When I was younger, I was completely unemotional. I never cried. I avoided physical contact and everything was bottled up and locked away. It was even a running joke amongst my friends that I must have a heart made of stone (onset by my lack of tears at the end of My Sister’s Keeper).
Now let us fast-forward a few years to the present day – where I am currently living across the other side of the world to my friends and family – and I am an entirely different woman. I’m emotional AF! I cry. I miss people. And worst of all – I get really bloody homesick. Which kind of makes me miss the old, unemotional me. But alas, I think she’s been replaced with this downgrade.
So how do I deal with it? A lot of people will tell you to call home often, but that convention doesn’t work with me. So I’m here to tell you about a few of the Unconventional Ways of Dealing With Homesickness that I’ve found to make me feel better.
Let the tears come
You’re emotional for a reason and feelings are supposed to be felt. Let them in! Allow yourself to feel and try to understand what triggered it. You might just be after a hug or a chat, and there might be someone closer by who can give you that. But homesickness is bound to happen. So let yourself cry, let yourself feel sad. Allow yourself to miss your loved ones. Just try not to let it consume you.
Of course, sometimes sadness does consume us. But distractions are key. There’s nothing that exacerbates a negative mindset more than allowing yourself to wallow and feel pitiful. It’s exhausting and unproductive. So the best thing to do is get out there and take your mind off it.
Think about activities that will sincerely distract you, though, rather than pampering your desire to wallow. A trip to the cinema instead of a movie in bed. Or perhaps a fast-paced gym workout as opposed to a slow walk. Something that I like to do is to find a complicated recipe to cook or bake, and then set about sourcing the ingredients and focusing on the process. You would be surprised at how much of a great distraction this activity is! Try giving this poached coconut and lime fish a try.
Following on from the above, getting out and exploring your environment is a great way to take your mind off home. Enrich your senses and create new memories! Try a bustling market or a museum, a walk by the seafront or along the river. Or if you’re really adventurous, have a look online and see if there are any 1 day itineraries for your city/town. There are bound to be some that will get you out and exploring new places.
Remind yourself why you’re here
One of the easiest ways of getting over my homesickness is to think about how thankful I am. I love Australia: the beaches, the people, the pace, the weather and the wildlife. I love everything about it (except the spiders, I hate the spiders). And being here is something that I have dreamt about since I was a teenager. So when I’m down, I think about how much I love it here.
This is an easily applicable activity to your own situation, too. Whether you’re on holiday or you have moved away from home, like me. Just think about all the things that you have been able to see and do since you’ve been away and how different your life is because of it. You’ll be feeling brighter in no time.
Using technology productively
Calling home is what everyone tells you to do when you say you are feeling homesick. But whilst I must admit that I’m in constant contact with my family, I avoid it when I’m feeling sad. This is because I find that Facetime can swing me one of two ways. I’ll either come away happy that I’ve seen them, or sad that I’m not with them. And when I’m homesick, FaceTime seems to exacerbate the distance for me. So perhaps approach video chats with an air of caution, taking into consideration how you already feel. Remember that technology is a gift, use it well.
Whenever you feel homesick, just look up, because the moon is the same wherever you go.
– The Goldfinch
I hope that you, too can find a little peace from your homesickness using one or two of the above. Remember, homesickness can simply be a yearning for arms to hold you in the place that you call home, rather than for home itself. It can be focused on a person, thing or feeling and it certainly isn’t bound to a building or a town. It’s good to accept your emotions and to embrace how you feel in the moment, but try not to dwell on them for too long. You’re doing great and your adventure is worth it.