A Lesson In: Homesickness

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Labels: ,

For my final post in the 'A Lesson In' series, I thought I'd talk about an aspect of university life that most of us will face at some point, but that seems to be neglected by friends, family and the media alike in the excitement of freshers - homesickness.

My experience of freshers week was made hell by homesickness, as opposed to looking back on it with fondness and drunk memories as most do, I remember the worst week of my life. Missing my Mum, family, boyfriend and home so much it physically hurt (and to be honest i'm getting a little chocked up just typing this) and desperately searching google for some magic piece of advice that would make all the pain go away. Eventually it faded, however every time I would come back after the holidays it would hit again, and I'd cross off each day on my calendar before bed, counting down until I could go home.
Luckily I don't feel this way anymore, for which I am thankful, and although it was awful whenever I felt that way I did find ways to get through it. So for those of you who feel this way, read on, and hopefully I'll be able to help a little.

The Being Cosy Cure.
If you're feeling rubbish on the inside, then in my experience feeling amazing and cosy on the outside can help a lot. Take a long, warm shower with the most comforting shower gel you own (Body Shop Shea shower creme I'm looking at you) and relax and unwind. Not only is this intensely comforting, but research actually suggests that being physically warm can lead to psychological warmness (whilst feeling cold can lead to loneliness), and so a lovely shower can be really soothing. After your shower distract yourself with a good pamper, a thick nutty body butter or a manicure are perfect, wrap up in your softest dressing gown or pyjamas and make yourself a hot drink (remember, warmth is key!) before snuggling up in bed or under a blanket. I can guarantee even if you still feel sad, you'll feel a lot better than you did before.

Find Your TV Haven.
Now you're all cosy and warm, it's time to binge watch whatever television show (or indeed film, youtube videos...) make you feel at home. For me this was QI - Stephen Fry's soothing tones, the panel's banter, the lighting, the theme tune, the laughter... I could go on, but basically QI for me was intensely comforting, and made me feel at home even when I wasn't. This could have been due to me watching a lot of QI with my family, in which case try watching something you often enjoy at home. It might even feel like your family are sat watching it with you, and if it doesn't, hopefully you'll be too distracted to notice.

Don't Be Alone.
I get the impression that a lot of people who feel homesickness hide it, holed up in their room alone, from both their family and their flatmates due to shame, embarrassment, or a desire not to worry the ones they love. This is not a healthy way of dealing with missing home! I bonded with one of my closest friends over the fact we both felt so homesick, and every time one of us would cry the other would give a big hug and listen to our woes, and it helped. The loneliness you experience from missing loved ones will only be made worse if you're not socialising, and furthermore talking about your problems really will make them seem better! The same goes for calling your family and not being ashamed to admit how much you're missing them (I bet they miss you, too!). Having them comfort you, and hearing their voices, will make you feel much less alone even if you spend the entire conversation in tears.

Have Something To Look Forward To.
Whether it be a telephone call, a scheduled Skype or a weekend at home, having something to look forward to is a miracle worker. You'll start noticing the positive aspects of being at university a lot more if you're thinking of things to tell your family, and having them tell you what an amazing time it seems you're having is a comfort in itself! Instead of pangs of sadness whenever you spot your favourite family photograph, it'll be pangs of excitement for the next time you get to see them, and so on. Ambiguity breeds discomfort (or at least it does for me), and not knowing when you'll next see your loved ones can lead to an odd sort of lost feeling, so always try and have a date in mind. Once your visit is over, instead of being sad, focus on how long you'd managed to cope by yourself before seeing them and have faith that you can do it again.

The Long Distance Relationship.
Finally, and this isn't applicable for everyone, is the horridness that is missing your boyfriend/girlfriend - long distance can be a bitch. Personally, my coping methods when I missed my boyfriend were much the same for when I missed my family, but there are a few tweaks here and there. Firstly, try and focus on the positive, which is that the small amount of time you do get to spend together will be so much more special (I can say this from experience) - you'll appreciate each other a lot more, you're likely to do more when visiting each other than just moping around, and you'll be too smitten with one another to even think about arguing! However for when this isn't enough and the tears are on their way, indulge your romantic side with a good chick flick and some chocolate (it is the love drug, after all) followed by a brief goodnight chat on the phone. If you hear their voice before you drift off, its almost like they're snoozing beside you.

Ps. Apologies for how late this post is, University has been crazy! I promise to be a better behaved blogger in future.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Contact Form


Email *

Message *