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March 22, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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Homesickness

Whether you’ve come from another part of New Zealand or from overseas, it’s likely that at some stage you will feel homesick for where you’ve come from. This is a natural part of adjusting to a new culture, environment and lifestyle. 

Homesickness can involve a range of emotions, similar to those we experience when grieving—sadness, anger, numbness and feeling that we have made the wrong choice. You may have other symptoms such as tearfulness, low mood, anxiety, poor sleeping and a loss of motivation and interest.  You may find that your usual ways of dealing with situations are no longer effective or that you have lost your confidence in managing these situations. 

Some practical ideas:

  • Try to think positively about yourself, your strengths and your situation. You’ve done really well to get to university and we all know it’s a difficult place to be at times. Thinking about what strategies and strengths you’ve drawn on in the past to help you through can be a useful activity.
  • Although you probably don’t feel like it, getting some exercise really helps our mood. A walk, a gym workout, a dance class—whatever you enjoy doing.
  • Getting enough sleep is often challenging when we’re not feeling great, but is vital to help us manage our mood. If your sleep is significantly disturbed for days on end and you’ve tried the practical ideas around getting a good night’s sleep, you might want to talk to your GP about options to help.
  • Keeping your usual routines going is really important when you’re not feeling great. Try to keep getting up at the same time, making your way to classes and keeping up with planned activities as you usually would.
  • Talk to family, friends or someone else that you trust to get another perspective on your situation.
  • Be kind to yourself! Keep doing the healthy things that you enjoy—keeping in touch with friends, watching movies, reading or having a hot bath.
  • Try to avoid less healthy options such as alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and energy drinks. These might help for a brief time but won’t in the long run.

If feeling homesick is impacting on you to the extent that you are struggling to function as you normally do, it might be worth considering talking to someone or getting some help. The Counselling Service is free, confidential and available to all enrolled Victoria University students.

Contact us on 04 463 5310 or email counselling-service@vuw.ac.nz.

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