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Staying in Sheffield over Christmas?

Wooden huts lit up with Christmas lights at Sheffield Christmas Market

Whilst many students will be choosing to return to their family home over Christmas, many will also be staying in the City, sometimes alone. Whether this is by choice or circumstance, it is important to know that you are not alone and there are many others in the same boat. Whilst for some it may be a relief to enjoy some peace and quiet, it's inevitable that at least at times, loneliness may start to set in.

Why do we feel more alone at Christmas?

Due to the commercialisation of the Christmas holiday, many of us can get wrapped up in the in the concept of taking part in the 'perfect Christmas', filled with lots of gifts, amazing food and coming together with our friends and family.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone due to complications such as bereavement, living far from family, social isolation, social anxiety disorder and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Tips for overcoming loneliness at Christmas

  1. Say 'YES' - it is never too late to accept invitations you previously turned down. This is a common theme seen with social anxiety disorder
  2. Volunteer - research some volunteering opportunities in Sheffield over the holidays, allowing you to connect with others and boost your self esteem
  3. Create your perfect Christmas - plan out how YOU want to spend Christmas. It does not have to be a mirror of the public perception
  4. Try something new - why not spend Christmas trying new activities such as visiting a new place or testing out your cooking skills?

Things to do in Sheffield over Christmas

  1. Visit the Sheffield Christmas Market
  2. Volunteer in the city with our Volunteering Opportunities or Volunteer Centre Sheffield
  3. Explore the city - Sheffield is full of surprises for you to discover
  4. Visit the Peak District - take advantage of the proximity to the Peak District
  5. Take a look at 'What's on' in Sheffield over Christmas

If you're at a loose end this Christmas and really don't know what to do with yourself, there's loads of little things you can do to pass either a few minutes or a few hours, including:

  • Self-guided walks
  • Simple workouts
  • Arts and crafts
  • Breathing exercises
  • Online cocktail classes
  • Must-read books
  • Podcasts

Visit our Give it a Go resources for more inspiration.

Ways to be mindful

  1. Mindfulness exercise - mindful breathing, mindful walking
  2. Go easy on others and yourself - do not overwork yourself and be kind to others
  3. Take a break from social media - it can be overwhelming at times
  4. Give back to others - positively impact other people's lives
  5. Look after yourself - ensure you are sleeping, eating and exercising properly

Need further support over the Christmas period? Concerned about yourself, a family member or friend?

  • Nightline - Nightline is a student-run, confidential and anonymous non-advisory listening and information service. Whilst Nightline's phonelines are closed until 16th January, their fully trained team will be monitoring emails over the Christmas period. To get in contact, email Nightline.
  • Togetherall - Togetherall is a safe, online community where people support each other anonymously to improve mental health and wellbeing. Online resources include community forums, courses, assessments and mindfulness exercises, which can all be accessed by visiting Togetherall's website.
  • SupportLine - SupportLine is a website with various phone numbers and online support groups that deal with loneliness.
  • Samaritans - Samaritans are a charity providing immediate support to people in emotional distress, struggling to cope or at risk of suicide. As well as providing many online resources, they have a 24/7 help line for anyone who is in need of urgent support. You can find out more about Samaritans by visiting their website. For support, email Samaritans or call 116 123.
  • Emergency Services - If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call the Emergency Services on 999 or 112 from any phone.

The Hallam Support offer

Following your return to day-to-day University life in January, many of us will start to feel the pressure of getting back into the swing of studying. Along with the post-Christmas blues and limited hours of daylight, the mounting stress of upcoming exams and assessments may also begin to cause distress. It's important to know that it's okay not to be okay. You are not alone and, in addition to the above resources, the University is on hand to offer support.

  1. Your Student Support Advisor can give you help and advice when difficulties arise that affect your ability to study. They can help you access specialist services when you need them.
  2. Your Academic Advisor will support your academic journey and performance, helping you achieve your goals and guiding you through options for further study and development.
  3. Your Employability Advisor can help you develop your career during and beyond your studies, from job searches and finding relevant placements to CV writing and interview preparation.

You can find out more information by visiting Hallam Help, in person or online.