Loneliness, Isolation & Homesickness.
Feeling lonely, isolated and/or homesick is very normal but can be a very painful experience. If you have moved away from home for the first time, it is natural to feel a kind of grief reaction for the loss of familiarity and comforts of home. If you were previously well settled you may find that social distancing rules have meant that you cannot access groups you used to enjoy and/or that socialising in general is much more difficult. Whatever the cause, if you are feeling lonely, isolated and/or homesick, there are things you can do to help yourself.
Look after yourself.
The brain is a complex organ that is responsible for how we think, how we feel and how we act. Just like other organs in our body, it can be affected by our environment and behaviour. Feeling lonely, isolated and/or homesick can affect your appetite, your sleep and your motivation to cook, clean and get outside. Not eating or sleeping properly and not getting fresh air, exercise and natural light can make feelings of low mood and anxiety worse. You can try and avoid getting into this cycle by:
Make yourself a home.
Decorating your room and personalising your space may not stop you from feeling lonely, but it can be a great help in easing homesickness. It can also help to make your room feel more like a homely haven, rather than somewhere you feel trapped and isolated.
If your landlord allows it, put up posters and pictures and add some soft furnishings. Bring some of your favourite things from home if you can, anything that can make your surroundings feel more familiar and cosier.
Get involved with your Students' Union.
There are loads of opportunities for you to get involved whether that be sport, activities or volunteering.
- Societies – did you know that as a member of the SU you have access to over 100 societies. https://www.upsu.com/societies/
- Volunteering - volunteering allows you to acquire new skills, boost your CV, and even get you some extra qualifications. https://www.upsu.com/volunteer/
- Give it a Go - is a Students' Union initiative which aims to showcase opportunities and taster sessions available frohttps://www.upsu.com/volunteer/m Clubs, Societies and Student Groups. It allows students to try a club or society for a one-off cost before they commit to membership. Many clubs and societies will run an introductory session and brand it as their 'Give it a Go and is always on the look-out for new recruits. https://www.upsu.com/giveitago/
- Sports Clubs - Sports Clubs offer much more than just playing sport and UPSU sports clubs are committed to delivering an excellent sporting student experience by providing you with a wide range of opportunities to get involved in sport and activity, exploring new and exciting places, developing personal skills, celebrating sporting achievements, developing a community and pride and a chance to develop friendships for life. https://www.upsu.com/sports/
- Buddy Scheme-If you’re looking for someone to meet for a coffee, to try a new sporting or cultural activity with or just to have a chat with (in person or virtually), then sign up as a participant in the UPSU Buddy Scheme: https://www.upsu.com/volunteer/buddyscheme/
Talk to friends and family about how you are feeling. It can help to talk things through and work out ways of overcoming these feelings with somebody you know and trust. If you feel able to talk to a housemate or a friend at university, you’ll probably find that you’re not alone in how you are feeling; shared feelings and experiences can be an effective way of connecting with others.
If you are looking for an online platform that can offer 24/7 support, in addition to being a friendly, social environment, you can access togetherall https://togetherall.com/en-gb/about-us/ alternatively the University wellbeing services : https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/student-life/services/student-services/counselling