Holiday Toolkit

Advice content


As the holidays approach, you may feel a little anxious or stressed about experiencing a change to your routine. We want to reassure you that, if the academic break feels stressful or causes you to worry, there is still lots of support available to you.

Our student support teams have created this toolkit to help in every way they can.

Here are a few tips and pieces of advice you may find useful.

Please do not suffer in silence. There is support out there for you.

We hope you have an enjoyable, safe break and look forward to welcoming you back after the holidays.

  • If you're in immediate danger of hurting yourself or others:

- Go directly to the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department of your local hospital to get help.-

- Call 999 to request an ambulance if you are unable to reach the hospital yourself

  • If you're feeling distressed and need urgent support:

- Contact your GP surgery to request an emergency appointment

- If your GP surgery isn't open, call the free NHS out-of-hours medical line on 111 for help accessing the right services or contact NHS 111 via their website

- You can call the Samaritans on 116 123 to talk to someone at any time, day or night

  • Free, confidential, 24/7 support is available by text message. Text ‘shout’ to 85258 or visit for more information.
  • text Mikeysline for support
  • look after yourself and get good advice from clear your head
  • information on anxiety, low mood, stress and where you can get help from NHS
Advice for the holidays content

Advice for the holidays

Advice for the holidays

While the holiday season can represent joy, gratitude and togetherness, it can also be associated with family and financial pressure, loneliness, anxiety and tension. Even if you look forward to the holidays, it’s normal to experience periods of stress or difficulty.

According to research from the UK, most people feel stressed, anxious, and depressed over the holidays.  In fact, over two in five Brits have felt stressed during the festive season, while one in four have struggled with anxiety or depression (YouGov 2019 UK)

If you find yourself experiencing mixed emotions, worries, or even real distress over the holidays, that’s okay, and perhaps keep some of these thoughts in mind.

First of all, it’s okay to not be okay during the holidays and reach out for support when you need it.

The holidays may cause a mixture of complicated situations and emotions, such as family and relationship conflict, anxiety around relationships, worries about food, coping with grief, or feeling that everyone else is having a great time and you’re missing out.

All these feelings are valid and okay, and you’re not alone.

Don’t wing it during the holidays - come up with a plan to feel better and take control 

  1. Write down the days you’ll be surrounded by people or have a lot going on. Think through the days that might be tough and identify when you’ll need extra support or breaks.
  2. Identify the people and resources you want to use for support. Talk with these people beforehand or investigate a resource and define strategies for coping.
  3. Set your intentions: Whether it’s sleep, how you eat, how much you drink, where exercise plays a role, or whether you engage in certain conversations, set your intentions in advance so you can feel in control in the moment. This approach can be generalized for the holiday season or you can do this on a day-to-day or event-by-event basis.

Take time to develop a list of coping skills that work for you and then think carefully about when you’ll use them.

  1. Take time to get support from people who understand your experiences on Togetherall. Get ideas, get support, or create your own group of friends to support each other during the holiday season.
  2. Take a nap
  3. Go for a walk alone in a favorite location or walk with someone who helps you feel better
  4. Plan to meditate in a way that works for you and will help you to feel calm and gain perspective.

Remember to allow yourself to be in the moment

Rather than comparing your experiences, feelings and relationships to others’, allow yourself to be present in your life without judgement.

Be realistic about the holidays and plan ahead if you think you might experience complicated emotions.

The holidays can be wonderful, happy, complicated, and stressful.

If you feel like you need a safe space to talk with others who understand, try Togetherall; a free, safe anonymous online community where you can give and get support from others.

Information provided by: Chief Clinical Officer of Togetherall, Dr. Ben Locke

Estranged Students content

Estranged Students

Estranged Students

Supporting estranged students in higher education (

An advice centre for students who have no contact with their family. Find information about support, financing your studies and accommodation options as an estranged student.

The Christmas period can be challenging for people who have become estranged from their family or children.

This guide is intended to help you with some of the most common festive frustrations and give you an idea of how others in our community cope with the season... 

Information for parents content

Information for parents

Information for parents

Some activities for under 13s 

With concerns about money here is a great blog to read for parents tips on supporting children's wellbeing in the cost of living crisis

Student minds have created a guide for parents about money and mental health 

Students who are Carers content

Students who are Carers

Students who are Carers

Carer Support Line 01463 723560

Connecting Carers Office 01463 723575


Connecting Carers - Connecting Carers & Connecting Young Carers

Care experienced students content

Care experienced students

Care experienced students

Who Cares? Scotland helpline will remain open between 12-4pm Monday-Friday through the holiday period and can be accessed either by calling 0330 107 7540 or emailing

Advocacy support will still be available however due to members of the Highland team taking time off over the fortnight the best way for students to get in touch would be to contact Head Office on 0141 226 4441 who will direct the call to the advocate on-call.

Barnardo's have confirmed that they will have on-call support over the festive period apart from the 25th – 26th December / 1st – 2nd of January. Care experienced young people can contact them for emotional and practical supports such as food parcels, help with heating costs etc 01463 751206.

Money Advice content

Money Advice

Money Advice

Get useful hints, tips and support with the cost of living

Your local Citizen's Advice Bureau (external link)
Payplan (external link) 0800 716239
National Debtline (external link) 0808 8084000
Business debtline (external link)

Money Advice Service (external link) 0300 500 5000

StepChange (external link) 0800 138 1111

Citizens Advice Bureau
The Citizens Advice service helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free, impartial, independent and confidential advice.

Telephone: 0808 800 9060

Find your local bureau (external link)
Get free advice (external link)

Welfare support
Are you missing out on benefits you might be entitled to, or needing support with money matters or personal budgeting advice? Get in touch for free confidential help and advice.

Telephone: 0800 090 1004


Safety Information content

Safety Information

Safety Information

As the festive season begins and we find ourselves busier than ever, it is important to consider your personal safety.  From securing your home, and taking care when out socialising, to protecting yourself when online, Police Scotland have created a range of advice to help you enjoy the festive season safely. 

More safety information and tips can be found on the Highlands and Island Police Division Facebook page or on the Police Scotland webpage.

Self-care in winter content

Self-care in winter

Self-care in winter

“Practicing gratitude is how we acknowledge that there’s enough and that we’re enough.” —BRENÉ BROWN

Have you tried our uhi wellbeing bingo?

Have you looked at your positives lately?

NHS Highland leaflet about self care in winter.