Sarah, Student Intern for Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, shares her ideas on staying happy and avoiding loneliness, homesickness and isolation this summer …
While staying in Cardiff over the summer can be an exciting and liberating experience, it may also get a little lonely at times. If you find yourself feeling homesick or isolated, give some of these tips a try.
1. Don’t dread the summer
If you’re worried about spending the summer in Cardiff, try focussing on the positives instead of dwelling on your worries. Write a list of all the great things you can accomplish, all the fun activities you want to try, and all the ways you can make the summer a positive experience for yourself. Read over this list whenever you’re feeling down, or turn it in to a checklist so you can track your progress!
2. Stay connected with friends and family
This may mean getting in touch with your folks, reconnecting with old friends from home, or staying in contact with university friends. Call, text or Skype regularly, as being sociable can drastically reduce feelings of isolation. If possible, arrange some visits – stay with relatives for a few days, visit uni friends at home or have some friends come to Cardiff and show them the sights. As well as just keeping you connected to the world, planning trips like these gives you something to look forward to and this can really boost your mood.
3. Keep familiar things around
Things with sentimental or cultural value can make you feel connected with home, even if you’re far away. Borrow some ornaments from home or frame photos of family and friends to ease any feelings of homesickness. Just remember not to overwhelm your space with too many things from home as this may prevent you from adjusting to your new situation and leave you feeling even lonelier.
4. Stay occupied
Boredom is a big contributor to low mood and loneliness, so keep busy! Check out our guide to events in Cardiff over the summer, or our ideas about fun new things you can try. If none of them catch your eye, you could start a new exercise plan, find a fun hobby to throw yourself in to, or even (shock horror) start studying for your next year of uni! That probably doesn’t sound like a great way to spend the summer, but think of it like this: you’re under less pressure during the summer so you’ll enjoy your reading more, and if you get it out of the way now you’ll have more free time when the new semester starts so you can do more things you enjoy. Studying has its perks!
5. Get out and about
When you’re feeling lonely or isolated, just being around people can be enough to give your mood a boost. Head in to town and do some shopping, go to the gym or take an exercise class, or even sit in the park with a book – you don’t necessarily have to interact with anyone as just being near other people can make you feel more connected to the world.
6. Join an online community
Social interaction comes in many forms, and for some people making friends online can really take the edge off of loneliness. There are online communities for people with all sorts of interests, so get googling and find a forum or a social network that you like. If you’re feeling down, try out Elefriends, the peer-to-peer support community set up by the charity Mind – it’s a place where you can share your feelings without fear of being judged, and get advice from others in similar situations.
7. Enjoy your own company
It’s important to feel comfortable in your own skin, your own space and your own thoughts, as this is often the difference between being lonely and just being alone. It doesn’t have to be a negative experience! Take this time to work on improving your self-esteem and confidence, and you’ll come back from the summer feeling like a whole new person.
Student Support & Wellbeing is open throughout the Summer* if you’d like support with anything come and see us …
- Please drop-in at the Student Support Centre, 50 Park Place (Student High Street) and Cardigan House (Heath Park Campus), or find us the Intranet, to access our full range of support and information. *Please note that The Student Support Centre, 50 Park Place (Student High Street) will be closed the week commencing 3rd August for one week only.
- Follow us on social media for daily updates on events and any other news and information we think will be of interest to you, follow us twitter: studentlifecu and cardiffcareers; like us on facebook: studentlifecu and cardiffunicareers.
Sarah, Student Intern, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing Team
Advice & Money I Careers & Employability I Counselling, Health & Wellbeing I Disability & Dyslexia I International Student Support