. This is especially true in more rural areas.

We’ve been working with people in communities across the Borders. People have told us about their tips for keeping going, especially through the bad weather when it can become harder for people to keep connected with other people and with the services they use.

We are sharing their tips as a resource for community groups and for people who want to stay in touch with friends and neighbours. We hope these are useful and will prompt you to come up with and share your own ideas.


Who you can call

If you are feeling lonely or struggling for whatever reason, don’t struggle alone, there are people out there who can help.

  • Whatever you’re going through, you can call Samaritans any time day or night, 365 days a year. Call them free on 116 123 or email them at
  • The Silver Line  is there to provide free confidential information, advice or friendship to older people 24 hours a day and 7 days a week on 0800 470 80 90
  • Breathing Space is a free and confidential phoneline service for anyone in Scotland who is experiencing low mood or depression. Call them on 0800 83 85 87
  • If you are are a child or young adult and feeling lonely, you can call SupportLine on 01708 765 200
  • The Calm Zone is a helpline offering support to men, of any age, who are down or in crisis, 0800 585858.



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