Tag Archives: reward yourself

Homesickness in College Students

How to Deal with Homesickness in College

One of the main causes of distress in students is homesickness. According to the UCLA Higher Education Institute, over 30% of college students experience low-level homesickness, and about 69% of first year college students experience severe homesickness.

Homesickness is more than the concept of missing home or missing family — it’s the feeling of longing and feeling out of place. Whether they’re nearby, out-of-state, or studying in a foreign country, college students are not only experiencing a new phase of life, but they’re also at a new school, in a new place.

Although it’s normal to feel homesick, wanting to enjoy a home-cooked meal with family or not wanting to deal with adult responsibilities and academic pressures may quickly make homesickness grow. Homesickness builds in waves and can turn into more serious mental health issues if not taken seriously.

Last year, Assist America worked on a severe case of homesickness, helping an 18-year-old student from Germany who was hospitalized after his homesickness transformed into serious depressive episodes.

In the weeks leading up to his hospitalization, the student had shown increased signs of homesickness, including mentioning that he wanted to go home, a decrease in the desire to participate in activities and social events, and suicidal thoughts.

After a while, his roommates told the university staff about his behavior, and he was later admitted to the hospital. Once he was stable, Assist America arranged for transportation supervised by a medical escort to take him back to Germany.

Tips for Overcoming Homesickness

Some preventive measures can be taken by both parents and students to help overcome homesickness.

For Parents

  • You can help your child prepare for college life by visiting the campus ahead of time so they can familiarize themselves with its surroundings.

  • In the years before college, consider sending your child to summer camps, activities, or to visit family away from home , so they can gradually learn to deal with separation anxiety.

  • Avoid expressing your own anxiety about your child leaving for college in front of them. Instead, talk optimistically and positively about their new experiences to come.

  • Encourage your child to find trusted friends and adults on campus. These relationships will help them build connections in their new community and ease the transition.

  • Consider sending little surprise care packages to your child. Include their favorite cookies or candies, a new book, gift cards to their favorite stores, a letter, and a funny family photo.

  • Make the most of technology. Staying in touch on the phone or through video chat is easier than ever and can help the whole family feel connected.

For Students

  • Stay engaged in campus activities. Many colleges organize welcome week events to help students get used to college culture.

  • Establish and stick to a daily routine, even if it’s difficult to stay on track with exams and events around every corner. Routines are good for dealing with stress and anxiety and will help you adjust to your new community and class schedule.

  • Feeling homesick is normal, as long as you can handle the situation. To help battle feelings of loneliness, keep a family picture on your study table, video-chat often, or go old-school and write letters to family and friends back home.

  • Find ways to reward yourself as you make gains in your new routine. For instance, after submitting an important assignment or taking a big exam, take some time to do something fun or treat yourself with something you like.

  • If campus is only a drive away, you and your parents and friends can plan a few weekends throughout the school year to visit each other on campus, at home, or to meet at a halfway-point.

  • When packing for college, take some of your favorite decorations from your room to make your new room feel more like home.

  • Know what services are available to you to help you cope with homesickness. Too often students don’t realize all the things their college has ready to help them with exactly these issues. Never shy away from seeking advice from a trusted adult on campus about these services. Or you can look into these services privately on your school’s website.

While Studying Abroad

  • Students who study abroad are even more likely to feel homesick since they have to adjust to a whole new culture and lifestyle, learn to speak a new language, and meet all new people from many backgrounds.

  • A challenge while studying abroad is knowing who you can ask questions and how and where to get help. Before leaving, create a reference list with the names, contact details, and roles of people that will be helpful during your stay. Once you arrive, be sure to add anyone important you meet to your list. 

  • Schools often have an international student department who will organize welcome events and get-togethers. Be sure to attend those activities, especially at the beginning of your time abroad.

  • Many international programs also have Facebook groups where former and new students can exchange tips and experiences. Joining these groups to make connections and prepare before leaving home.

  • Make friends with people from the same country as you. When you’re missing home, spend time together. Your shared experience of studying abroad can make you feel a little closer to home.

How Assist America Can Help

Assist America provides useful services that can reassure parents and students studying out-of-state or abroad.

For example, Assist America can help students find where and how they can refill certain prescriptions before they even leave home, so they can plan their departure with peace of mind.

Students who know they will need to see a doctor while away from home can call us or Assist America for referrals. Assist America also provides emergency trauma counseling for students on the phone, with referrals for follow-up sessions with specialists.

Finally, students going to a foreign country can use the Pre-Trip Information tool on Assist America’s website and the mobile app to familiarize themselves with their destination.

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International Boost Self-Esteem Month

International Boost Self-Esteem Month

February is International Boost Self-Esteem Month, and boosting your self-esteem is great for fighting depression and anxiety and is good for your overall mental wellness.

Boost your self-esteem by avoiding negative self-talk. How do you label yourself? Stupid, intelligent, ugly, beautiful? Avoid being too critical of yourself and fight negative thinking.

Avoid Negative Self-Talk

 

When you’re feeling like you’ve failed, celebrate what you’re good at. Are you a great friend, partner, co-worker, parent, pet-lover? Remind yourself of your accomplishments.

Humans have flaws, and that’s okay. Knowing what you’re not good at can help you improve, communicate, and avoid unnecessary struggle.

Overcoming Your Flaws

 

Don’t forget self-care to boost your self-esteem. Does taking the time to choose your outfits the night before help you feel more put together and confident? Does reading the news help you feel more informed? Put aside time for these kinds of things.

Self-Care for Confidence

 

Set goals that are achievable, and then, celebrate your accomplishments. Incremental, little goals help you reach big goals one step at a time. And when you make progress, reward yourself! 

Setting Smart Goals

 

Compliment others. Just like giving gifts, giving genuine compliments to others will make you feel good and look for the best in the world.

Compliment Others

 

Go work out to boost your self-esteem. Not only will you feel and become less out of shape, but exercise also releases endorphins that make you happier and more energetic.

Working Out for Self-Esteem

New Year's Resolution Tips

New Year’s Resolution Tips

It’s time for New Year’s resolutions once again, and we can help you set smart goals with our New Year’s Resolution Tips.

Be realistic while setting resolutions. If you want to start cooking all your meals at home, your first goal should be to eat at home a few times a week, and slowly ramp it up over time.

Planning for Realistic Goals

 

Be specific. “Losing weight” doesn’t give you something concrete to work toward. Instead say, “I want to lose 15 pounds over the next 6 months.“

If you choose a big goal, like learning another language, break it down into achievable steps, like signing up for a class, buying a tool, or studying vocab each week. And don’t beat yourself up if you’re not fluent at the end of the year.

Achievable Goals

 

Make it fun to stick to your goal. If you’re trying to lose weight but love desserts, learn about healthy alternatives and making lighter desserts. If you’re artistic, photograph nature to get moving outdoors.

Making Goals Fun

 

Set deadlines. Making a plan is the only way you’ll actually get started. Meal plan in advance so you make smart choices at the grocery store or get a planner to schedule gym time.

Setting Smart Deadlines

 

Make every goal a healthy one. Been wanting to redecorate or remodel? Do things you can yourself, even if that just means painting the walls, and get moving without even noticing.

Make Everything a Healthy Goal

 

Reward yourself when you reach milestones. If you save money from each paycheck for 3 months, go do a fun activity you’ve maybe been cutting back on, like going to the movies.

Rewarding Yourself for Success

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Healthy Weight Week 2015

Many people who diet the first week of January binge the second, and are ready for better choices by the third week of the month. That’s why this week is Healthy Weight Week!

Finding Your Healthy BMI

 

Stop restricting calories! Losing weight with low-calorie diets can screw up your system. Instead, eat balanced and filling meals.

Don't Count Calories

 

Cooking at home, where you can control what is in your food and how much you eat, can be better than using expensive dieting products.

Protein Shake Powder

 

Making healthy choices while remembering that not everyone can look the same can help you focus on a healthy weight.

Embracing Healthy Differences

 

Not getting enough sleep can make your hormones imbalanced, actually making you hungry! So don’t skimp and you’ll fight your hunger and up your energy.

Healthy Amounts of Sleep

 

Stay active and accountable. You are the only one who can keep yourself from going back to bad habits. Find things that motivate you like a cookbook that inspires you or a friend to workout with.

Finding Motivation to Be Healthy

 

Reward yourself when you reach milestones. Finally hit a new dress size? Buy that outfit you’ve been wanting. Did you go to all the workouts you committed to? Sign-up for the fun fitness class you’ve been eyeing!

Reward Yourself At Milestones

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