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Post-holiday syndrome tips for international students!

Hello everyone! Happy new year! I hope you all have a wonderful time in your winter break! I certainly have! It was refreshing to finally get a well-deserved break before working on the final essays and exams preparations!

After finished my last assignment on the policy brief about how to strengthen innovation in Indonesia for greater well-being, I finally was free and actually enjoyed my first winter break! I may have mentioned previously that I have never left Asia before, so I was really excited to see the Christmas atmosphere here, especially the Christmas market in Manchester! Those who went there probably know that it was amazing! I love the ambience and the cute little stalls selling everything from crafts, Christmas merchandises, and foods! I love it so much that I actually went there 2 (or maybe 3) times!

Post-holiday syndrome tips for international students

Anyway, after all the fun here with my friends, I was fortunate enough to be able to go back home to Indonesia for 10 days. It was funny how I felt emotional to leave my room and get separated from my wonderful new friends. Within 4 months, I already feel like this is my new home. I asked my friends about this, and most of them felt quite emotional as well to leave this beautiful city of Manchester. We reassure ourselves that this is not for long, and we will be back here before we know it. So, we all went our separate ways for winter break, leaving half of our heart in Manchester where we belong.

After 10 days of having such a great time with my family and friends, I came back to Manchester just several days before the new year, thinking that I can have more time to prepare for the exams. But it was not as easy as it sounds apparently. I have to be honest with you, coming back and leaving my family and friends back home once again was so hard, especially with my friends here who were still away in their home country. I felt lonely and unmotivated. It took me 2 days after coming back to actually start working and to shake off the jetlag as well as the terrible feelings I had. I talked to some of my friends about this, and they actually felt the same way. I like to call it Post-Holiday Syndrome (PHS).

Readjusting back to a student's life after a long holiday from your home country can be really hard. So here are some tips that I find helpful for myself to get back to reality and shake off those post-holiday blues:

  1. Find something that you love to do.

    Re-familiar yourself with your surroundings by doing the things that you like. Walk in Whitworth Park, get your usual coffee in your favourite cafe, have some gym time, shop in your regular stores, or just go strolling in the city centre. Try to go to places that you usually go to regularly. Take your time to get used to it, while doing things that you love, so you can find it enjoyable.
  2. Find your routine and rhythm.

    Coming back after a long holiday can make you disoriented a little. Try to make a daily routine that you can get used to. Simple things like waking up, making breakfast, going for a jog, doing groceries shopping, and so on. Distract your mind from that terrible feeling of being lonely and sad. Homesickness can be hard, but keeping yourself distracted and busy with these routines, will make you feel better and settled.
  3. Keep in touch with your family and friends.

    The best cure for being lonely and homesick is by actually keeping in touch with your loved ones. Make a regular video call session so you have something you're waiting and excited for regularly. Share your feelings with your trusted friends and family. Letting it go is better than just keeping it to yourself. If some of your friends are in town already, make some phone calls and meet up with them for a coffee or lunch. Meeting them may give you the feeling of being at your second home once again.

These tips are the ones that actually work for me. So, if you are an international student, and have Post-Holiday Syndrome as well, you can give it a try. Mental health is something that we should not underestimate. I really hope it helps!