The days are getting darker and darker and those like little gremlins flu and colds are wickedly starting to flourish. Moreover, this year the world seems to be on the precipice of eternal Armageddon. Add in, “I’m away from home, my classes are hard and I haven’t made any friends,” and anyone’s mood can turn into a pile of rubbish. Rather than wallow in how depressing it all is- here are 5 strategies to beat the homesick blues.

1. Focus on Now

Can’t get home just yet because you or your parent’s can’t afford it? Get over it and get over it now! Here is a little life tip: thoughts become words and words become actions. If you are constantly feeling sad and telling everyone you know how depressed you are, then guess what? You will feel positively terrible and may even get sick. You will dwell on it, waste time feeling miserable and probably lose at least a few new friends bemoaning your plight. Life isn’t always fair or perfect but it is what we make of it. Put your circumstances into perspective. Most likely you are very lucky, you have a family to miss and you can talk to them for free on Skype! Your now, your reality now, is you are not at home.

2. Take Some Extra Time and Redecorate

One of the real problems with dorm rooms is that they are aesthetically unappealing. Take an afternoon or a weekend and make an effort to make your dorm room feel a bit more welcoming.

A personal favorite is budget redecorating. We would all love to be Martha Stuart but lets face it, who has the time or the money? A lot can be accomplished by moving furniture around and choosing a new room color using a cool paint selection tool. A great color scheme tool is available online at sherman-williams.com. Think about adding some curtains and some storage. A new dorm room bedding set just in time for chilly weather and some under bed storage to control all the piles will make your small space much more cheerful. Our Campus Market (www.OCM.com) has an excellent selection of dorm room bedding sets and other dorm room items. Turn on your favorite music, rock out and enjoy yourself. Even better, entice a few friends to help and make it a real party with a pizza delivery.

3. Let the Light Shine In

One of the reasons we all get so morbidly grouchy this time of year is that our bodies are getting reduced amounts of  vitamin D. Vitamin D comes from exposure to sunlight and it has been proven to improve depression and keep people healthier. Things you can do to improve your levels of Vitamin D include taking a supplement and getting adequate amounts of winter sun exposure. You can also create a little light therapy by adding some additional interior lighting and increasing the wattage on your light bulbs.

### Note from Stefan: I am doing a lot of research in the field of ‘Chronobiology’ currently. You can expect an article about the effects of light soon from my hand 😉

4. Buy (or make) Yourself One Nice Thing

Really this isn’t a plug for the greater good of the economy. Don’t go hog wild but look at your budget and see if you can afford just one nice thing and give it to yourself. Self-presents like this have substantial value. They provide self-affirmation and increase self-worth. Moreover, you will be getting something you like and really want. Self gifts are excellent for getting over that feeling of being home sick and alone.

### Note from Stefan: Something else I’ve become interested in lately is the philosophy of Minimalism. Also something you can expect to read about. Buying things to make yourself happy? Maybe not my thing anymore.

5. Add a Skill

When the mind is really active and focused it is difficult to feel sad. Find a skill that you are interested in. Always wanted to learn Polish? Well now is the time! Love computers? How about learning how to build a website or joining an animation group on campus? Like sports? Go outside and maybe join the rock climbing club. No matter what you choose, you will be improving yourself. Self improvement always makes people feel great.

Feeling homesick is absolutely a normal part of going away to college for the first time. However, it is important that you acknowledge and deal with these feelings so that they don’t start to negatively affect your grades. Use these suggestions and create a few strategies of your own to get past this hurdle. In a few weeks you should be feeling much better.

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