Lots of us have found ourselves spending the festive period alone this year. This may feel tough if it's not how you would choose to spend this time, whether it's because of the pandemic or for other reasons.
The tips below may help to make it a little easier. Some of them might work for you, but not others. Try not to put pressure on yourself to do anything you're uncomfortable with:
Take some time to make where you live feel like a nice environment. This could be putting up decorations or extra photographs, or setting some time aside to tidy up.
Plan to enjoy your favourite food or drink on Christmas or New Years. This could be a special breakfast or some interesting soft drinks. It could be a good excuse not to eat traditional festive food.
Spend the time doing things you enjoy. For example, this could be taking a morning jog, playing video games or doing puzzles. Or it could be having a hot bath with a good book, or a lie-in wearing your favourite pyjamas.
"I'm going to be on my own at Xmas. I have plans for a walk in the morning, followed by roast chicken dinner, followed by tapestry and rest, then either a film or bath. I'm determined to enjoy the day despite being alone."
Connect with people. If there are people you'd like to speak to, you could arrange to talk over the phone or via video call. If you're worried about what to talk about, you could organise an activity to do at the same time. For example, this could be watching a film together or doing a quiz.
Go online. There are lots of ways to talk to people online, including with others who may be spending Christmas alone. Mind's online community Side by Side is a welcoming place to speak with others and share your experiences. And British comedian Sarah Millican hosts a Christmas day chat on Twitter each year, which anyone can join.
Engage with your local community. Some local events, like Christmas dinner meet-ups for people who are usually alone, might not be able to happen. But you may be able to find digital events organised for where you live. For example, this may be a live stream of a church service or virtual pub quiz.
"I’m not sure if I'm going to be alone for Christmas or not this year. If I am, I'll probably Skype with my mum, watch movies and just try to not think too much about it."
You may decide not to mark the festivities this year, and just treat them as if it's any other day. This may feel easier than trying to celebrate alone. It's completely understandable if you feel this way. These are some ideas which may help:
Let others know your plan. It might help to say that you're happy to hear from them on Christmas day or New Years. But they can also support you by treating it like any other day and not mentioning Christmas.
If you are planning to give any gifts, you could exchange your gifts in advance, so you don’t have to worry about it on the day.
Stay off social media and try to avoid adverts on TV or online. If you have any phone apps which might show Christmas content, you could turn off notifications for the day.
Eat foods you'd usually eat on a weekday, rather than traditional Christmas food.
Watch a TV series or film that isn't Christmas-related.
Do your usual housework and chores.
Go to bed at your usual time.
"My biggest tip I tell everyone is don't be afraid not to celebrate Christmas, don't feel obligated to do things you don't enjoy. You can make your own traditions."
If you're finding things hard during the coronavirus pandemic or struggling with your mental wellbeing, these pages from National Mind may help:
coronavirus and your wellbeing, including tips for taking care of your wellbeing during the winter months