Whether you recently started college or travel frequently, homesickness can be a very real thing. Anxiety and distress kick in and make a new setting seem unbearable. It doesn’t have to be that way though. I’ve received multiple letters and comments from fans asking how to combat this emotion. Since I’ve been away from home for almost two months, I thought now was a better time than ever to address the question. Because you can absolutely enjoy a new setting to its fullest and minimize feelings of homesickness when you keep a few things in mind. Here are my quick tips on how to deal.
- Start by knowing it’s totally normal. There is nothing wrong with being homesick. As mentioned, almost all of us go through it at one time or another. No matter how much I travel and explore different countries, there are still times when I yearn for my own bed and the company of my friends and family. That’s human nature to want to feel connected. Once you know that there is nothing wrong with feeling this way, the next step is how to battle it.
- Carry a keepsake. You can’t necessarily bring everything that makes your space feel like home with you, but by bringing at least one item–whether it’s photos or a small knick knack–that reminds you of home, you’ll curb some of that anxiety every time you look at it. Think of it as a way of bringing a little bit of home and comfort with you to a place that you might feel unfamiliar with.
- Keep busy. We often feel most homesick during the downtime when not much is going on. Whether it’s a weekend free of classes and studying or a long train ride where your mind is idle. Distracting yourself will keep those negative feelings at bay. I like to read a lot while traveling to keep my mind busy and to learn about all of the amazing things I plan on sharing on the site. Being busy is pretty broad, so there are a lot of ways this can work to your benefit. If you’re in a new city, explore. Take on the city as a tourist and then as a local and really try to submerse yourself in your surrounding. If you’re living in a new city or at a university find ways to meet new people through Meet Up groups or by joining clubs. Keeping routines and habits that you had while at home will also cut down on idle time and give you a sense of familiarity.
- Limit social media time. Homesickness can also be caused by a fear of missing out. That’s why it’s best to engage in social media interactions in healthy doses. You can check in with family and friends, but don’t get absorbed in thinking that you’re missing out on fun at home. What you often don’t think about is how people may be looking at your own adventures and feel like they’re missing out on something as well. But you’re never missing out in life. We should all live in the present and embrace what’s currently happening to us. Instead of feeling like your missing out, stay away from your phone or Facebook for a few days and get out there and enjoy your new surrounding.
- Connect with loved ones. There is no need to completely check out on your crew, so set up a schedule and embrace apps like FaceTime, Skype and WhatsApp and connect with friends and family from time to time. Knowing that they haven’t forgotten about you and hearing from a familiar voice should help ease any anxieties. I love checking in with my mom when I’m away. Just hearing her voice settles my soul.
- Keep some type of journal. Spilling words onto paper can often help ease your mind. It’s a good way to get negative feelings out and move on to more positive thoughts. Plus, keeping a journal doesn’t need to be just about writing a diary. It can also mean taking pictures or tracking your explorations. There are tons of ways to do this thanks to Instagram geotagging or you can use an app like Momento. You can share these with friends and family to make the distance seem much smaller between you.
Do you have tricks for beating homesickness? These have worked for me, but would love to know what you use to make it through off days.
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