Question: Dear Bubble Trouble. I’m feeling very homesick. I have never been away from my family and friends for this long, and I’m finding it hard to stay positive. What can I do?
Answer: It’s totally normal to feel homesick at university, especially if it’s your first time away from home. With 10-week-long terms, going back can feel like an age away. Though, there are many things you can do to ease the symptoms of homesickness and stay connected to those you love.
It’s no surprise that video calls are the number one way to stay connected. As a result of the pandemic, even your nan knows how to use Zoom now. A weekly catch up can be just what you need to stay connected and stay calm during your studies. The best thing to do is to schedule in a dedicated time to chat with friends and family so it becomes a habit, and you never miss them for too long without seeing their faces again!
Closely related to video chatting, staying connected on social media platforms can be the perfect way to keep you motivated throughout your week with a quick message or cat picture from your loved ones. With friends, sending each other TikTok’s and memes can be a fantastic way to keep your friendship alive. Small smiles throughout the week can be just what you need to stay on track and keep your spirits high.
Arrange a game night
There are plenty of apps to arrange a family or friends game night, like Uno online or Houseparty. If you’re more into gaming, why not set up a Minecraft server and start building together! Playing games together is a great way to keep your bond alive whilst having fun.
Keep yourself busy
Sometimes, the best way to take your mind off of homesickness is to keep yourself busy with other activities. In Durham, there are plenty of cafes to visit, and restaurants if you’re feeling hungry. The Botanical Gardens and Cathedral provide scenic days out and can really make you fall in love with the city. Learning to love your new home is important, and it can really start to feel like your city after a little while.
Practice mindfulness and gratitude
There are plenty of brilliant apps to help you practice gratitude. My personal favourite lately is Finch, where you can tend to a little animal who grows as you complete daily wellness tasks. If homesickness has you feeling unmotivated or anxious, these apps are a great way to stay on track and remind yourself of the good things in life. Taking a moment to relax with breathing exercises and meditation can also provide outlets for stress and anxiety. Tune in to a podcast or watch a YouTube video to guide you through.
Homesickness is a completely normal part of the university experience for any student. Remember you’re not alone, so do not hesitate to speak to your friends about home too. Keeping in touch with family can certainly ease the symptoms, though learning to appreciate and love your new home in Durham can be just what you need to keep going through the term.
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