When you feel homesick, you may experience feelings of loneliness, anxiety, grief, depression, sadness or withdrawal, all while having a longing for nostalgia. Homesickness is common when you are separated from your home environment or loved ones. This can occur for a number of reasons, such as moving for study, work opportunities, emigration, long-term trips or visits, and even hospitalisation.
Homesickness is ultimately a form of loss. When experiencing it, you may be mourning the absence of familiar supports, sensations and routines. Humans crave the comforts of familiarity, and can often feel overwhelmed when their circumstances greatly change. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you are experiencing homesickness. In fact, it’s so common that you’ll easily find comfort from discussing homesickness with others. Everyone’s experienced it at least once!
Here are some tips to help you should you be experiencing homesickness:
1) Explore your new surroundings and make a mental map of them. Take note of interesting places and familiarise yourself with the layout. This can help you to feel more comfortable in your new community.
2) Consider the positive aspects of your new situation. What unique experiences may you have? What things can you learn from your new surroundings that you couldn’t from your old ones?
3) Allow yourself to feel sad as often as you need it. It does no good to bottle up your emotions. If you cry as often as you need, you’ll progress through this stage of grief much sooner.
4) Establish a new routine as soon as you can. Make sure you strike a work-life balance and have enough food, exercise and rest. As you adhere to this new routine you will soon feel comfort and familiarity.
5) Consider how often you will keep in touch with your family or friends. You can do this easily via phone, email or social media. Adjust the frequency of your contacts with home based on how you feel. If your feelings worsen from frequent contact, try and schedule it a bit farther apart.