Feeling Homesick? Know The Signs And 7 Ways To Cure Homesickness
Missing home when you’re away from it isn’t a foreign or a particularly distressing feeling. Feeling homesick is quite common when you move to a new city for college or choose to move to another country for work. Missing home when you’re away isn’t supposed to be distressing and yet you feel homesick.
The comfort you find at home can’t be found anywhere else and when you begin missing the comforts of home, the simple joy of being in the place where you have fond memories can be distressing.
While missing your home isn’t a big deal, when the feelings of distress – that come from missing your home – persist, then it can be termed as homesickness. When left unaddressed, homesickness and the distress it brings can increase and begin to affect your life significantly.
Below, let’s explore what homesickness means, what it might look like, the symptoms of homesickness, and how to cure homesickness.
What Is Homesickness?
Homesickness, while not a formal mental health disorder, can be described as feeling extreme levels of distress – emotional, mental, and physical – that often present when you are separated from your home or your comfort people – aka your loved ones.
You may experience homesickness when you move temporary or permanently away from home like relocating to a new city, going to college, or being away for a long time for other reasons.
Anyone can experience homesickness – teens can experience homesickness in college and homesickness in adults can come with a major lifestyle change that forces them to leave the comfort of their home, loved ones, or hometown.
Homesickness, while can be experienced by anyone, is more likely to be experienced by people who are susceptible to neurotic personality disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, and even separation anxiety.
The Symptoms Of Homesickness
When you feel homesick, it can not only affect you emotionally but mentally and physically too. Homesickness symptoms can mimic those of other mental health disorders including depression and anxiety.
Just like other disorders, the response to homesickness depends from person to person, however here are some common emotional and physical symptoms of homesickness that you should be aware of:
Homesickness Emotional Symptoms
- Depressed or low mood
- Anger or overly emotional
- Social isolation
- Difficulty focusing
- Low or no motivation
Homesickness Physical Symptoms
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Headaches or migraines
- Body aches and pains
- Eating too much or having no appetite
- Stomach issues
- Low energy
The symptoms I experience may differ from those you or others may experience. Each experience depends greatly on the circumstances that took you away from home.
Some people may experience only sadness (mildly) that might go away after a few weeks whereas others may experience extreme distress and anxiety while grappling with symptoms of depression.
Homesickness, if persists for longer periods, can begin to affect your other aspects of life, including your work/career responsibilities, relationships, and social life. When homesickness gets too much, some people may even turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drinking excessively, taking recreational drugs, and gambling.
In children and teens, homesickness can manifest as throwing temper tantrums, lashing out at others, or expressing their rage at being separated from their home.
How To Cure Homesickness?
Dealing with homesickness means you need to balance your ability to stay connected to your past while newly adjusting to your new normal. Curing homesickness takes time, patience, and effort but it’s possible with these careful steps on how to cure homesickness:
1. Accept Your Feelings
Homesickness can make you experience a lot of emotions, from sadness and anger to hopelessness and worry. These feelings are common so instead of denying your feelings, accept them. Instead of judging yourself for feeling bad, keep in mind that it’s OK. You can try mindfulness exercises or meditation to learn how to acknowledge your feelings.
2. Find A Healthy Outlet
Once you learn to accept your feelings, you need to figure out a healthy outlet to express those feelings. Some people find creative arts helpful. Writing, dancing, painting, or exercising can help. Instead of isolating yourself, spend time in group activities. It’s OK to feel unmotivated but engaging in healthy activities can help you cure your homesickness.
3. Explore Where You Are
Step out of your comfort zone and explore where you are. Whether you’re in college or in a new city for work, go out and explore. To cure your homesickness, you need to take steps to move forward. Do something that you enjoyed at your home. Do something familiar while exploring the city.
4. Keep Souvenirs Of Home Close
Having small reminders of home close to you can also help cure homesickness. A trinket, blanket, or a family heirloom can help ease your distress. These little souvenirs can serve as a reminder of comfort and can make it easier to adjust to your new home. Keep these objects close to feel closer to your home.
5. Make New Memories
When you move to a new home, you’ll find yourself missing your life back at home. You may find yourself visiting old memories but instead, you need to try and make new memories. It’s good to hold on to old memories but you need to create new memories too. It’s part of the process.
6. Take Care Of Yourself
If you’re feeling anxious, sad, or overwhelmed due to homesickness then make sure you take care of yourself first. There’s a connection between how you feel emotionally and feel physically. So make sure you eat a healthy meal, exercise, and sleep well. You can benefit from making lifestyle changes when you’re coping with homesickness.
7. Stay Connected To Your Home
Make sure you never lose touch with your hometown or people at home. Stay connected with your friends and family through social media. You can create a schedule where you can video call with your loved ones and have a party. You can always stay in touch with your old life back home and make new connections in your new home.
What NOT To Do When Feeling Homesick
There are some unhealthy coping strategies that you should AVOID when coping with homesickness.
- Taking drugs, alcohol, or other substances to cope
- Engaging in gambling, shopping, or other addictive behaviors
- Taking on too many things at one time
- Making decisions without thinking about the consequences
- Making several major changes at once
- Disconnecting from your support system
- Socially isolating yourself
Feeling anxious and depressed when missing your home is common but don’t let homesickness take over your life and other aspects of it. While these responses are not unusual, if they persist for long, then it is recommended that you seek professional help.
Sometimes, the symptoms of homesickness can be an underlying sign of anxiety disorders, depression, adjustment disorders, or personality disorders. With the right diagnosis and help, you can determine how to cure homesickness and move on by adjusting well in your new home.
I hope this article helped you understand what homesickness is and how to cure homesickness. For more, you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on social media.
You can also share your thoughts and tips to cure homesickness with us in the comments below.