Homesickness. It can creep up on us when we don’t expect it. For some, it is inevitable. For those of us who are lucky enough, it steers clear. The best way to tackle being homesick is to admit to it, shake the stigma and utilize the tools available.
What is Homesickness?
The feeling of homesickness can feel like a never-ending plague on your ability to settle in and have a good time. Getting to terms with the clinical psychology of that feeling can help us to understand and overcome that feeling. Published psychologist Tamar Chansky explains that homesickness is just a period of adjustment. Thus, it won’t last for a long time. Viewing it as such takes away that daunting feeling associated with missing home. The good news with homesickness is that unlike other mental health issues it is rarely caused by biological abnormalities.
If you are experiencing homesickness alongside other symptoms, then it may be a part of a wider picture, however, if it something you’re experiencing in isolation then there is a lot you can do to overcome it.
Homesickness is triggered by the feeling of unfamiliarity and the unknown. Therefore, the best way to tackle it is to begin to build new links and do everything you can to feel at home in your new surroundings. This can involve finding places in Cardiff you like. Examples being, coffee shops or outdoor spaces. Quench Food and Drink section has a huge amount of recommendations and tips for finding special places around the city.
Overcoming mental obstacles is easier said than done. Consequently, it is not surprising that when we are feeling down, the last thing that we want to do is get out of bed and socialise. However, this is something that will make a huge difference in our mood long term. Making good friends at university can really help to banish that feeling of missing home. Friends can be found: in your flat, at sports clubs, in lectures or in societies. It is never too late to sign up for things and you will meet people at every stage of your university life. The hardest step is the first one, especially if you are not in the best mindset but proving to yourself you can overcome those negative feelings and meeting people while doing so will do wonders for the way you view your situation.
Technology is your Friend
It is also important to remember that, despite the criticism and obvious issues associated with social media and our phones, in this situation, they are a blessing. Facetime, phone calls and instant messages are all valuable tools you can utilize to contact those you miss. There is no shame in calling home every day if that is something that helps you. The same applies to contacting your friends from home. Nobody is going to feel burdened or frustrated if you stay in regular contact. In fact, in most cases, it will be something that they appreciate.
You are not Alone
The worst thing you can do is suffer in silence as it will cause a build-up of anxiety. Along these lines, it is also helpful to speak to your friends at university about it. Chances are they will be going through similar issues and normalising how you feel will help to alleviate some of the struggles associated with homesickness.
It goes without saying that staying busy will also reduce some of those symptoms. Make plans as often as you can to keep your mind off things. These can be as little as making dinner with your flatmate or as big as a trip to Barry Island for the day. Of course, alone time is important but the more you do the less time you have to spiral into a bad mindset.
Home is Just a Journey Away
Finally, you can go home. However far away you live it is just a matter of hours until you will be home. Sometimes this can seem unrealistic or difficult but if it is for the sake of your mental health and your happiness there is no sacrifice too big. If you are going to miss lectures, email ahead to get work and catch up but the likelihood is that going home will help you in the long run. A good aim to set if you feel you’re struggling is every other weekend. This way you can still spend time with your university friends and develop those bonds, however, you have a definitive end date which you can look forward to. This will help to subdue those feelings of separation and if it gets difficult you can count down the days.
Being homesick is OK. Knowing this will help you to overcome it. You are capable of improving your mood and that if it does all get too much then there is no shame or problem in going home.