Studying in a different part of the world can be incredibly exciting, offering new opportunities for personal growth, exploring new interests, and establishing independence. But leaving behind all that you know to enter into unfamiliar surroundings can also be terrifying, and downright hard. If you are experiencing feelings of homesickness or worry while studying abroad, know that you are not alone. In this article, we will discuss strategies that can help you to cope with these difficult emotions during this unique time.
For more articles and information about coping with feelings of worry, visit BetterHelp.
5 Strategies for Managing Homesickness
Acknowledge your feelings. Perhaps you recognise that you are missing the familiarity of home or your university. Or maybe you find your mind wandering to worried thoughts about how leaving behind your friendships will impact the bonds you have made. The first step in managing feelings of homesickness or worry is acknowledging them- and knowing that what you are experiencing is completely normal. Instead of trying to push down or avoid emotions that may be uncomfortable, allow whatever you feel to be there.
Develop healthy routines for coping with challenging emotions. It can be helpful to tune into your patterns and take note of which times of the day or week seem to be the most difficult for you. From there, you can be intentional about engaging in routines that help you to manage. For example, if you find that you often feel down in the evening, plan to go on a walk outside or make plans for dinner. If weekends are the most difficult for you, carve out structure so that you will be engaging in a meaningful activity or spending time with others. Try to avoid isolating yourself, as meaningful connection can have powerful benefits on mental well-being and reducing stress and anxiety. Taking care of your physical health through following a nutritious diet, engaging in regular exercise, and getting adequate sleep can also have a significant impact on how you feel throughout the day.
Stay connected- but keep it balanced. With today’s technology, there are numerous ways to invest in relationships even from miles away. While carving out time to connect with people back at home or university can provide a sense of familiarity in the midst of unknown surroundings, be mindful of maintaining a healthy balance. Hearing about life back at school constantly may exacerbate feelings of homesickness or worry about what you are potentially missing out on. It can also prevent you from being fully present where you are. Be mindful of how phone calls and scrolling through social media may be impacting your mood, and set healthy boundaries that will promote staying engaged with the people and opportunities around you.
Seek out new opportunities and experiences. Studying in a different location offers many exciting, unique opportunities. Remind yourself that it is okay to feel homesickness and also decide to make the most of the time you have to experience life in a new place. Remain open minded to people you could connect with, interests you might explore, and adventures that await you. While it doesn’t erase feeling homesick, staying busy and engaged can help you to cope, and be open to the way this new experience might challenge or grow you.
Seek out further support if needed. Change can be really difficult. If you are continuing to experience ongoing challenges with coping due to feelings of homesickness or worry, continue seeking out the support of a therapist. There are many online platforms that offer virtual sessions with licensed mental health professionals. They can work with you in order to develop healthy ways of managing your emotions and provide support in what you are experiencing.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.