Tips For Handling Homesickness

Tips For Handling Homesickness

Homesickness is a natural reaction to going away to college and is a very normal part of the human experience. When we feel homesick, we’re feeling insecure or uncomfortable with where we are, physically and emotionally, and are longing for something that is known, predictable, consistent and stable.

But there are plenty of great ways for students to overcome that homesickness, which is one of many emotions your students may be experiencing during this unique semester. Parents and families can assist their students, while students can do many things to help themselves.

How To Handle Homesickness – Tips For Parents

  • Acknowledge they are feeling homesick. It is a very natural and common response for students who leave home.
  • Remind them that other students are experiencing similar feelings, even though they may not talk about it.
  • Encourage your son/daughter to discuss their feelings with someone they trust, or offer to listen yourself.
  • Encourage them to display photos of friends, family, and memories from home. Then suggest they gradually add or mix in photos of their new friends and experiences from campus.
  • Motivate them to familiarize themselves with the campus and its surrounding community. There are many locations on or near campus where socially-distant activities and escapes are possible, including Milwaukee’s great lakefront and the numerous parks on the east side. Later, ask them to share what they’ve learned or discovered.
  • Remind your son/daughter to get enough food and sleep. Proper rest and nutrition are important for physical and emotional well-being.
  • Encourage them to exercise and make use of the campus’s recreation facilities and free workout classes. Many of these activities remain available in spite of COVID-19 limitations.
  • Ask about their Involvement in campus organizations and activities. Support their interests and endeavors as they develop. Many campus organizations are still meeting regularly online or in small groups.
  • Set a date for them to safely and smartly visit home at a later time, giving them something to look forward to while they focus and study.
  • Give them (and yourself) time to adjust. Overcoming homesickness is a gradual process..

How To Handle Homesickness – Tips For Students

  • Acknowledge if you’re feeling homesick. Much of what you know and can rely on is at home. Homesickness is a natural response to this sense of loss.
  • Bring familiar items from home to your new location. Photos, decorations, even stuffed animals can help to give a sense of continuity and ease the shock of a new environment.
  • Get up and do something; stay busy. Buried feelings often emerge later as headaches, fatigue, illness, or lack of motivation. Try to maintain a positive outlook and keep that motivation!
  • Eat, move, sleep, and in the proper amounts. Balanced exercise, rest and nutrition will help your body and mind function to the best of its abilities.
  • Take the plunge and meet new people. Making friends and forming a support system will help alleviate loneliness. This can be especially challenging this semester because of COVID-19 limitations, but numerous socially-distant, safe activities remain possible.
  • Keep in touch with people back home, but avoid telephoning. Update them on your activities and experiences with email.
  • Plan a date in advance to safely and smartly visit home. This can help curtail impulsive returns and keep you focused on your goals.
  • Seek new opportunities. Join clubs, take classes you’re interested in, and get involved in meaningful activities. Many of the activities remain available virtually or in small groups in spite of COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Talk about your feelings with someone you can trust, whether it’s a friend, a family member, or a counselor.

If your son/daughter’s homesickness persists, or interferes with their academic performance or social relationships, consider suggesting they contact UWM’s Counseling Department at 414-229-4716.

Story posted Sept. 24, 2020