When I decided to enroll at ASU, I knew I was making the decision to forego Wisconsin winters in favor of the Arizona sun. However, that didn't make it any easier when my mom sent me a photo of the season's first snowfall two weeks ago, and I wasn't there to witness it.
If you're studying far away from home, you know how difficult it is to live somewhere so radically different from the place you've called home your entire life.
I'd like to share some strategies that I've used to navigate the challenge of coping with the homesick blues.
1. Get out of the house
Going out in 2020 is a bit trickier than in past years given the ongoing pandemic, but doing something as simple as going for a quick stroll around campus or the neighborhood — provided you stay away from crowded areas — is a safer way to get out of the house and take in your surroundings.
Getting out and taking in the beauty of an Arizona sunset, the bustle of the city or the architecture and landscape on campus will help you appreciate and grow to love the place where you live now.
2. Take care of yourself
When you're missing home and feeling down, it's tempting to lie in bed all day and neglect your physical health. Trust me, I've been there. Your physical and mental health are connected to one another, so taking care of one is sure to help nurture the other.
Get moving, take a shower and feed yourself. If you need an extra boost, treat yourself to a relaxing bath or a soothing face mask. Focus on today instead of yesterday, and your mental health will thank you later.
3. Keep in touch
Chances are, you're not just missing the place you call home, you're also missing some of the people there. While the negative effects of social media are often scrutinized, social media does allow you to keep in contact with loved ones, no matter where they are on the globe. Sending a loved one a text to ask how their day was will brighten their mood as well as yours.
If you don't have anyone back home, don't be afraid to reach out to a friend who is here. Building happy and healthy relationships with roommates and co-workers foster a sense of community that helps to quell homesickness.
4. Surround yourself with familiar things
This may seem counterintuitive if you're trying to move on from home. But the trick isn't to simply move on, it's to learn to accept your new reality. Ask Alexa or Google to stream your favorite radio station from back home, or ask someone who cooked for you growing up for their recipes.
By keeping familiar things around, you can feel fulfilled with fond memories of home while you work forward through each day.
If you're struggling with your mental health as a result of homesickness, schedule an appointment with ASU Counseling Services or call ASU's dedicated mental health line at 480-921-1006.