Homesickness can be a cause of stress, depression and anxiety. It generally comes without any warning and can be triggered unexpectedly, so it is good to be ready to tackle it when it occurs. Being prepared will not stop it from happening but it may help to ease the experience and give a positive focus.
To try to ensure you do not get to the point where your homesickness is having a negative affect on your everyday life, as soon as it starts to occur, speak to family and friends and make those all important personal connections, and maintain them well. Knowing you can text, call, FaceTime/Skype or email, and that this contact with home can literally be at your fingertips, and quickly, can make experiencing homesickness easier.
There are some other things you can do too, that can reduce homesickness or even prevent it from happening, especially if you do them as part of your everyday new life – homesickness can happen when living/working/travelling abroad, or just being away from home for the first time but still in your own country.
Food is a big sense of home for most people. It has memories attached to it, is familiar and can be a great source of comfort. I have ordered a box of British goodies from the online store British Corner Shop. I was not experiencing homesickness at this point, but really missing some of my favourite biscuits (cookies) which you cannot get here. It is a small thing, but it certainly makes me happy to know I will be chowing down on a Custard Cream in the not so distant future.
Food is also a great way to be sociable, meaning you can get out there with friends or use it as a way to make new ones – I recently had a British bonding moment over an aubergine (eggplant) in the farmers market I regulary go to.
Having things around you that are from home, that you have brought with you, or someone has sent you, is such a nice feeling. I made the mistake of selling, passing on, or throwing out too much of my own belongings before my move. I should have brought more with me, but I have been lucky to have been sent some things to enjoy around my home. Make a space for your old belongings but also for new things.
Having something to do by yourself, or with people (but time alone is also healthy) is a way to keep focussed and have your mind occupied, often with a positive end result. A physical activity, craft, music, cooking, reading etc – just something you will enjoy can make homesickness easier. Plus you get to show/tell your family and friends what you have been doing.
I have potted some plants, reorganised some home decor, baked, cooked, walked, gone to the park, bird watched and been doing my photography – all things that either make me appreciate the community around me and where I live, or something I can do for others and share it with them.
Being away from home is a chance to grow, and gain experiences and new perspectives, so making the most of it is a great way to add something to your life and those lives of the people around you.
What other helpful tips do you have to help beat homesickness? Is there something you do that always helps you?