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Get Support During The Winter Break

The Winter break can be a difficult time for many of us, and this year in particular might feel extra challenging. However, there are lots of support services still available for you to access over the holidays as well as our #WinterWithCUSU campaign. Read on for our tips on getting through a tricky winter period, as well as support services available.

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Top Tips This Winter 

  • 'Family' is who you want it to be:

For some of us, including care leavers and estranged students, it can be difficult to hear conversations or see adverts/imagery promoting a 'Traditional Family Christmas'. Especially when people ask questions about who you are spending Christmas with. Remember, we all have very different family situations. Don't feel pressured to spend time with people who aren't good for your wellbeing. 'Family' can include anyone you care about, including friends, pets or people in your community! 

  • If you don't want to celebrate - That's okay!

Not everyone wants to celebrate during the winter period, especially if you have negative memories associated with this time of year, or you just don't feel in right place emotionally. You get decide what you want to do this winter, don't feel pressured to make plans that you don't really want to do.  If you're not really sure how you feel, then take it slow, making sure you're thinking of your wellbeing as much as the wellbeing of others. 

  • Find YOUR healthy balance

Though it's really important to keep in touch with people in our lives that make us feel good - Don't exhaust yourself trying to keep in touch with everyone! The winter break can feel like sensory overload - Let people know if you need some time out. Having time for yourself is just as important as socialising. Keep an eye on our #WinterWithCUSU campaign, for some alternative and virtual socialising this winter. 

  • Keep things in perspective

During the holidays we can put ourselves under a lot of emotional and financial pressure to have the perfect winter break, and to 'improve' ourselves in New Year. Try to avoid comparing yourself to others, especially on social media where reality is often distorted! Try not to dwell too much on the past, or worry about what the next year might hold. Try to be present in the moment (Exercises like mindfulness can help with this!

  • Never feel embarrassed to reach out

If you're finding this time especially challenging, you're feeling isolated or you find yourself in an unsafe situation where you need support. Then don't wait till the holidays are over to reach out to get the support you need. You are not alone, there are people who do understand, and support is available.

 

Resources and Support

Stand Alone Stand Alone support people who are estranged from their family. Check our their helpful guide on coping with estrangement at Christmas. 
Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Rates of domestic abuse and sexual violence often rise during the winter period. CUSU has a list of resources and services available for you to access to get support, including LGBT+, BAME & Male specific services. 
Cruse Bereavement Care The Cruse Bereavement Care Freephone National Helpline is staffed by trained bereavement volunteers, who offer emotional support to anyone affected by bereavement. Call freephone number 0808 808 1677.
Hub of Hope Hub of Hope is mental health database, allowing you to find a range of support services in your area.  for any mental health issue, from depression and anxiety to PTSD and suicidal thoughts. 
CALM The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading a movement against suicide. Check out their CALM at Christmas guide. 
Student Space Student Space is led by Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity. Get 24 hour text support from a trained volunteer by texting ‘STUDENT’ to 85258’ or call for free on 0808 189 5260. You can also speak to them by email: students@themix.org.uk or through their webchat service.
Mental Health Foundation Check out the Mental Health Foundation helpful guide on Mental Wellbeing at Christmas

Want to do something great this Christmas? You can support the 'Become' Care Leavers Christmas Appeal by making a donation or sharing the campaign. 

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