How to cope with homesickness
School has started again and there will be some pupils who will have a pretty tough time with homesickness, especially if it’s their first time away from home, so we asked some ex-boarders how they coped with those difficult moments. They all agreed that the best piece of advice they could give would be to make friends and to keep busy. It’s hard being away from home if you are missing your friends and family but remember, you are about to become part of a new extended family. What’s more, you are probably in a place that offers some of the most amazing opportunities anyone could wish for, and even if you don’t feel like taking advantage of them now, you will definitely regret it later if you don’t.
According to Claire, who went to Culford (pictured above) and absolutely loved it, ‘Everyone gets a bit homesick at first, but you just have to get on with it,’ and here are some tips to help you get through those tough times when homesickness hits.
- Laugh and the world laughs with you …. If you seem like a smiley, cheerful person to be with, people are much more likely to want to be with you. If someone asks you to join them on a walk or a trip into town and you don’t feel like doing it, try to force yourself. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy it, but if you continue to say no, people won’t keep inviting you, and one of the best cures for homesickness is having friends to share your feelings with.
- Keep busy. Force yourself to do some activity – yoga, dance, join the orchestra or take up a new sport. Make sure that you do something to occupy yourself during those quiet times when you find yourself moping, then you won’t have time to feel sad.
- Count the days – in a good way! Have a calendar with exeats and trips home marked on it so you can both plan and have something to look forward to.
- Nice memories. Put pictures up and have a few things that remind you of home around your room. This will not only cheer you up but will give you something to talk about with the new friends you will definitely make.
- Let them know how you are. Keep your family updated with what you are doing – they’ll be missing you too and it will make them feel better to know that you are having a good time.
- Treat yourself. Allow yourself little treats occasionally, especially as a reward for doing something you find difficult, like joining a new group, or plucking up the courage to speak to someone you don’t know. But don’t comfort eat!
- Keep active. Get lots of fresh air and exercise. Some boarding schools have the most fantastic grounds and facilities, so take advantage of them. Then, if you have over-indulged on those little treats you’ve allowed yourself, you won’t need to feel guilty because you’ll have worn all those calories off.
- Music heals the soul. Listen to your favourite music – but only the stuff that makes you feel good. Avoid anything that depresses you and share your tastes with your room mates – there’s nothing like a good sing-song to keep the spirits up.
- Share and share alike. Boarding school is a close-knit community, where, all being well, you will make friends for life. Living in a community like that requires a bit of give and take, so start by sharing your treats and goodies and see how well others respond.
- Finally, don’t be afraid to share how you feel with friends or with staff at the school. Remember, nearly everyone suffers from homesickness from time to time, so people will understand and want to help.