I feel a little bad because I keep writing blog posts then getting distracted or feeling too tired to write much. This is because I've just started university again and it seems like I've gone from no activity at all to full throttle, which is rather enduring on the body and mind!
While I do have a long post about what I've been up to (which I'll probably split up and summarise more since I don't want to bore you all to tears), I'd really like to write a little about homesickness. I moved out at 18 years old, way back in 2009. University for me meant a way to move very far away because Newcastle felt too small for me. Perhaps naive, I wanted bigger and better things and was determined that London was the place for me.
Of course, my determination and youthful arrogance vanished as soon as I caught Fresher's Flu and my wonderful mum was not there to nurse me back to good health. 3 years on, whilst it's not a constant difficulty because I've learnt to take care of myself more, I still find that I pine for home. It's not so much the being mothered that I miss but my adored family that I wish were closer than an expensive, 4.5 hour journey away.
So, whenever I feel sad about not being close to home, I do these things:
1. Phone home
Whilst an obvious option, picking up the phone does wonders for you. How much you want to ring is up to how much you miss that person. I tend to ring my mum once a week and we natter away for a good few hours (I love you free evening and weekend calls!) about all we've been up to this week, what is bothering us at that time and how much we miss each other. It's cathartic and good fun too.
This is a bit of a weird one but it works very well for me. If your parents or your home smells of a certain thing, utilise it. Spray it around your room or on your clothes or on your pillowcase. For example, my mum uses white musk quite a lot. That is her associated scent. So if I'm particularly missing my mum, I'll spray it on myself or a pillowcase and I feel like she's there with me right away. Do not underestimate the power of the nose!
Music is also a good one. I always stick on Motown hits when I'm homesick because it reminds me of lazy Sundays in Newcastle, waiting for lunch. Anything that reminds you of home works.
3. Kind gestures
This depends on your budget but can be as simple as a text saying you're thinking of your recipient and that you miss them. It can be a facebook wall post if they're internet savvy or if you have the spare pennies, post them something! I sent home some flowers (bunches.co.uk is my favourite and you get free chocolates sent with every order!) which made me feel instantly better because I knew it'd perk up someone else's day.
4. Keep busy
If you're still homesick, it's best to busy yourself. If you're far from home because of university, surround yourself with social events or if that isn't your thing, occupy yourself with a hobby, interest or of course: university work. You're far from home from a reason! Plan future events so you always have something to look forward to; it'll keep you upbeat and focused.
I've seen a lot of my friends do this and it's a beautiful idea. Get photos of family and friends printed for your wall, especially on a wall where you'll look at a lot. The funnier the photo, the better because it'll give you a good giggle too. If you can't afford to print photos, Facebook is rather good to just scroll through tagged pictures and laugh with your friends.
When I first got hit by the homesickness bug, I thought I was the only one. I thought that everyone was elated to be away from home and I was being a big baby. How wrong I was! An offhand comment to my flatmates about it turned into a huge discussion about the things we missed at home which then turned into a pyjama party where we watched Disney films and ate junk food to feel better. You're never alone in homesickness and you should never feel like you have to cope with it alone.
I hope this is a tiny bit helpful to anyone else out there that doesn't have the option of hopping on the bus home to see their family and friends. Do you have your own way to deal with homesickness? Let me know in the comments!