Being away from home is hard, especially when you’re gone for months at a time. You don’t fully realize how much family and friends are a part of your life until college rolls around and you don’t see them every day. I’m only an hour away from home, but living in the dorms has made me suddenly miss my dad’s cooking or the obnoxious sound of my sister singing in the shower. But fear not my friends, don’t let the homesick blues get you down, I have the cure. Keep reading for some quality tips on how to deal with homesickness that’ll surely raise your spirits.
- Don’t give yourself a hard time: Feeling homesick is a natural process that happens to everyone at least once in their lives. During my first year of college, I used to envy others for how easily they were adjusting and wondered why couldn’t I as well. In retrospect, I realize that everyone deals with new situations differently and you can’t possibly compare how people cope. The first step to dealing with homesickness is to come to terms with it, allow yourself to miss home because it’s okay that you do.
- Surround yourself with friends: This should go without saying, but if you’re surrounded by people, especially the ones you care about, you’ll feel less lonely. Friends serve as a great way to take your mind off missing home and more often than not your friends probably miss home too. What better way to navigate through homesickness than with your friends?
- Find a fun new hobby: Get out of your comfort zone! A great way to distract yourself is through finding cool new hobbies. While you’re busy learning a new skill you’ll find that your mind won’t wander to missing home as much. And you never know, you might meet an entirely new circle of friends.
- Video chat with your loved ones: Sometimes the cure is right under your nose. Today’s world of technology has graciously blessed us with ways to easily see our loved ones with a quick swipe of a finger. Video chatting with your friends and family back home can help you feel the support you may feel like your lacking.
- Listen to music that brings up old memories: A picture is worth a thousand words, but what about a song? During exam week when I was especially missing home I used to play “Carolina” by Harry Styles because it reminded me of when my friends and I would dance around my room listening to it. Not only did listening to the song get me to laugh, it also got me out of my stubborn homesick funk.
- Make your new home a home: College dorm rooms can feel very impersonal and cold. But by bringing home comforts, like the blanket your grandmother made or a couple of framed photos of your family, you can completely transform your space. You’ll feel connected to home despite being miles away.
- Get more involved in school: Another great distraction to shoo away those homesick blues is to really get involved in what your school has to offer. Whether it be joining a club, trying out for a sport, or volunteering, you might as well take advantage of what your school has to offer you while you’re away from home. Trust me, you’ll rack up tons of stories to tell your family during the holiday break.
- Do activities that remind you of home: The easiest way to get around missing home is to sometimes act like you never left. Cook meals that your mom used to make, watch your sister’s favorite movie, or even listen to that horrible band your dad likes. Whether you are five or five hundred miles away from home, there are all sorts of activities you can do to feel connected to home.
- Scroll through your camera roll: Another great asset that the world of technology has granted us is the ability to have thousands of photos at the palm of your hand. Take a look through your camera roll and watch as the memories come flooding back. Whenever I get a little homesick I always scroll through my Snapchat Memories. It never fails to put a smile on my face. Scrolling through your camera roll is a quick and easy tip that’ll make missing home a tad bit more bearable.
- Get plenty of exercise: Two of the most common symptoms that stem from homesickness is anxiety and depression. When you exercise you release “endorphins” which are the body’s natural chemicals that uplift your mood. Exercising can help you offset those unwanted feelings. While you’re working up a sweat, invite your friends and make it a fun day at the gym.
- Make new friends that share the same home state or culture: The best people to connect with when you’re especially missing home are people who understand what you’re going through. Making new friends with people who share a similar background with you can be a fun way to feel that sense of familiarity that you crave. You can bond over jokes that only people in your state or country would understand or engage in traditions from your culture. Even though home may be far away, sometimes you can still feel pieces of it through other people.
- Don’t spend too much time in your room: Sometimes the best way to conquer homesickness is to change the scenery. Being cooped up in your room with dozens of pictures of your loved ones is bound to exacerbate the feeling of homesickness. Go out, enjoy a couple of minutes of fresh air, or share a meal with your friends.
- Talk to someone: When you’re dealing with homesickness, the cure doesn’t always have to be creative. Finding someone you trust and talking out your feelings with is a classic way to calm your nerves and help you get through missing home. Whether it be a friend, a professional or even your RA, never feel ashamed about needing to talk to someone, you’re already courageous for recognizing you need some help.
- Keep a journal: While some people may find solace in talking out their feelings, others may also find it easier to write down how they feel on paper. Journaling is a healthy coping mechanism that helps you gain control of your emotions and calms all the hectic thoughts that swim around in your head. You’ll find that after journaling you’ll feel more at peace and your homesickness under control.
- Stop dwelling and look toward the future: One of the most effective strategies I’ve found that helps deal with homesickness is focusing on why I’m in school in the first place. Whenever I catch myself missing home, I try to remember that I’m at school to make my family proud and to create a bright future for myself. No matter how much I miss home, I realize that I’ll have plenty of things to tell my family about my studies when I get home. Looking at the bigger picture really helps you understand where you come from and appreciate where you’ll go from here.
What are your tips on battling those homesick blues? Let us know in the comments below!
Opening image by Sarah Gargano.