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Transcript of Homesickness
So, what are signs of homesickness?
Connect to home.
It's important to remember homesickness is normal and common. You are not alone! This is a clip from another university addressing homesickness. We plan to create our own YouTube clip specific to HSU, but for now… we are borrowing! The basic ideas are universal, so please generalize and think about how the concepts apply to you here at Humboldt.
You made it to college! Congrats! College can be exciting, scary, fun, confusing, and even sad. It's completely normal to feel all these emotions and most students feel homesick at one point or another during their college career.
Constantly thinking of home
Missing people, things and places associated with home
General negative outlook
Feeling different than the others who seem to be having a good time
Just because you are away from home doesn't mean you can't bring some home to you or plan a visit back.
It's all about how you do it...
A great way to make HSU feel like home is to explore and get involved on campus and in the community. The more you make HSU a second home the more comfortable you will be!
Transitions can be stressful, and stress takes a toll on our bodies. The best way to combat the effects of stress is to take care of yourself.
It can hit you as soon as you come to college or far after your first year. The good news? You are not alone.
Let's be honest. College means leaving home, saying goodbye to family and friends, moving away from familiar places, people, and routines, and starting something completely new... Really, who wouldn't be nervous?
Don't confuse homesickness with depression. If you are homesick, then a trip home will make you feel better. While at home you will feel back to yourself. If you are depressed, going home or favored activities will not lift your negative mood.
Or Skype... or Facebook... or text... or good ol' fashioned snail mail. There are a million ways to keep in contact with friends and family back home. This will comfort you through the transition and give you the support you will need.
Just don't do it constantly. How will you make new friends if you are always on the phone with your friends from home?
Bring home to you.
Be sure to bring reminders of home with you to school. These can be decorations you had at home, pictures of family and friends, or anything else that reminds you of home.
It is okay to go home every once in awhile. At the beginning of the semester, plan all your trips home. This gives you something to look forward to and prevents the impulse to go home every chance you get.
Remember you can't get comfortable in a new setting if you are never there!
Also, some people find going home makes homesickness worse when they come back. Be prepared for this. Really think about the pros and cons of going home.
What if I can't go home?
Live across the nation...or farther? Don't have the money to get home? Then it is even more important to plan ahead!
Your communication with home, bringing comforting items, and even trips can be planned before the semester even starts. Have everything in place so that if homesickness hits, you have a support network prepared.
Already here? It's never too late to put these strategies in place. Comforting items can be mailed, communication "dates" can be made, and plane tickets or road trips can be planned.
Explore your campus, neighborhood, community, & the great outdoors! Familiarizing yourself with your surroundings will help you feel less stress.
Check out these resources:
City of Arcata: Parks and Rec Page
Humboldt County: 101 Things to Do
County Parks and Recreation Areas
Campus clubs are a structured way to meet new people, many of which are going through the same things you are.
You will also meet upperclassman that can give you advice about courses and the community.
HSU Clubs and Activities Website:
Friends- The Proactive Approach
Whether you are going exploring or considering joining a club, think about asking someone to do it with you. It can be your roommate or someone in one of your classes.
This is not an easy approach for many. If you are nervous about asking, practice! Think about what you want to ask and go over it a few times before you try it out. Don't take it personally if they say no. The campus has thousands of students; you are bound to find a group of people you fit in with. Just give it time.
Want to go hiking?
Do you want to go hiking?
Hey! Do you want to go hiking?
Sure! That sounds fun.
You might find it beneficial to start a journal. In it, take note of when you feel the most homesick.
You might notice that you feel the most homesick when doing a certain activity. For example, you may feel especially homesick around dinner time because you always had dinner with family. Or you might notice a certain time of day is hard.
Once you are aware of these patterns you can take extra steps to prepare yourself. If dinner is a problem time, maybe you invite new friends over to dinner and start your own tradition.
You need to give yourself time to settle into your new environment, but may also find it beneficial to give yourself time, on a daily basis, to be homesick.
Some people will set aside 5-15 minutes each day to feel the homesickness. They find having this time makes them less homesick the rest of the day.
Eating balanced meals and exercising will give your body the tools to help battle stress. Another tool is to teach your body to relax. Calm breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation all help teach your body to maintain a relaxed state.
Check out this meditation specifically for people suffering from homesickness:
Calm breathing is what we do naturally when we are babies and what experienced yoga practitioners and singers do. It is good to learn this type of breathing because when we are anxious we tend to take short, shallow, rapid breaths that can actually make us feel more faint!
First, find a comfortable place to practice. Sit upright in a chair with your shoulders back and your arms at your side or in your lap.
Take a slow breath in through your nose, breathing into your lower belly. (Hint: You can put your hand on your stomach. You should feel it lift up as you breathe in.)
Hold your breath for a second or two.
Exhale slowly out of your mouth. (Hint: It should take you longer to exhale than it did to inhale. Take your time!)
Wait a few seconds and then repeat the cycle. Be mindful of your breath.
What is calm breathing?
Steps to Calm Breathing
What is progressive muscle relaxation?
Progressive muscle relaxation involves systematically tensing and then relaxing various muscle groups. People with high anxiety often have tense muscles throughout the day. This exercise helps to relax muscles and to start to recognize when muscles are tensing, thus helping to recognize when we are starting to get stressed.
Before getting started, find a comfortable place to sit or lay down that you will not be disturbed. At first it may be beneficial to practice this twice a day. Wear loose clothing and take off your shoes. It might be helpful to do a few rounds of calm breathing to begin. Try one of these guided progressive muscle relaxation meditations. The first is 10 minutes and the second is 20 minutes.
Part of being healthy means not using risky behavior to cope with homesickness. College is a very different environment and you may feel more pressure to use drugs and alcohol. Plus, they may be more readily available than at home.
Drugs and alcohol may make you feel better for a little bit, but they will not solve your problems and may make you feel even worse. The decisions you make while under the influence of these substances may have results that far outlive the high.
The Counseling and Psychological Services department at HSU offers a variety of services that may help you through this transition.
Check out our website:
Or just stop by! We are located on the second floor of the Student Health, Wellness, and Counseling Center. This is just northeast of "Library Circle" (at 1 Plaza Avenue).
Fun in Humboldt