How to live independently from your family

You can still reach out to your family: Just don't depend on them, depend on yourself. Source: Ian Dooley (via Unsplash)

By Kaiya Simon

Whether it’s moving out, going to university or going on a girls holiday, I’m sure everyone has felt homesick at least once in their lives. Although it’s a personal experience, and people don’t often feel comfortable speaking about it, there are ways to solve or at least help the feeling of missing your family and your home during this lonely time.

A way to distract yourself is by not spending too much time in your bedroom. Speaking from experience, university bedrooms are small, dull spaces that can feel like prison cells. Therefore try and keep yourself busy by going to your lectures or to work and study elsewhere instead of your room. You could branch out further by doing extracurricular activities like joining a society. For the time you do spend in your room, make it feel homely by filling it with the things you love as there is nothing worse than a bare, empty bedroom. You can hang a tapestry, bunting and fairy lights along with adding pictures and candles to your shelves or walls. Although it might make you emotional being surrounded by pictures at first, it will make you feel less home sick and more at home.

Again, it might make you emotional for a while, but remember to take home comforts along to your new home. Whether it’s an old teddy bear or a blanket that you’ve had since birth, they will cheer you up when you’re not feeling your best. Don’t worry about someone winding you up about it because everyone has a guilty pleasure or comfort hidden somewhere.

Also, keep in touch with your loved ones- but not so much so that you’re constantly relying on them for support. A phone call, text or quick FaceTime will keep you in the loop at home but keeping in touch too much can make you feel worse. Just don’t let it get to the point where you’re communicating more with your family at home than the people you’re currently surrounded by.

Your health will also be impacted by homesickness so it shouldn’t be neglected. It’s very tempting to lie in bed all day watching Netflix, but make sure to go out for a walk or a run fairly regularly, just to keep active and have some fresh air. It might also be a good distraction to explore new surroundings to get used to your new town or city. If in university, you’re only there for a few years so do some sightseeing or volunteering in the community to distract yourself but also familiarise yourself with your new surroundings.

Moving away is hard but following these tips will make a big difference to settling in. Don’t forget that there are also services available if you’re attending university which are free to access if homesickness is affecting your mental health. Just check in with student services to find out more.

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