Homesickness. It happens to everyone. Usually around the third week of being in a new place. Before that, you’re too busy getting acquainted and exploring this new place. But right at that three week mark, it starts to sink in: You’re a million miles away from your loved ones, you’re a stranger to a new place, you find yourself leaving an extra hour early to get someplace because you’re bound to get lost, and if you’re abroad, you’re tired of constantly trying to find a good WiFi connection in order to connect with those you’ve left behind.
It starts with boredom and laziness. After visiting the hundredth church, you seem completely over it, even though you’re not. You’re just exhausted and homesick. You’d kill for a home-cooked meal from Mom, and just for some familiarity in this new and different place. Many of us go through this. Instead of wasting time being sad about missing home, here are a few tips for coping with homesickness.
1. Find a routine.
Whether it’s taking the same walk to and from school everyday, or promising yourself to venture off to someplace new, get into a routine. Maybe start your morning off with a walk, and then make it a point to eat lunch outside under the sun, or make time to read. Whatever it is, building a routine will help you find some familiarity in your temporary home.
2. Settle down.
Once you have this routine, settle down and get used to it. Especially after a long weekend traveling or a busy week at school, make sure you make time to lounge and be a little lazy. I know you’re trying to fit as many adventures possible into a small time frame, but don’t burn yourself out. Make time to catch up on Netflix, take a nap, read a book, and just relax.
3. Keep a journal.
You’re going to want to look back on all the good and not so good times, so make sure to write it all down! Write down what you’re feeling, smelling, seeing, and about who you’re meeting.
4. Look up.
Sign off of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. We view life through a lens too often, make sure you remember to look up and enjoy the view. Disconnecting from social media will also help with homesickness because you won’t be able to see what your friends and family back home are doing every second of everyday.
5. Make new friends.
Looking up and disconnecting will also allow you to make new friends. Hey, a new place should come with new friends. Skip the “I’ll text you the details,” and just plan to meet up at a certain place at a certain time and have a blast.
6. Have a good cry.
It’s totally okay to be sad. It’s perfectly fine to miss home. Everyone needs a good cry every once in a while. What matters is what you do after that cry. Turn it into something positive, catch up with your loved ones via Skype, or write them a letter, but make sure you then go out and make the most of your time in this new place.
7. Take a deep breath.
I remember tearing up as I stood before the Roman Forum for the first time. All of these crazy emotions came over me out of no where as I realized, “I’m really here.” Somewhere I’ve wanted to visit my entire life. Somewhere with such an immense history. It’s a feeling that I’ll never forget, a moment in time that is locked in my memory forever. After that moment, I try to capture these memories as much as possible. Whenever I’m in a new and beautiful place, I take a deep breath and appreciate the world for what it is and take a photo with my mind before taking one with my DSLR.
What about you? What are some ways you deal with homesickness?