This time of year is often hard. A new year brings with it thoughts of what we want to change in our lives, meanwhile the short days and long nights have a marked physiological impact. All of this close on the heels of the hectic festive season can feel a little overwhelming.

So how do we take time out when we need it the most? Even a short ‘breathing space’ can make a big difference. Ask yourself what you need in that moment – it’s different things for different people. Is it getting some fresh air, finding a quite place for a cuppa or using your favourite app for a short meditation? Allowing yourself to have a breather and being kind to yourself can go a long way.

Beating those winter blues can involve some surprisingly small and simple things working together to lift your mood. Keeping active probably comes top of the list, even a 15-minute walk and getting some natural daylight releases ‘happy hormones’. Making healthy choices and getting your five-a-day when all you want is reach for your favourite comfort food can also make you feel good. Talking to someone about how you are feeling can also be helpful.

Remember VOCAL is here for you if you need someone to talk to: as well as our free carer support our COSCA recognised counselling service is available to carers living in Edinburgh or Midlothian, with financial contributions agreed at a level to suit your individual circumstances.

VOCAL Midlothian in partnership with Anam Cara to deliver a series of Caring Well workshops throughout 2020 supporting carers to explore and enhance their own wellbeing and provide techniques and strategies to support with:
  • Dealing with guilt and resentment
  • Recognising our triggers and where they come from
  • Changing negative thoughts and behaviours
  • Living and happier and braver lives

Workshops will be running throughout 2020 with the first series planned for the 21st January, 4th February and 25th February. Contact the Midlothian Carer Support team on 0131 663 6869 or email to find out more.

If one of your goals for the new year is taking a little more time for yourself why not hop over to our breaks hub at You’ll find advice on where to start, ideas for short breaks and options for longer ones as well as some of the funding that’s available to support you getting a breather.

And don’t forget about our year-round carer training programme with a wide range of free courses on offer for carers throughout 2020. Some of the New Year highlights aimed at beating the winter blues include:

  • New Year, New You
  • Seated Exercise
  • Introduction to Yoga
  • Stress Management
  • Basic Aromatherapy
  • Laughter Yoga

You can find out about all our courses and register for any you’re interested in on our training hub at or call your local Carer Support team on 0131 622 6666 (Edinburgh) or 0131 663 6869 (Midlothian).