"First semester is going to be hard. Especially the first 2 weeks. Things will eventually fall together because by then you're making new friends and getting used to things around you." - Patricia Kablutsiak, Nunavut
Tips & Tricks
"Homesickness is about a period of adjustment. It could be about missing home, but really it’s also about not yet feeling comfortable where you are.” Tamar Chansky, a psychologist and author of Freeing Yourself From Anxiety
Keep Yourself Busy
If you find yourself feeling homesick find something to keep yourself busy and take your mind off of home. There is always something to do. Cleaning your apartment, doing laundry, cleaning dishes, organizing your school work.
We tend to feel homesick when we are cooped up in our room or apartment. Go outside. If you come from a small community, at first the noises, tall buildings, and smells can be overwhelming, but walk around the block to get used to the area and know where you live. Find a park or water and walk around there, reconnect with nature.
Talk To Someone
Know that you are not alone. Everyone feels homesick at some point. Talk to a councillor, instructor, or a friend. Be honest about how you are feeling. Just talking about it can help relieve the feeling of homesickness. Take part in activities with new friends, it might be scary at first, but it will get easier and you will be creating new memories with new friends.
Support Each Other
If you see someone who is feeling homesick, help them out. Listen to their concerns. Encourage them to take part in activities. Go for a walk with them, try out an escape room, go to a movie, take part in cultural activities (even if they are not a part of your culture, learn about a new culture), play music. Support each other. You are not alone.
Try To Call Home Only Once a Week
Talking on the phone or video chat can make the feeling of homesickness worse. Try to limit calls home to once a week at a set time. Throughout the week text family to ask quick questions or let them know that you saw something cool.
Tools & Resources
1. Send a Care Package
2. Limit Phone and Video Calls
3. Visit Them At School Instead Of Making Them Come Home
4. Share Your Own Experiences
5. Don't Tell Them How Much You Miss Them
What?! This seems crazy! Learn more about why HERE.
Feeling homesick? Here’s how to cope
- Give yourself time: it may take you some time to adjust to your new surroundings. Give yourself a few weeks to get used to things and form a new daily routine.
- Find balance: after moving out, you may feel the urge to go home a lot. It’s important to do what’s best for you while meeting your other responsibilities (attending class, going to work, etc.).
- Keep in touch: schedule phone calls or video chats with friends and family to stay connected and give yourself something to look forward to each week.
- Be kind to yourself: make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating nutritious food and getting enough exercise to take care of your physical health. You can try meditating, going for a walk outside or taking a warm bath to take care of your mental and emotional health.
- Make yourself at home: decorate your new living space with things that will make it feel more like home. You could bring a favourite pillow, blanket or other item from home. If it’s in your budget, you could go shopping for some new items to help you settle in.
- Put up pictures: put up photos of loved ones in your new living space to help you feel closer to friends and family. You can also set the backgrounds on your devices as photos of loved ones. Displaying posters of things you enjoy can also help you feel more comfortable.
- Get involved: put yourself out there and make new friends in your area, volunteer your time at a local charity or join a club that interests you.
- Stay busy: pick up a new hobby, watch a new TV show, apply for a job or try a new workout routine to keep your mind preoccupied and off of missing home.
- Get support: if you’re struggling with being away from home, you can reach out to a parent/caregiver, friend or resident advisor (if you live on your post-secondary school’s campus). You can always call a Kids Help Phone counsellor at 1-800-668-6868.
Understanding what triggers homesickness can help us prepare for the emotions involved and set up coping strategies to deal with it before the emotions overwhelm us.
Check out this site to help understand what might be triggers for homesickness: Homesickness