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6 Ways to Deal With Homesickness

Ria is an avid writer who is currently teaching English in southwest Japan. She loves helping new teachers and expats get settled in.

Stay Connected . . .

Sometimes homesickness is brought about by wondering what could have been or what you're missing out on. Staying in touch can help you remember that while you are missing out on some things, you're probably also not missing that much. The parties, gatherings, delicious food, and other perks of life back home will likely seem a little less numerous when seen from a distance.

Of course, keeping in touch with loved ones is naturally just a great way to keep your morale up. Even if texting is sometimes easier than calling, make the effort to talk via phone or Skype occasionally. The real-time connection is invaluable, and it's easier to vent about your adjustment struggles when you have someone on the phone.

. . . but Don't Over-Connect

It's easy to end up spending hours a day on social media chatting with your friends and checking out how they're doing back home. It's even more tempting when you're still in the same timezone and can talk in real time!

Set limits for yourself—maybe you delete Facebook off of your phone, or maybe you set a limit on how many hours a day you can spend on social media. (There are apps that can help with this!) If you don't, you could find yourself dwelling on what you could be doing back home, instead of focusing on the present task. This is especially hazardous when things are going badly at your new destination and you're tempted to throw in the towel.

Make New Relationships

No matter what your interests, there's bound to be a way to connect to people you'll get along with! This may be as simple as posting in a Facebook or Reddit group for people in your area, or maybe there's a club or other meetup you can attend. While you should take precautions to keep from getting scammed or harassed, new friends are critical for starting a new life somewhere, and putting yourself out there is a good first step.

This can be harder if you're abroad in a new culture, especially if you don't speak the language well. Look for ways to connect with other foreigners, or volunteer as an English teacher if your schedule permits. Sometimes, local governments or community organizations offer free or low-cost lessons in the local language, and this can allow you to make friends while learning you a valuable new skill!

Even if you're not that far from home, new connections can also help with any moving-related logistical issues you're encountering. Maybe that senior in your biology class knows about an on-campus resource you've never heard of. Maybe the manager at your new office knows where the cheapest farmer's market is. Whatever the situation, remember that two heads are better than one!

Keep Busy

In some cases, you may be too remotely located to make many new friends in your area. Or maybe you're just somewhat introverted and would rather try to manage homesickness on your own.

Look for a new hobby to pick up - especially one that you can't do back home. Maybe your university library has a massive journal collection on a topic you're interested in. Maybe your area is flat, safe, and great for cycling. The joy of a new hobby can quickly help balance out any lingering feelings for your hometown.

If you have large amounts of free time, try to set some goals for yourself, like spending a certain amount of time per week writing or journaling. This can keep you from resorting to marathoning shows on Netflix any time you're bored. If you have a little disposable income, consider weekend day trips or other small excursions to take full advantage of your new surroundings.

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Learn to Cook

The most tangible source of homesickness is usually food. New college students may miss their parents' cooking, expats will inevitably miss something from home, and even a short move can result in longing for a much-loved restaurant.

Since eating out can be expensive, most people find that cooking is their best option for replicating home flavors. If you're in a college dorm, this can be difficult, but get creative! Maybe a classmate will lend you their apartment kitchen if you promise to share the food with them.

You may also run into difficulties getting the right ingredients, especially if you've moved to another region or country, but do some research online to see what substitutes are applicable to your recipe. (This list has a bunch of healthy substitutes, as well as substitutes that may be applicable to expats in many countries.)

Don't get discouraged if your first attempt doesn't taste the same. With a little practice, you might end up creating something better than the original!

Remember Why You Came

Moving somewhere new is almost always a choice. You came here with the hope of getting something - whether it's a college degree, a great new job, an adventure, or even a rekindled relationship with family living here. Use that reason as fuel to keep going and look ahead instead of back on what you had.

Even if the move wasn't really your choice, take the time to reflect on what you stand to gain in this new place. Your old home may have been toxic, unsafe, unsustainable, too expensive, or some other trait that made it no longer the right place for you. In this new place, your future is a little brighter, and the only way to find out what's in store for you is to make the most of it!

If it helps, put a visual reminder of your new journey somewhere in your living space, in your office, or on your cell phone. Maybe it's a memento of your first day in town, or maybe it's a memento from home. Either way, resolve to make the most of the positive things your new place offers, and remind yourself of that as much as possible.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Liz Westwood from UK on November 08, 2018:

Interesting tips here. The internet is an advantage compared to 25 years ago when staying in touch was much harder over long distances. But you also give the balanced side of too much connectivity.

OLUSEGUN from NIGERIA on November 08, 2018:

Wow! Intriguing! Beautiful write up

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