Christmas Survival Guide

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Although Christmas is a time of celebration, there’s just no getting away from the fact that for many people this time of year is incredibly tough.

Like all significant occasions, when you're having a hard time, Christmas inevitably makes that worse.  Perhaps it reminds you of a time in years gone by that will forever be associated with bad memories and emotions.  If so, then no matter how hard you try to shake it off, it will remain with you, if anything heightened by the festive season.

Mental health issues, family, work or money worries are all responsibilities that can seem far greater than any one person’s ability and they can become even more overwhelming at Christmas.

Sharing problems often helps.

PLUS is a local charity led by people who have used mental health services. They’ve put together a handy wallet sized card which offers practical tips on how to cope with the added stresses the festive season brings and provides telephone numbers for when extra help is needed.

They've kindly shared here on Small City and we would be grateful to anyone who might share it on. You never know who you might help this Christmas.


Plan ahead: Break down bigger jobs into a smaller more manageable size such as buying one or two presents at a time or cooking some food in advance and freezing it. Don’t try to do everything at once.

Share your worries about Christmas: The chances are that you will know other people who are going to find it stressful. Why not agree to meet or talk on the phone? Sharing problems often helps, and you’ll be assured that what you’re feeling is perfectly normal.

Avoid spending money you don’t have: Avoiding overloading yourself with debt will prevent money worries and associated stress into the New Year. Remember Gifts of time and love are the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.

Help Someone: Go make someone else’s life better, and watch what happens to yours. Small random acts of kindness like wishing those waiting in long queues a “Merry Christmas” can add smiles to tired faces – and chase away any lurking Christmas blues.

Small random acts of kindness like wishing those waiting in long queues a “Merry Christmas” can add smiles to tired faces.

Hold on to your sense of humour. Don’t take it all too seriously, loosen up and enjoy the wellbeing effects that lots of laughter brings.

Get enough sleep Lack of sleep is one sure way of becoming grumpy and in a bad mood. Try to maintain a good sleep routine and you will feel miles better for it.

Make the most of your extra time at home to de-clutter: De-cluttering tends to have a therapeutic effect on the brain. Why not use any excess time you have to get rid of clutter and make yourself feel good at the same time.

Get Up, Get Dressed, Get Out! Oversleeping, staying in bed, undressed, un-showered can cause you to feel down and lethargic. So stop the cycle. Get up. Clean up, go somewhere and do something. Anything. (Maybe allow yourself one pyjama day!)

Remember things change If you are having a difficult time tell yourself that things change and will not always be as hard as they are right now.

Celebrate the Season with Forgiveness Give the gift of forgiveness. And here’s the surprise: You will llikely benefit the most from forgiving than the person you forgive.

Drink in Moderation: Drinking too much alcohol at Christmas to deal with problems will only make things worse. It’s best to drink in moderation and avoid binges.

Remember the message of Christmas is one of hope: Try to observe the season and the spirituality. Take each day as it comes and try to focus on the real meaning of Christmas, the season of Goodwill.

Useful Contacts

The Samaritans 01738 116 123


National Debtline:                                         0808 808 4000

P&K Crisis Grant:                                          01738 476900

At the end of your tether? The free Crisis Help app will direct you to the right sources of help for your situation. Search for ‘Money Worries? Find the right help in a crisis’ on the Apple or Google app stores.


Christmas is a special time for celebration and should not end in tragedy because of the extra hazards that are present at this time of year.

Visit the Fire Service website> for advice on how to stay safe in the festive season.

For a free home fire safety visit contact Perth fire station on 01738 452103.


The Silver Line – helpline for older people:   0800 4 70 80 90

P&K Access team for crisis:                         0345 30 111 20

P&K Emergency Homelessness:                   0800 917 0708

NHS24:                                                      111

National Domestic Abuse Helpline:                0808 2000 247

Emergency Services:                                   999

National Rape Crisis Helpline:                        08088 01 03 02 (6-pm - 12 midnight nightly)


Breathing Space confidential helpline:          0800 83 85 87 (6pm - 2am)

Alcoholics Anonymous:                               0800 9177 650

Parent Line Helpline:                                   0800 0282 233 (10am - 1pm)

Drinkline Helpline:                                      0800 7314 314

Narcotics Anonymous UK:                           0300 999 1212

LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline*:                  0800 999 5428

Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre:                   01738 630965


Chemist Opening Hours:                              0800 22 44 88

Perth Citizens Advice Bureau:                      01738 450580

Police Scotland (non emergency):                101

NHS Inform                                                0800 22 44 88

*LGBT: Mon - Fri 10am-5pm, Wed & Thurs Web Chat 5pm - 8pm

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