It’s coming to that time of the semester where all the exams start and all the final deadlines are creeping up. When stress levels intensify and all you want to do is go home for Christmas and take a relaxing break, but first you have to pass the first semester with flying colours. But homesickness could be something you struggle with and especially at this time of year, it can get a lot harder.

Here are 8 ways that helped me personally with trying to battle the thoughts of missing home.

1. Know that you will see your family and friends very soon.

Maybe its not as soon as you’d hope. But just think that as soon as all the stressful examinations and deadlines are over, you’ll be going home for the Christmas holidays, to celebrate with the ones you love, snuggling up on the sofa watching your favourite Christmas movies, being happy and having a time out from everything at university for a little while.

2. Do not isolate yourself in your room.

The worst thing you can do is keep yourself hidden in your room all day, being alone will just make your feelings intensify and you will stress about everything. Go out with friends, perhaps go shopping, go to the cinema, go for a walk, have a few drinks, take your mind of things. If you need to study, grab a friend go to the library and have a study session at least that way you have company and you can have a laugh, whilst doing your work. It’s always best to keep yourself surrounded by people, it helps to have someone to talk too and having fun is the best way to keep your troubles aside.

3. Explore your surroundings!

As good as it sounds staying in the warmth and keeping cosy, it doesn’t hurt to chuck on a coat and scarf and explore everything around you. Sometimes, moving to somewhere you don’t fully know can be daunting and it’s always nice to find new places to go. Whether its going in to town to browse some shops, grabbing a hot beverage or finding a nice place to walk or wondering around your University a bit more and get to know other places, you haven’t really visited. Walking is good for the mind and the fresh air will do you good.

4. Stay positive!

Even though the work is piling up, you seem to have your head buried in revision cards and Harvard referencing is becoming your worst enemie. You’ve got to keep a positive mind, no matter how hard it is. If you keep your head held high and realise that you’ve got this, you’ll get through it and carrying that positivity with you, will definitely shine through in your work and it will give you a clearer mind when it comes to the exams or assignments. Think about if you pass the first semester, you’re another step closer to being able to succeed in the career you want and you will be able to reach your goals, but positivity is key!

5. Keep busy!

Plan your day, make sure that you always have something to look forward too, perhaps some retail therapy, a relaxing bath and then one of your favourite movies, read a book. Join a club or help out at events, do something way out of your comfort zone because that will not only keep you busy but it will make you feel good about yourself. I can definitely say that this one helped me out the most, it makes time go quicker and before you know it your home again. Keep your days busy and your mind positive, and the feeling of homesickness will slowly go away.

6) Exercise, exercise and more exercise!

As much as you’d rather stay in and watch Netflix and eat ice cream, that’s not necessarily going to help how you feel. This is such an important one, exercise not only helps you keep fit and healthy, but it can help your mental health and anxiety and it has such a positive impact on pretty much everything. So join the gym! Or you can go for a walk or run and if that’s not for you then follow fitness videos online. It will help your stress levels, it will help you take your mind of what’s bothering you and most importantly it will stop you missing home as much because you’re so focused. 

7) Keep in touch.

Its understandable that you want to call home everyday, but sometimes calling them to much can actually make it worse. Arrange times in the week that are of best convenience to you and them and then you can look forward to that. Try and not go home all the time, if you are going home every weekend for instance, it will make it harder to leave and your homesickness, could get worse. Make every holiday you get a time that you go home, because then once all the work is done, you can look forward to going home for a few weeks.

8) If you need help, ask for it!

Do not feel like homesickness is a weakness and that it is something to beat yourself up about. So many students suffer with it and you’re honestly not alone. But if you need help, then do not be afraid to ask for it. Whether it be talking to your lecturer about how it is affecting you and how it could possibly affect your work or perhaps talk to a counsellor they will know how to help, don’t ever suffer in silence.

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Student Journalist.