Prior to the beginning of 2020’s pandemic, the world had become incredibly mobile. Thanks to multiple factors, including the range of flight options and technological advancements to our communications systems, it was completely normal for many of us to live and work in countries other than our home nations.
COVID-19 may have put a stop to jet setting and general travel for the most part, but there are still plenty of people living far away from home. And with limited options to return home if needed, homesickness can become an issue.
According to Ricks Warren, an Associate Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, homesickness is linked to anxiety, depression, insomnia, concentration difficulties, and even a loss of appetite. So while it might primarily affect the mind, there are some very real physical manifestations of homesickness too.
If you’re feeling far away from your family, friends, and home culture, there are some things you can do to relieve that feeling. Here are three top tips to help overcome homesickness.
1. Don’t fall into a victim mindset
When we are feeling very nostalgic for home, it’s all too easy to start giving credence to negative emotions and thought processes, including feeling like a victim. While it’s next to impossible to never engage in a few “woe is me” moments, it’s best to keep these to a minimum.
Additionally, try and stay positive about your host country and the people around you. Blaming others and/or elements of the local culture you don’t like is only going to increase your sense of “otherness” and further alienate you. Try and stay as upbeat as possible about the host country.
The mind is a powerful tool; put yours to its best use in a homesickness funk by engaging in positive thought processes.
2. Stay in touch with people back home
In 2021, we have so many different ways of staying in contact with friends and family, no matter how far away they are. From Facebook Messenger to Zoom and everything in between, these days staying in touch is more a matter of choosing a platform than anything else!
You should figure out the time differences between your home country and your host country, and find out when your loved ones will be online, to make it easier to connect. Remember, you don’t always need to open long missives or talk on the phone for hours, staying in touch could mean exchanging a few memes or a joke or two.
3. Keep up to date with news and views from home
Just because you live somewhere else doesn’t mean you can’t participate in your home nation’s culture! Try using a VPN to change all your search engine results to what you’d see if you were at home, or use that same VPN to switch your Netflix account to that of your home.
You can also read newspapers, watch the news, and participate in forums and group chats the focus on your home. There’s no need to duck out of your country’s culture just because you’re not physically there!
Hopefully these tips for combating homesickness will help you feel more relaxed and at ease. Remember to try and stay positive and keep in contact with those you love.