Living on your own can be really fun. Mostly because you can eat pizza for breakfast 3 days in a row. Or walk around in your pjs/underwear all day without anyone judging you. But there is also the slightly less glamorous side of moving out. The side that involves you crying your eyes out, hugging your favourite teddy bear and mouthing “Mummy” to yourself feeling more homesick than ever. Okay, it may be less dramatic than that, but it can get there. Being homesick sucks. As soon as the first overwhelming sensation of ‘OMG I’m an adult’ passed, I was left wishing I had my mum next to me to tell me what to do. I felt really lonely in a new town, in a different country, surrounded by nothing but strangers. Being an introvert didn’t really help when it came to making friends or even speaking to people around me. Good news is there is a way out of it. Many ways actually. I’ve rounded up the ones that have helped me the most and hope they will help you too.
Call your family
Don’t feel like just because you live on your own, you can’t speak to your old friends and family. It’s very likely that if you miss them, they miss you just as much if not more. There is nothing wrong with keeping in touch with your loved ones when you live away. Even if it means you call/text your mum every day just to let her know what you had for breakfast. The reassurance that they are there for you despite the distance can boost your mood immensely. Try not to call them all the time though – as much as it help with feeling homesick, overdoing it may cause you to feel even worse about living on your own. Find the healthy balance that lets you carry on with your life on your own.
Join social groups
Being homesick normally stems from having a bit too much free time on your hands. Time when you run out of ideas what to do so you sit on the edge of your bed thinking about everyone having fun back at home without you. To avoid sitting in the dark, you can get out and join social clubs/groups in your area. I know what you’re thinking – social groups sound more like a thing for either after school activities or for the elderly people who want to play balls. Not necessarily. And, while the previous groups do exist, there are many other ways to meet like-minded people around your age. And guess what – there are even apps that help you make friends. Kind of like Tinder, but with a lot more genuine people that don’t judge you just by looks. If you don’t know where to start, try out Pal. Pal is an app designed to make meeting new people that little bit easier. Fancy finding out more? Read about it here.
Go to the gym/for a run
It’s not a secret that physical exercise can boost our self-esteem and mood in a mere 30 minutes. Well, I say it like it’s so easy when I wouldn’t even last 5 minutes of cardio. There are many ways in which you can exercise ranging from unnecessarily expensive to free of charge. Universities tend to have a gym at their campuses and they can offer some really affordable rates (especially if you go at off-peak times). But if you don’t want to spend a penny you can either go for a run around your local area or put on a Youtube video and work out at home. People tend to think that if they live in rented or student accommodations there is no way they can do squats or running due to lack of space. If it makes you feel any better I used to do workouts in a tiny loft room or on the staircase. After all, running up and down the stairs counts as an exercise as well.
Bring some home comforts with you
When I was packing all my stuff for university, little did I think about taking my actual blankets or old teddies. Thankfully, it somehow did end up in my suitcase so the first couple of nights on my own didn’t feel as… lonely. Make sure you pack all the things that make you feel safe and at home. It may be a couple of photographs. A jumper you secretly take from your mum’s wardrobe (with the intention of giving it back at some point). A blanket. Even a teddy bear that you’ve had since you were a baby. It all makes a big difference when you’re sitting on your own in a room that feels strange and empty. If you forget to bring it with you or you realise that actually, you could do with something else – ask your parents/siblings/friends to send you a parcel filled with homemade food and all the little things that make you feel better.
Go out and explore
Feeling out of place when you move out is completely normal, especially if it’s an area you’ve never been to. I can assure you, there are many gems to discover around you like a park you could relax in on your days off or a really cosy little cafe where you can do your work or read a book. It takes a while to find places like that and even if you lived somewhere for months, there may be many places that are still waiting to be discovered. Learning about your area will make you feel more like a part of the community. Look for places that make you feel at ease and give you this ‘I’m home’ feeling. Places where you don’t feel lonely when you’re alone. Libraries. Takeaway restaurants. Corner shops. The choice is yours.
Make the new space your own
Moving into a new place can be exciting, but after the first rush of freedom passes, you might find yourself in a space that just doesn’t feel like it’s entirely yours. There are many ways in which you can personalise your space to make yourself feel at home. Sure, you can whip out a paintbrush and paint the walls if you desire (check with your landlord first if you’re renting!) but if you’re not really into that, there are other options. Places like Poundland, HomeSense or Groupon almost always have decorative pieces to help express yourself as an interior designer. Options range from pictures, frames, and little fake plants (or real if you’re ready for that type of commitment) to bed throws, cushions and an incredible set of knives to make cooking a bit more fun. It’s a list of endless possibilities that can be found in really affordable prices and pretty much every shade you desire. The only limit is your imagination.
It’s okay to feel homesick. It’s simply a part of the process you have to go through to make your own home. You will miss your relatives, you will miss homemade meals and everything that made you who you are right now. And that’s fine. But instead of letting it overrule your life, turn it into a power that pushes you to build the best home for yourself. Being homesick doesn’t mean you’ve made the wrong decision. Moving out is just another step in your life and, trust me, it’s the craziest adventure there can be. So try and enjoy every second of it.
Until next time xx
How do you deal with being homesick?