Homesickness: Catch it, reduce it and get rid of it. Here’s HOW.
It can be difficult adjusting to a new environment. You feel lonely and miss your familiar routine, your family, friends, and neighborhood. You long for your kitchen with your food and drinks and being able to find your way around automatically. You wish you could just speak your native language.
Homesickness can arise soon after arrival, or after a few years, and it doesn’t usually go away overnight. It takes effort to get through it, and even if it seems impossible at the time, it is doable, and well-worth the effort. One thing is certain for everybody: nothing will change unless you put in some effort.
These tips that can help you beat the blues of homesickness and see life through rosy glasses a little sooner:
- Decide that the new place is your home. Make the decision that from now on, that is your sanctuary. After all, home is where the heart
- Stay in touch with the people you miss back home. E-mail, Skype, Whatsapp, or Face-time. While staying connected to your loved ones, also find a way get out and then share your experiences abroad with your friends and family back home.
- Find a nice place to visit frequently. This can be a gym, a library, a coffee shop, a restaurant, or a bookstore. Alternately, join an activity group or class. At first, you might feel uncomfortable in these places because you’re the newbie, but this feeling quickly switches after you get to know the others. Simply keep going, and “fake it till you make it”. In no time, you’ll pass that stage and feel a lot more comfortable.
- Go and explore your new Walk around a lot, run, bike, or drive, and take different routes. Get lost a few times and you’ll begin to recognize the area better until you finally start to feel at ease.
- Eat local food. Taste different things and find food that you enjoy, so you’ll know what to order next time. Make the effort and learn to appreciate local traditions.
- Make a list of places to explore in your new country. Do some research and make it your It could be a list of cities, theaters, or boat trips.
- Create a routine. Establish routines to feel a sense of familiarity. Whether you work or not, find regular habits that are fun and that you look forward It could be yoga class at the gym, a Sunday mountain bike ride with a biking group, or a meet-up at the bar on Friday nights. You’ll feel like you have a goal, a purpose, and it helps to beat homesickness, almost guaranteed!
- Exercise! This is crucial! At home or abroad, exercise is key to feeling not only healthy and in shape physically but also mentally. Make a plan that allows you to get some exercise and fresh air every day. Go for a run, go to the market by bike or just try to walk as much as possible during your lunch break, whichever you prefer, just make an effort to create healthy habits. Your body will be happier, and you will feel better!
- Take a piece of home with you. Your favorite pillow, night lamp, vase, or a clock you received from grandma. Take pictures of your family, friends, and pets. If you have a painting that you’ve always loved, take it with you and hang it on your new walls.
- Put yourself out there and create a net- work in your new surroundings. Socialize with other expats as well as locals. Meeting people and making new friends is essential to avoid feeling isolated.
- Accept your feelings of homesickness and remember it is a very common experience among adult expats and even more common among expat children. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. When you become aware of your feelings and even talk about them with others, it will help you overcome them.
- Remember that it’s worth it. Do not forget that you are in the middle of an amazing opportunity. If you find yourself doubting that, think about all the challenges you faced and overcame. The stories and personal growth that you are offered through this journey are yours and will stay yours forever.
EXPLORE. DREAM. DISCOVER.
I look forward to staying in touch with you, and sharing more information about integrating smoothly or becoming culturally competent, no matter where you are.