For those of you who might not know, I moved from my home in Ireland to South Africa just over one year ago. I have never regretted moving here & I’m so glad that I took the leap to follow my heart & my dreams out here but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been a roller coaster ride. Last month I was hit with an unexpected, almost overwhelming feeling of homesickness that lasted about a week & that was the first time that I had really felt that since the move last year. I missed my family, I missed my friends & I missed all of the familiarities of life back home.
It was that overwhelming feeling that led me to write this post in the hope that I could help anyone out there who is feeling that same way. Homesickness isn’t easy but I have a few tips that have made me feel better that I’d like to share with you:
Video Call Those You Miss
It goes without saying that if you’re missing friends, family or a partner back home that speaking to them will help. If I’m feeling homesick I always find that speaking to those that I love & miss makes me feel like I’m there with them & gives me such a lift. However, I say this with a warning as speaking to those loved ones too often DOESN’T help. If you’re constantly Skyping/FaceTiming those back home it can make you more homesick or prolong this emotion as you almost become dependent on that frequent contact with them. I tend to video call my family once per week which I think is the perfect amount as I look forward to speaking to them but I don’t feel homesick for the other 6 days of the week. It’s all about finding the perfect balance as you must also deal with living somewhere new, away from everyone else.
Don’t Keep Looking At Photos/Videos
This is one that I have been guilty of all too often. When I’ve missed home I found myself scrolling through my videos & photos so that I could see the faces & hear the voices of those that I love. While at times this can make you laugh & smile, looking at photos too frequently will heighten your emotions & make you feel worse so try to limit this as much as you can.
When I feel down the best thing I can do is keep myself busy. Sitting around & wallowing in your own misery never helped anyone so when times get tough, you’ve just got to get up, get dressed & do whatever you need to do to keep your mind busy. My favourite ways to keep busy when I’m feeling homesick is to work out at the gym, clean & organise whatever I can, play a game or get out for the day. Whichever way you keep yourself busy is completely up to you but whatever it is, make sure it keeps your mind distracted.
Make Comfort Food From Home
I always thought that this would make me feel worse but I’ve found that it helps. I live in a completely different country now where people don’t eat my cultural foods & if you’re in the same situation I’m sure there has been times when you’ve craved that delicious dish from home. I live with my boyfriend who is South African with an Indian heritage so a lot of the time we eat Indian food which I love, however, sometimes I find myself missing my mumma’s familiar, homely cooking. When I feel like that I’ve found that it’s good to cook up one of my favourite homely Irish dishes as it comforts me & makes me feel like I’ve been transported home for a moment.
Talk About It
One of my flaws is that when I’m emotional about something I don’t like to talk about it & I like to pretend that everything is fine. The problem with this is that your emotions build & build without your noticing until you snap. It’s a completely unhealthy way to deal with things & it’s something that I’m working on. So from past experience, my advice to you is that when you’re feeling down & missing home, talk to someone. Just say it out loud & let them know you’re having a bad day. It really makes you feel better to get it off your chest & to know that you’re not alone.
Remind Yourself Why You Moved
It’s hard to leave everyone you love & everything you know behind but generally there’s a reason why you did it. I for one did it for a new beginning, to make something of myself & to be with the love of my life. Everyone’s reason is personal to them but if you made the choice to move then you need to remind yourself of that because generally there is a good reason. Homesickness is a temporary side effect of moving away & if your reason for moving is bigger than that, then you need to keep your reason at the forefront of your mind & keep telling yourself that it’s worth it.
Listen To Happy Music
The quickest way to make myself good is to play happy music. I have a ‘Feel Good Music’ playlist on my iPod & I really recommend making a playlist of your own. When I put on happy, upbeat music I just cannot stop myself from smiling or from dancing around the room. If you want a quick solution to your homesickness so that you can get on with your day – this is my best solution for a quick fix.
Accept That It’s Normal
While some of my tips will help you forget about the emotions that you’re feeling, it’s also important to accept them, understand them & deal with them. Don’t wallow in your misery but know that what you’re feeling is completely normal, that you’re not alone & that these emotions will pass & you’ll soon feel like you again. You are not a weak person because you feel this way. So practice your self-care & make yourself feel better – you will get through this.
I really hope that these tips helped you to feel better & that they help you to get through whatever you’re feeling. I’d also like to hear your tips for dealing with homesickness so feel free to post them in the comments. Just remember, this too shall pass!