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How to tackle homesickness

How to tackle homesickness
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Homesickness can be hard, and can often leave you feeling distressed, isolated, lonely and upset. However, it is completely natural and should be something that is expected from your first year at university, when the fresher’s wave is over, it can leave a rather unusual feeling behind. Despite the troubles of homesickness, it can be dealt with and controlled, with various coping strategies affective in either lessening the effects of the feeling, or completely removing it all together.

#1 Try not to blame yourself

None of this is really your fault, it’s just your bodies’ natural response to being parted from loved ones, alongside being placed in an unfamiliar environment, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Talk to your friends, you will often find that they will have experienced some form of homesickness tendencies as well. It is very common, chatting to people and realising that you are not the only one feeling these emotions can be a good experience.

#2 Next, phone the people you miss

Give your family a call, ask them about their day and just generally have a good old chat with them, it will be a great distraction and hearing about home comforts is bound to make you feel better.

#3 Don’t sit around in your room

When you feel homesick, it is very easy to simply sit around your room doing nothing and just plain panicking and upsetting yourself. Get outside, go for a walk, watch a movie with friends, go for a drink and a chat with your friends or a have a nap. Doing something, whatever it is, will distract you from your thoughts.

#4 Make university feel like home

Another great way to help with easing homesickness feelings is to do a bit of home decoration. Making your bedroom an enticing and homely place to be will make you feel much more comfortable and relaxed. Adding home comforts, such as photos of friends and family, familiar smells such as candles from home or perfume and making your bed look cosy with throws and pillows will work to make the room feel enticing and welcoming.

#5 Do the things that you enjoyed doing at home

Try to do the things that you love to do at home, at university. For example, if your loved going for a walk in the evening with your family, head out for a walk after lunch with friends or by yourself. If everyone at home usually gathers around the television to watch The Great British Bake Off for example, then watch it at university as well and phone your family for a debrief! This may sound strange, but it will make you feel better and allow you to feel much more connected to home again.

#6 Exercise and self care!

Get exercising, it’s a great way to get yourself out and to stop those feeling of anxiety from homesickness. Exercise also releases endorphins- and these make you feel good. Always remember to take care of yourself. Self care is rarely addressed and it is honestly one of the best ways to have some time to yourself, to relax, reflect and to get all your energy back. To relieve stress, maybe have a pamper evening, or invite a few friends round for a movie, do some colouring, drawing, reading or writing or watch your favourite childhood movie. Buy your favourite food and just really focus on yourself, it’s not selfish, it’s needed, and it will help to diminish some of those homesick feelings of stress.

#7 Write stuff down

A great way to cope with feelings of homesickness is to write down how you are feeling, you can look back on them further into university, to hopefully see how far you have come.

#8 Stay busy

Immerse yourself into university life and keep yourself busy with your chosen course, remind yourself why you wanted to come to university in the first place. As soon as you start appreciating your course and just how interesting and tailored to you it is, the homesickness will fade.

#9 Get out of your comfort zone

Join new societies and get yourself up and out of your comfort zone. Plunging yourself into a new and exciting environment will lessen your homesick feelings. Societies can be so much fun and there is bound to be one out there for everyone, from the pirate society through the cheese and wine society.

#10 Be brave

Finally, be brave, remind yourself that you are at university for a reason, you want to be there and you want to have a good time, so don’t let homesickness stand in your way. Recognise the signs of it and don’t be scared, you can cope with it. Finally, don’t feel guilty if you don’t feel homesick! Everyone reacts differently when moving away from home, and something that might not faze you at all may be hard for others.

Elizabeth Whittingham Elizabeth is a third year history student studying at The University of Manchester.

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