HOW TO COPE WITH HOMESICKNESS WHEN TRAVELLING« Back
By Adrianna Piekuś
How do you cope with longing after your family, friends or with simply missing an ordinary day, when you’ve just moved abroad? Homesickness is a topic, which today we’ll go over with a fine-tooth comb.
Travelling abroad gives us the opportunity to admire incredible views, certainly different from our daily surroundings. Even if you move to a new country with a clear purpose, e.g. to volunteer, you’ll also have time for sightseeing and other activities. Your new friends will stimulate your curiosity, you can also learn about the culture of the new country, taste exotic flavors and discover new cuisines, and you will have many opportunities which will encourage an open mind. Gaining new experience and exploring new areas may be really thrilling and exciting, especially at the beginning, when you have just arrived.
Everything is well, but … sometimes you just feel soooo lonely. That feeling, when you realize how much you miss your country, can be very strong indeed…
How can you make yourself feel better then?
First of all, we need to explain what homesickness exactly is. In simple terms, it’s an intense form of anxiety or emotional disorder. That feeling can be characterized by different factors, such as being lonely, having obsessive thoughts about home, and comparing your home to your current situation. If you notice your self-esteem is reaching dangerously low levels, or you feel helpless, overwhelmed by stress, or start experiencing problems with concentration, those could be symptoms of homesickness. It happens because you can’t control what’s happening around you, and your support system suddenly disappears.
Do you know what’s important when you notice the first symptoms of homesickness? You can’t let yourself be led by those emotions, and you must hold your ground. Just try to get busy!
But also - you need to understand and accept your homesickness. It’s a natural process, so give yourself some time to adapt.
Read our 12 tips that will help you deal with homesickness:
1. Go for a walk to explore your new surroundings
It’s always good to know what’s going on around you. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet some new people? You can also search the Internet for information about your new home. If you have that knowledge, you can calm yourself down, and allow yourself to feel more comfortable.
And believe me - the more you know, the more at home you’ll feel.
2. Prepare your room in a way that you will feel more homely and cozy
Hang a picture on the wall, or put a photo of your family on the table. This will give the room more energy, which will then flow back to you. Just keep around those memorabilia, which will remind you of your real home, and help you stay more connected. Arrange your interiors in such a way that you’ll feel really excited to come back every single day.
3. Eat! Enjoy the local food, try different restaurants and pubs
You’ll learn more about the culture and have fun at the same time! Find out what the ingredients are, maybe they will inspire you to cook something yourself. However, always remember to follow a healthy diet. :)
4. Keep in touch with your family, but don’t talk too long
Instead of talking with your family on Skype on hours on end, you can spend that time in other constructive ways. For example, you can get to know your current community better or explore your environment. You must find a balance. Of course, it’s good to talk with your family and friends once in a while, but stay focused on being present where you actually are at that moment. Take photos and share with them your experience!
You shouldn’t feel bad for feeling homesick. It’s most likely that there is someone out there who has the same feelings as you do, and it will be easier to handle this emotion if you find someone you can talk to. Someone, who understands you, and has similar experience. Talk about your emotions, and maybe you’ll find the support you are looking for. People are different, and full of surprises.
6. You don’t have to change your habits
For sure your day out there is much different from your usual day back at home. But why not continue with the activities you love? If you’re passionate about sport, do it! Would you like to practice yoga? Do it! Are you interested in climbing, reading a book, or going to a music club? Look around and find out what the options are! There are many possibilities, you just need to do some research. Definitely there are many people with the same hobby as you have. Maybe some entertainment will bring you closer to someone?
7. Running! It’s good for everything!
When you’re overwhelmed with what’s going on in your life, running will help you relieve your thoughts, keep you healthy and in good shape. You could always just go for a walk or on a bike ride – whatever is you wish. You’ll soon see how quickly you’re going to start feeling better. When planning your free time – try to create healthy habits and be creative.
8. You’re in a new country, so learn about the new culture!
Everything is new for you, and sometimes you can get lost in this new situation, customs and language. It’s normal. If this should happen, look for your comfort zone, and try to find places which are important for you, and spend your time there. Then you’ll become more relaxed, even while living in a foreign country.
9. Be careful of the bad habits
Momentarily improving your mood with shopping, alcohol, etc. are not effective ways to better manage your homesickness. Avoid them!
10. Think positive!
Try to control your negative thoughts, and always try to find a positive accent in a negative moment. You can focus for a while on what makes you feel bad in order to understand your emotions and where they are coming from. Learn and discover yourself.
11. Document your positive feelings to reinforce them
Take photos, make movies, take notes about situations that make you happier. And in a moment of weakness, take a look at those documents, and of your story told by them. It’s not so bad now, is it?
12. Limit your time on Facebook
You don’t need to observe and track every moment of your friends’ lives. You have a unique life yourself, and are going through a great and unforgettable experience. Focus on this!
And you? Have you ever felt homesick? Share your story in the comments!