Christmas Day is often thought of as a time when people spend time with family or loved ones, but for some this is not possible.  This could be due to family circumstances, ill health, finances or personal choice.  Whatever the reason, below are some suggestions of activities you can do over the Christmas period that can be done alone or with company and don't require extra cash.

1. Visit local parks and nature reserves
Getting out off the house and filling your lungs with some fresh air can be really invigorating and uplifting.  You can find local parks and gardens either through visiting your library or tourist information centre or by searching on Parks and Gardens website.  Going outdoors for a walk will also give you some exercise, get you out in the sunshine and offer some opportunities to see other people.

2. Arts and crafts
Creative activities can be a fun way to pass some time.  You can either try your hand at some drawing and take a sketch pad and pencils out to a park or waterway or you can draw something at home by either creating a still life, copying a picture from a book or online or drawing something from your imagination.  Adult colouring books have also become incredibly popular in the last year and these can offer a good alternative to someone who doesn't feel confident in their drawing skills.  They can be picked up at most stationery or discount stores along with some coloured pencils and they can be a really relaxing activity.  You can also find images online by searching for 'adult colouring pictures'.

If you would prefer something craftier then there are lots of choice of crafting activities out there.  You could try a small knitting or crochet project, card making, sewing, embroidery or cross stitch or making some beaded jewellery.  Pinterest is a excellent place to search for tutorials or inspiration. 

3. Reading or listen to an audiobook
Curling up with a good book and a warm drink is a low cost and relaxing activity you could do over the holiday period.  If you don't have anything on your bookshelves that grabs your attention then and you have a Kindle or Amazon's free Kindle app installed on your phone or tablet, you could search Amazons range of Kindle books.  There are lots of free and low cost books available and you can download them straight away.  If you don't enjoy reading then you could visit Libravox and search for an audiobook to listen to.  The website is free to use and there are thousands of books to chose from.  Libravox also have an app that is available for free for both Apple and Android devices.

4. Listen or watch some television, radio or podcasts
If you enjoy watching television there should be plenty of festive programmes on over the Christmas period.  If you don't like what is on TV then the radio can provide a great alternative.  Another option is to search for podcasts you can listen to.  You can either do this via an app on your phone or tablet or see what is available through your computer. 

5. Relaxation
Take advantage of having a day free and use the time to relax and unwind.  Christmas can be a stressful period for many people, even those who enjoy it, so taking some time to consciously slow down and do something calming can be beneficial both physically and mentally.  You could try some guided relaxation or meditation exercises either using a website, such as free mindfulness, or you could download an app for your phone or tablet.  There are lots to chose from, such as Buddhify, which I have reviewed here.

Alternatively you could play some relaxing music and have a soak in a warm bath with some bubble bath or a few drops of a relaxing essential oil, such as lavender, chamomile or rosemary.  You could also make yourself a relaxing, herbal tea and sip this while you relax. If you don't have any relaxing music to hand you could visit and listen to birdsong, and listen to one of their rain tracks or and listen to one of their radio stations such as chillout, classical or ambient.

6. Faith groups and religious activities
If you identify with a religion then you could find out what activities your local faith groups are providing over the Christmas period.  These can provide an opportunity to connect with others who share your beliefs and help you to feel part of something bigger than yourself. 

7. Play a game, do some puzzles or a jigsaw
Playing games can be enjoyable and does not need to cost money.  If you are seeing others over the festive period then you could play a card game or board game.  If you don't have any plans then you could invest in a few puzzle books or a good jigsaw.  You can also do these activities through your computer and there are lots of apps available for both Android and Apple devices.

8. Online communities
If you are spending time alone over Christmas and you have access to a computer then there are lots of online communities that you can join in with and connect with others.  Many of the major, mental health charities offer internet forums where people can chat and access support.  If you are not familiar with these kind of forums it's always good to check what guidance they offer to new members and if the groups are moderated or unmoderated.  Moderated groups can often feel safer if you are new to using internet forums. 

There are also lots of other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that allow people to connect with friends and family and meet new people.  Be mindful when chatting online that you take care of yourself and that you only reveal what you feel comfortable sharing.  Also, while most people are friendly, there are some who are not and use these spaces to be unkind.  For more information and advice on dealing with these kind of situations visit Bullying UK and their page on cyber bullying or Minds leaflet on online safety.

Remember if you are struggling over the Christmas period there is still support that can be accessed.  Charities such as the Samaritans, Sane, No Panic and Silverline all offer telephone support on Christmas Day.  For a full list of services offering support to people struggling with mental ill health check out this factsheet.  Also statutory health services will operate out of hours and emergency services so visit here to find out more information.