7 tips to battle homesickness

Homesickness is an affliction that is too often only associated with children going through the transition into their teens - someting that usually flares up during a first sleepover in new surrondings away from the family home. But homesickness is also rife among new students embarking on their university careers.

Signs of homesickness:

  • Loss of concentration
  • Crying and sadness
  • Difficulties in sleeping or eating
  • Waves of emotion
  • Disrupted menstrual cycle
  • Nausea, headaches or dizziness
  • Trembling, and feeling either too hot or too cold

It often can only last for a week or two, but unviersity can be an unforgiving place at times so we thought we'd give you a few tips and techniques to help you cope.

1. Pack some of your favourite things

It will be easier to beat your homesickness if you've packed some of your favourite things in advance. You are going to be away from home for a while (at lesst a few weeks) so having something that reminds you of home or a few home comforts will definitely help.

2. Keep busy

You'll almost certainly feel at your worst when you're alone in your room and only left with your thoughts. Try to keep your door wedged open when you are relaxing, leaving the option open to your hall mates to come and talk to you. Offering to make a cup of tea for your new hall mates is always a good way of starting a conversation and can earn you some valuable brownie points.

3. Phone home regularly, but not too often

It can be tempting when you are missing home to spend every evening on the phone speaking to your loved ones. Keep in regular contact with home through texts and short phone calls, but long phone calls every day can often make you feel worse. Remember this is the start of a new stage of your life, so make the most of it and enjoy your new surroundings.

4. Talk to other people about how you're feeling

Chances are the people around you are feeling exactly the same way. If you're feeling homesick, be honest and tell your new friends or hall mates that you're feeling down. It can be a comfort to know that you aren't alone, and opening up to people will strengthen your new friendships too.

5. Set a date for when you're visiting home and stick to it

If you're feeling really homesick it may be tempting to run home at the first opportunity, but the first few weekends of uni are when friends are made and you really settle in. If possible, set a date a few weeks into term to visit home or for your family to visit you.

6. Don't give up

It might be tempting to think about leaving, beg your parents to come and pick you up, or even quit your course altogether. It's never going to be easy leaving home for the first time, but you should do your best to at least stick it out for the first week or two. Try to avoid making a snap decision in your first week.

7. Remember that things will get better

The first few weeks might feel like a terrible struggle, but once you settle down and get used to living away, you'll probably wonder what all the fuss was about.

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