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Coping with homesickness

Techniques that can make staying away from home an experience to learn from reports Samir Parikh

education Updated: Aug 04, 2010 09:46 IST
Samir Parikh

Many of you would currently be facing a situation where you may be moving from your hometown to a new city, with new people around you. It’s a fresh beginning but anxiety, nervousness, tension and worry are some of things that may be bothering you, along with the excitement of being in a new place and becoming independent. How do you deal with this anxiety? What can you do to make this transition easier for yourself?

Life is all about transitions. As you grow older, transitions predominate. When you moved from kindergarten to junior school, from junior to senior school, it was all a part of transition. See the current move too as a transition; as a new path that holds within it new experiences and, new people and things.

Look at it as a learning experience and this will help you in coping better with the changes you are experiencing.

It is important to view this move to a new place amid a new set of people as a sign of growth and progress. Any new situation is just such an opportunity. It will help you in life if you imbibe and integrate newer experiences and ways of living.

Meet your seniors
As you venture to a new place, meet your seniors. Try and develop a comprehensive understanding of what the existing systems are, what are the expectations that professors may have of you, what are the additional requirements of the course and what would be the best way of handling these. This will help you ensure that you do not lag behind and that these situations do not become a source of distress for you.

It is of crucial importance that you make friends and develop a social support network for yourself in your new place. This will help you relax and take a step back from all the stresses that you may experience, along with missing the people and places you have left behind. You need to take out time for yourself, which could mean going out and exploring your surroundings, going for movies, visiting new places, and trying out new types of food.

Stay connected
Being connected to those back home is one sure-shot way of ensuring that the experience of being homesick is reduced to some degree. Staying in touch with family and friends will help abate the anxiety you may experience. Share your experiences with them and exchange notes on how things are developing at their end.
Make them feel they are an integral part of your life as that would make you feel that they are there to support, guide and be with you even despite the physical distance.

The author is a psychiatrist, and chief, Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Max Healthcare