Moving to a new country or city is a really exciting time for so many reasons, so it can be quite unnerving to find yourself missing home. But we’re here to tell you that homesickness at university is a perfectly normal reaction to a big life change. It would be easy to think it only occurs when you move far away but even if your university is only a few miles away from where you grew up, it’s totally natural and can affect anybody.
What are the symptoms of homesickness?
Homesickness is typically a feeling of stress or anxiety caused by separation from people and places that you know, symptoms include;
- A disturbed sleeping pattern.
- Feeling angry, nauseous, nervous or sad.
- Feeling isolated, lonely or withdrawn.
- Feeling overwhelmed, insecure, anxious or panicky.
- Feelings of low self-esteem or self-worth.
- A lack of appetite or concentration.
What are the best homesick remedies?
Firstly, if you feel able to, try to talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. Whether it’s a friend, parent, a councillor, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings rather than just cramming it down and hoping it will go away if you distract yourself enough. Total avoidance can be really detrimental to your mental health. Once you’ve acknowledged how you feel, there’s no reason you can’t take solace in a bit of lighthearted distraction.
- Find joy in the simple things like giving yourself an afternoon off to read a book, watch a movie or a good box set.
- Keep in touch with your friends and family, it’s easy to become a bit reclusive or immerse yourself in university life but you can balance it with regular contact with those you care about.
- Make a coffee at home, pop it in your reusable cup and go for a walk while listening to a new podcast.
- Think of all your favourite places from back home and make it your mission to find some new ones.
Whatever you decide to do, approach with mindfulness and an acknowledgement that what you’re feeling is ok. There’s a lot of pressure to make the most of every last minute of time away, but it’s important to remember that it’s fine to need a bit of time away from the hustle and bustle of student life.
How do I handle homesickness at University?
It can be a strange feeling arriving in a new place, all excited and ready for the next step but of course, it can take time before your new space starts to feel like home. Building on the steps we’ve just spoken about, there’s a few things you can do with your immediate surroundings that could help.
- Bring things into your new room that remind you of home in a way that makes you feel happy like a souvenir or print.
- Free up some space on your phone’s camera roll and get some of your favourite snaps printed out and into frames.
- Do some research on your local area; find interesting things to do or nearby green spaces to explore and get to know your new home.
- Pop the kettle on and talk to your flatmates, you may be surprised to find they’re experiencing similar feelings.
Luckily, there’s a lot of resources out there to help with homesickness and your overall mental health, it’s just a matter of finding the strategies that work for you.