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Here for U... Christmas isn’t always the most wonderful time of the year Not everyone loves Christmas, for lots of different reasons – and that’s ok!

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Sad puppies wearing Christmas hats

Here for U... Christmas isn’t always the most wonderful time of the year

Not everyone loves Christmas, for lots of different reasons – and that’s ok!

We know how difficult the last 22 months have been, and want to help you make the most of this festive period, especially if you are staying at university over the Winter break. Campus will be a lot quieter and some services will be closed for a while, which we know can feel a bit isolating. But remember - these feelings are normal, and there are some things you can try to make the most of this time and enjoy your break!

Here's some suggestions that we have for you!

Keep Busy

Yes, we know this is a VERY generic answer, but it can be a simple way to stay upbeat! Having a daily structure will help you to maintain mood and energy levels whilst giving you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction instead of allowing yourself to slug out and feeling the opposite. Things like cleaning your room, taking long walks, doing some exercise or even studying, will help you feel that sense of achievement!


Another way to keep busy is to volunteer at a local or Christmas charity. By doing something positive, not only will you have a sense of achievement, but you will feel like a million dollars knowing you have made a positive difference to someone’s life. By volunteering you will become more in touch with other people and give you a sense of purpose that you will not find anywhere else.

Here are a couple of local charities you can volunteer with Find volunteering opportunities - Volunteer EdinburghSearch results – Volunteer Scotland


It's important to remember that you are not alone and there will be other students who are still on campus. If restrictions allow, try planning socially distanced meet ups or see what free online events are happening via websites such as Eventbrite. Also make sure to stay in contact with your friends and family who aren’t on campus by scheduling regular calls!

Join our Facebook group for Christmas on Campus 2021 and connect with other students who are spending Christmas on campus this year!

Physical Activity

Here’s the deal, we know it’s cold and we know some gyms can be expensive, but even just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (walking, slow cycling, household chores) or 15 minutes of vigorous activity (running, swimming, cycling fast, sports) has shown to improve mood, help cognitive function and overall help you feel better mentally and physically. There are many ways to be physically active, so try not think of it as “exercise” like running laps or lifting heavy weights. As mentioned, chores or walking may not turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it can definitely make you feel better!


At the end of the day, you can do what you want when you want, without pressure from anyone else so why not treat yourself? This doesn’t have to cost a lot of money but, you could indulge yourself with something special. Examples could be cooking yourself a nice meal, something you've always wanted to try but never got round to, watching a movie series, a TV show or reading a new book. Anything to help yourself get lost for a few hours every day. Just because you’re not feeling festive doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice time! 

Seek support

Finally, please take care of yourself and reach out if you’re not feeling well.

Remember the university offers support through its Wellbeing Services Student Wellbeing Services - Heriot-Watt University (, but there is also our Advice Hub The Advice Hub ( ( which is located opposite The Shop in the Hugh Nisbet Building who are always happy to help signpost you to the right place. However, It's important to note that these services will only be available until the 17th of December and won’t be back until the start of the new term. 

Below are some organisations you can phone, text or message, 24/7.

  • The Samaritans offer both phone and instant messaging support, whatever you're going through, a Samaritan will face it with you.
  • Breathing Space is NHS Scotland’s free, confidential phone and web-based service for anyone in Scotland experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety.
  • HopeLine is Papyrus’ suicide prevention hotline for anyone under the age of 35. They also offer a debrief service for anyone who is worried about someone under the age of 35.
  • Edinburgh Nightline, is a confidential and non-judgemental support and information service, run by students, for students. 
  • Togetherall  is a safe, online community where people support each other anonymously to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Big love, your Student Union x


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