10 Ways You Can Manage Feeling Homesick At Uni
Now we’re a few months into the academic year, you may have started to feel homesick.
It’s a perfectly normal experience that many students deal with, especially within their first year of university.
You’re out in the world on your own and away from all that you know from your home to your family to your friends.
It may even be that you’re in a completely different country too if you’re an international student.
Regardless of your situation, it’s valid to be feeling some stress and anxiety from being away from home.
Don’t worry if you are feeling this way, we’ve put together these 10 tips to manage feeling homesick at uni – you’ll feel much better in no time!
What Is Feeling Homesick?
Homesickness is associated with feelings of stress, anxiety and depression when you’re in a new environment away from home and things you’re familiar with.
As a student, experiencing these feelings are common, particularly in the first few months at university because you’re undergoing such a big change.
Research suggests that between 50-70% of students will feel this way, so you’re not alone.
Anyone can get homesick, whether you’re one hour away from home or ten hours away from home, it doesn’t matter how far away you are, you can still suffer with these struggles.
It can strike at any time too, you may have felt okay during fresher’s week and loving life as a first-year student, but now the feelings of homesickness have started to kick in a few months later.
Find out below what the symptoms of homesickness are, as well as ways you can manage these feelings!
What Are The Symptoms Of Homesickness?
If you think you may be experiencing homesickness but you’re not sure what the mental and physical symptoms are, find out within our next section.
Remember, feeling this way is a natural response to change and is a normal process that many other students go through.
You shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed of feeling some emotional distress whilst at uni.
- Disrupted sleeping pattern, sleeping too much or too little
- Feeling sad, lonely or helpless
- Isolated, lonely or withdrawn
- Anxious and experiencing panic attacks
- Feelings of low self-esteem or self-worth
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty concentrating on work
- Frequent mood swings
- Not feeling enjoyment in social situations
There are many other signs of homesickness that you may be dealing with which we haven’t listed.
These feelings can also result in mental health conditions such as depression, so it’s important to keep an eye on your emotions and behaviours.
If you’re struggling to cope, have a read of our 10 ways you can manage feeling homesick.
10 Ways You Can Manage Feeling Homesick
It can be difficult to know what to do when you’re feeling homesick, the answer to your prayers may seem like booking a trip home, heading home every weekend or even considering dropping out due to missing everything you’re familiar with.
However, there are other ways you can deal with these emotions.
We’ve listed our top 10 tips for managing feeling homesick at uni below.
1. Allow Yourself To Feel Your Feelings
Our first way to manage feeling homesick at uni is to allow yourself to feel exactly the way you’re feeling.
What we mean by this, is allowing yourself to be sad, frustrated, anxious or stressed.
Whilst it’s important to keep yourself busy and not spend too much time sitting alone with your thoughts so you don’t spiral, having some time to sit and focus on your feelings head on is important.
So, if you need to have a cry, or let your feelings out, then do it.
You shouldn’t be harsh on yourself and beat yourself up for feeling the way you do, spend some time thinking about how you actually feel and confront your feelings.
This way you can begin to take care of yourself and truly manage your emotions!
2. Take Care Of Yourself
Possibly one of the most vital things to do if you’re feeling homesick at uni is to take care of yourself.
As we mention earlier, homesickness can quite easily magnitude into a bigger issue of depression or anxiety if you don’t find ways to deal with these emotions.
It’s a lot more than just missing home so try to ensure that you’re taking care of your mind and body.
Some ways you can do this is by getting enough sleep of 8 hours a night, staying active, having a well-balanced diet (takeaways every night doesn’t count), staying hydrated and doing something you enjoy every day.
All these things will help boost your mood and will help you check-in with yourself.
It’s best to try and think about the ways in which you feel happiest, or at ease, and incorporate these coping strategies into your daily life.
We know, if you’re exhausted and feeling low, it can be difficult to take care of you, but start small and work your way up.
You may find comfort in spending time in your living space, and whilst having time to re-charge your batteries is important, don’t spend too much time indoors.
3. Connect With New People
If you’re feeling homesick, a great way to combat these feelings is through getting involved in new things and connecting with new people.
You may miss the people you have at home whether it’s your family, friends or your significant other, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have new people in your life.
Perhaps you feel like you haven’t really met anyone you connect with, or they don’t compare to people you already know.
The best thing to do is not compare your new friendships with any existing ones, as they’re completely different.
Friendships take time to build so of course you’re going to feel a stronger connection to people at home.
You need to try giving other people a chance and attempt to try and spark friendships with new people.
Remember that everyone is in the same position, and as we discussed, a lot of students experience homesickness.
So, you’ll probably find some of your uni mates are in the same boat as you.
It can be daunting to try and make new friends sometimes, however, try to push yourself out of your comfort zone and make the effort to spark up conversations whether it’s with people in your student accommodation or on campus.
4. Make Your Living Space More Homely
Like they say, making a house into a home takes time.
If you’re feeling homesick at uni and you don’t feel like you belong, then try and make your living space more homely and comfortable.
Your new room is your own living space after all, so create it how you want.
It’s somewhere you’ll be spending a lot of time in, from sleeping to studying to getting ready for nights out.
It may seem like a waste making your student room all nice for a short period of time, but it’s worth it.
Whilst you can’t whip out the wallpaper and the paint, you can make your student flat feel a little bit cosier.
Some simple ways to do this include putting up some personal photos to remind you of the happy times and the people you hold dear, decorating your space with cute prints, getting some plants or adding nice lighting such as fairy lights.
5. Keep In Touch With Family & Friends
If you’re missing home and the familiar comforts, a good way to deal with these feelings is to keep in touch with your family and friends, or even your partner.
Whilst texting is a good form of communication and it’s quick and easy to send a message out, make sure that you plan some time in for a phone call or video call with those that matter to you.
Student life does get busy, and you may not have a lot of time to fit in speaking to all your nearest and dearest, but it will probably make you feel a whole lot better if you have a FaceTime chat with those that you miss.
Although, it’s important to not over-do it either, as this can make your homesickness if you have too much regular communication.
You need to have some time to focus on your new life too!
6. Keep Familiar Things Close
Whilst at uni, it’s important to still have things that remind you of home like we mentioned before about having photos of your family and friends within your living space.
There are other things you can do to create a familiar space, including bringing along some home comforts, whether it’s your favourite blanket, your mums tea towels or even the football scarf from your home team.
No matter what it is, if it brings you sentimental value then it will help you feel closer to home.
Keeping familiar items around is especially important for international students as you need things that are tied to your cultural identity.
7. Explore Your Surroundings
You’ve probably heard it all before about immersing yourself into the student lifestyle in order to feel less homesick at uni, but it’s true.
One way you can feel more at ease is by exploring your new surroundings.
Sure, you may have been to all the best clubs, pubs and bars in your uni city or town, but have you truly explored your new home and new community?
If you haven’t, make sure to get out there and find some new places. It can be exciting and informative to discover new things, so plan a daytrip.
Whether it’s exploring all the cultural hubs, going to different events, learning more about the places history, or even just spending time strolling around the green spaces, it will make you feel a lot more ‘in the know’ about your new surroundings.
Plus, this way when your family or friends come to visit you’ll be clued up on all the best places to take them!
8. Join A Club Or Society
Exploring your new town or city is a great way to stay busy and manage feeling homesick at uni, but so is joining a club or society.
Chances are that your university will have a club or society that interests you and it’s a great way to do something you enjoy whilst meeting new people with things in common.
Head over to your university website to see what’s available to you.
Whilst there may be a joining fee for some, you may be able to show up and see what it’s all about before committing yourself.
If you can’t find anything of interest that you want to join, you could think about setting up your own group?
Or even plan your own events whether it’s on campus or within your accommodation.
9. Plan Things To Look Forward To
Keeping yourself busy and having things to look forward to is half the battle when it comes to feeling homesick at uni.
Whilst we’re not stating you should plan trips home here there and everywhere as this will leave you feeling unsettled going back to your new home, it’s important to still have nice plans on the horizon.
Whether it’s planning for your friends or family to come up and stay in your student flat or house or setting up a time to visit home, having things to be excited about will be good for you.
Luckily, the Christmas holiday is coming up, so you’ll have some time to spend with family and friends at home – it’s come around fast, eh?
10. Seek Out Support
If you do have people you can speak to, open up to them whether it’s your family and friends at home, or your new friends at uni.
There’s nothing good that will come from keeping your feelings to yourself, you need to have a support network to voice your emotions too.
If you’re struggling, there will be support available at your university for you to make the most of.
Likewise, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact your GP if you’re feeling low.
There really is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it!
Lastly, don’t feel disheartened if you don’t immediately love your new student life whether it’s the place you’re living, the uni you attend or even the people you’ve met.
You need to give it time to get over missing home and the things you’re familiar with.
Remember, we’re only a few months in so everything is bound to still feel strange!
Chances are that your feelings of homesickness will fade as time goes on.