How to Deal With Homesickness and Loneliness

Becoming friends with your roommate can help you overcome homesickness.
... James Woodson/Photodisc/Getty Images

Whether you're leaving home for the summer to work as a camp counselor, are going on a vacation with a friend's family or you are off to college, homesickness and loneliness are par for the course. Even if this isn't your first time away from home, being away from your family and close friends may make you miss what you've left behind. Despite your unpleasant feelings, you can deal with -- and eventually get over -- your homesickness.

1 Forging Friendships

Being away from home -- and your friends -- may make you feel isolated or lonely. The University of Oregon's counseling and testing center notes that while homesickness is normal for incoming college freshmen, making new friends can help to alleviate some of the loneliness. The same is true for younger teens, who are away from home at camp or perhaps working for the summer. Instead of keeping to yourself, make a point of meeting your neighbors, co-workers or fellow classmates. Keep in mind that making friends takes time, but slowly you will develop bonds as you engage in social situations. If you aren't sure where to start in your quest to make friends, begin with your roommate or -- if you're starting college -- join a club or an extra-curricular activity.

2 Alone Activities

Although making new friends or engaging in social situations can put an end to your homesick loneliness, you aren't always going to have other people around. Dealing with your alone time is a key part of beating the blues you are feeling. Avoid wallowing in your loneliness; involve yourself in an activity that interests you. Try a physical activity such as jogging, join a yoga class or take an afternoon trip by yourself to the local art museum.

3 Keeping Connections

Just because you don't see your mom, dad or BFF every day doesn't mean that you can't communicate with them. If you're missing home -- and the people at home -- turn your homesickness around and keep in touch with your friends and family. Send an email to your friend who now lives in another state, text your mom or give your dad a quick call when you get a break in your schedule. Although keeping in touch with your friends and family is one way to overcome your homesick feelings, don't spend so much time talking to them that you neglect new social connections.

4 Temporary Time Line

The counseling professionals at Penn State Beaver note that homesickness isn't the same as depression. Although you may feel sad, homesickness is temporary and will go away with time. Understanding that your homesick and lonely feelings aren't here to stay can help you to see the bright future that's ahead of you, instead of making yourself feel down or blue, take the transition to your new home away from home step by step and remind yourself that there are positive aspects of your new situation.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.