When you have an extended period of free time it can become very easy for your days to loose structure or meaning.  Sometimes this free time is a choice and other times it is imposed on us, either through personal circumstances such as ill health or disability, or through an external situation like redundancy.  Filling the time with activities that feel meaningful to you can help your days maintain structure, reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness and help to build confidence and learn new skills.  Below are some ideas of activities you could do to help fill your time. 

1. Learn a new skill
There are lots of ways you can develop new skills without spending out lots of money.  Local libraries are often good places to learn about local training courses.  Many colleges also offer a reduced cost for training courses if you are on a low income or not working.  You can also learn new skills by joining online training sites.  Coursera is a popular site offering a broad range of training opportunities on a diverse range of subjects.  The courses are also all free of charge.  All you need is access to a computer and an internet connection.

2.  Volunteer
Volunteering can be an excellent way to build up work experience in a chosen field.  It can also help build confidence and develop a real sense of purpose.  Many charities place enormous value on their volunteers and will often offer training and reasonable travel expenses.  Volunteering can take many different forms ranging from administration work, working with animals, helping out in museum, supporting people with disabilities, gardening, delivering leaflets, shop work and much more.  Learn about local voluntary positions through signing up with Do It or visiting your local CVS (Community Volunteer Service).   If you don't want to make a commitment to one organization you could also look into joining your local time bank

3.  Get Active
Taking up a sport of physical activity like gardening can really help fill you days, improve your mental and physical well being and meet new people.  Keep an eye out at your local library, church/faith organization or schools and colleges for activities you can join.  If you are on a tight budget look out for activities that use free resources such as walking groups.  If you have a health condition that would benefit from you becoming more active speak to your local GP surgery.  They may run a scheme where you can be referred to a local gym or exercise group and these are generally subsidized or free of charge. 

4.  Explore Your Local Area
A visit to your local library, tourist information office or a search of the internet will help you to find out the interesting places in your local area that you can visit.  Most cities and towns have museums and often these are free of charge to local residents or charge a small entrance fee.  Other places to visit include parks and nature reserves, monuments, sites of natural beauty and art galleries. 

5.  Get Creative
Taking up a creative hobby can be a fun way to learn a new skill or build on existing skills.  It can be good for building confidence, be an outlet for your feelings and help you to unwind.  Creative pastimes can also be incredibly absorbing and very satisfying.  Even if you don't feel you are artistic or musical just doing an activity for the fun of doing it can be very enjoyable.  You will also improve your skills over time and with practice.  There are many free resources available to help you on your way so it can also be a very low cost way of filling some time.  Websites such as instructables and youtube offer a wealth of tutorials

You can also check out our useful links section for more information on services available.