One of our Wellbeing Champions, Tsvetina, shares tips on coping with homesickness…
Staying in Cardiff over the holidays is a decision or necessity for some students due to a number of reasons. If you are staying in Cardiff over the winter recess, please rest assured that it is normal to feel a bit off-balance when lectures cease and many of your friends head home for the holidays.
The family-orientated focus over the festive period may worsen any feelings of homesickness. If we are far away from home it’s normal to experience low mood or homesickness. Being aware of the fluctuations of your mood and admitting to yourself that you miss home if that is the case is the first step to combatting homesickness.
Here are several tips that can help you cope with homesickness this winter:
1. Stay in touch
Keeping in contact with friends and family is essential during a time like this. You can use Skype, Facebook messenger or any other social media tool that allows you to text, talk or video chat. Think about people who love you and care for you and try to arrange a time that suits both sides in order to communicate with them. Exchange photos of your environments and organise a lot of video calls with your family to feel a little bit closer to them.
2. Talk to people
Be the first one to message that friend that you haven’t heard from since coming to uni. Try and find out who else is staying at Cardiff and don’t be shy to ask them to go out for a coffee, you never know if somebody is feeling in the same way as you are! Student Support Staff, Tutors and Chaplains are also there for you if you want to talk. Don’t be afraid to voice your worries before the problem grows larger!
3. Keep an open mind
Sometimes when we miss something we idealise it and just ignore everything else that is out there. Don’t fall into thinking that the place you are in currently is not good just because it is not your home! Cardiff is a wonderful city that offers fantastic things to see and do. Check out this blog on things to do in Cardiff over the winter break.
4. Plan your break
Leaving yourself too much time to over think things and agonize even more is not a great way of spending your holiday. As it comes from keeping an open mind, planning your break so that you have a clear idea of what you are going to be doing is a great way to keep your mind off homesickness. Keep yourself as busy as possible. You will probably have some coursework due or exams to study for anyway so why not try to create a schedule for yourself. Leave some time for studying in the day and for doing something you enjoy. Try and think of varied activities that you can so that you can fully enjoy that recess!
5. Look after yourself
After all these recommendations please don’t get lost in following what you think you are expected to do in your holiday time. At the end of the day, the winter break is a time for you to relax and have a break from your studies as well. Think about all those times that you were so busy with uni work and thought you could be doing something completely different if you had the time. Well, you are going to have the time so why not spend some quality time with yourself whilst enjoying your favourite meal, watching a TV series you like or decorating your room?
6. Make yourself at home
Think about the things that make you feel comfortable and get that ‘homely’ feel in the house! Buy things for the house like flowers or pillows that you can place on the sofas to make them more comfy. Turn to your family and friends about things you could do that would be similar to what you would do normally, like cooking something in particular or decorating in a certain way.
7. Remind yourself
Remember all of those reasons that made you come to Cardiff University. Remind yourself of why you are going through this and perhaps how proud you are going to make yourself and all of the people you love. Be aware of the personal achievement that you are making by living on your own and keeping all responsibilities to yourself. Appreciate all of those things and soon you will start seeing more positive aspects of staying away from home!
You can also have a look at Natalie’s wonderful post on combatting homesickness to learn about the symptoms of homesickness and more tips on tackling it.
Check out our winter survival guide
Whether you’re heading home for the holidays or remaining in Cardiff, our guide provides tips on study, staying safe, things to do and more practical advice for the holidays.
Staying in Cardiff over the winter break?
All are welcome at the Cardiff Chaplaincy for Christmas Lunch, which will be held on Monday 25 December at 13:00. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend.
Some Cardiff University study spaces will be open for the entire winter recess. Find out more here.
Your feedback and help please
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I hope you have found this helpful and I wish you a joyful winter break!
Tsvetina, Placement Student.
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