One thing that a lot of freshers struggle with during their first year is homesickness. Whether or not you care to admit it, I think we all end up feeling it every now and then. No matter how many people you surround yourself with in that first year, feeling homesick is incredibly common. In fact, around 73% of students suffer from it. So, when we think about how to deal with homesickness, what can we do? The following tips are things I’ve discovered to be useful when it comes to feeling homesick – I hope you find them helpful!
1: Say Yes to Stuff
Take it from me, isolating yourself is one way to keep that homesickness going. During those first weeks, you’ll inevitably get invitations for nights out, freshers’ events, you name it. My advice? Accept them. By agreeing to go out with new people, you’re giving yourself the best possible chance to socialise and make new friends. Whether it’s invitation into town for a few drinks, or just a cup of tea in the kitchen, say yes and put yourself out there!
2: Take Care Of Your Health
Taking care of both your physical and mental health is so important when it comes to dealing with homesickness. Often during freshers week, both of these can get overlooked. If those feelings of homesickness lead to us feeling anxious or depressed, this can cause a weakening of our immune system, which will make us more susceptible to illnesses. In particular, the infamous freshers flu. Ensuring that you eat healthily, get enough sleep, and drink plenty of water will go towards keeping your physical health in check. As for your mental health, it’s important to check in with how you’re feeling every couple of days to acknowledge any feelings of anxiety. Remember, feeling homesick is completely normal, so don’t be too hard on yourself! Your university will also have mental health support services available for students too, so if you’re really struggling, remember that help is available for you.
3: Keep Busy
While you don’t want to keep yourself so busy that you end up stressed and overtired, planning things to look forward to will help keep your spirits up. I used to find that my homesickness would get worse when I was bored, because I would end up overthinking things and focusing on how crappy I was feeling. Plan things to do with your housemates, or even look at doing some volunteer work if you have some spare time. Getting out there and doing stuff will keep your mind occupied, and you may even make a few new friends in the process.
4: Call Home, But Not Too Much
While this one is pretty debatable, I personally think calling home once in a while is okay. While you don’t want to be on the phone to your parents every single day, scheduling in a regular phone call or two is perfectly fine. Especially if it helps to ease off any homesickness and give you a little comfort. For the whole three years that I was at uni, my Mum would call me twice a week. It meant that we could regularly check in with each other, and if I was having a particularly crappy time, it was nice to know I had a phone call at the end of it to make it okay.
5: Don’t Fret Too Much Over Social Media
This was one of the things I struggled with the most. When you’re already feeling homesick, there’s nothing worse than logging onto Facebook and seeing the good times that your friends back home are having without you. Every time I saw a post where my home friends were out having fun, it was a like a massive punch in the stomach. It felt as though they were rubbing it directly in my face. However, what you need to realise is that life goes on – just because they’re having a good time without you, it doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten you. No matter how much you see it that way, them posting it on Facebook isn’t an attack on you at all. When you’re feeling down, it’s hard to accept that, but it’s the truth. If you really struggle, look at limiting your social media use and maybe even adjust your feed settings so you can avoid seeing those sorts of posts for a while.
6: Take Time Out When You Need It
While I previously mentioned saying yes to stuff and keeping busy, it’s still important to make a little time for yourself when you need it. Schedule in a little self care at least once a week where you can curl up under your duvet watching Netflix, go to a fitness class, whatever works for you. Whether it’s a little pampering or simply spending an hour reading a book you love, make sure you pencil in some down time every now and then.