Whether you are away from home for college, or you’ve moved to a new city or country entirely, or have relocated for any other reason, that poignant feeling of emptiness and longing is as acutely painful as a knife wound to the chest.
While your feelings are real, the notion that things will never change and there’s nothing to do about it is far from true. In fact, there are several ways you can combat your homesickness, kick the anxiety and depression to the curb, and rise above the clouds to view and experience your new situation in an entirely different light. Hey, you might even end up enjoying this new abode. Check out these tried and true tricks for curing the “I wanna go home!” blues.
Homesickness Remedy #1: Set up new routines
Routine is the foundation for healthy, happy living. Even if you’re the type to balk all conventions, your life follows some sort of routine (even if that routine is to sleep till noon, eat whatever is in the fridge, and f-routine at 4 o’clock!). And that’s a good thing. Routine allows us to minimize decision-making (a major stressor for most people), saves time, and gives a structure to our day. Instead of wallowing in self-pity (justifiable but not very helpful), routine forces us to get out and get things done, occupying our minds with other things rather than the unhealthy cycle of sob-inducing memories and wonderings about life back home.
Routine is also helpful because familiarity breeds comfort. And homesick people could use all the comfort they can get. There are hundreds of apps out there to help you set up a routine. Download one and get started. Even if it’s nothing extraordinary (don’t try to be super productive), just a basic daily routine will help you break out of the homesickness rut.
Homesickness Remedy #2: Get a VPN
Another reason we feel homesick is because of plain old FOMO. Not the FOMO we get from wondering what our friends are up to (that’s a lot deeper). This is a more superficial feeling of missing out on what we are used to experiencing. What’s Titus Burgess going to get himself into this week on “Dishmantled?” How will Natalie Dormer and Nathan Lane scare the crap out of you yet again in Penny Dreadful? And just what’s going to happen to Mark Ruffalo (and Mark Ruffalo!) in the next installment of I Know This Much is True??
These are questions that eat away at most people when they can’t access their favorite shows. The good news is this is one of the easiest symptoms of homesickness you can cure. Signing up with a top VPN provider will keep you connected to your hometown on many levels. You can easily and instantly stay on top of what's going on back home, whether it’s TV shows, news, search results, even trends you like to follow.
Homesickness Remedy #3: Use social media to keep up with friends
Another way to eliminate feelings of despair is to stay connected to friends via top social media channels. Facebook pages, tweets, and Instagram photos will make you almost feel like you’re right there with your besties having fun. A VPN might be helpful for this too, because some social media channels are geo-restricted.
A word of caution with this one, though. You need to limit your social media interaction because too much mulling over what’s happening over there can bring on a new bout of homesickness worse than the first.
Homesickness Remedy #4: Use social meet-up apps to meet new people
Staying inside all day is only going to perpetuate your feelings of depression and sadness. Psychologists recommend getting out as soon as possible when you move house to help you avoid or get out of the all-too-common isolation rut, which is probably why this remedy is recommending using technology to fend off homesickness. Social meet-up apps and websites help people find other guys and gals in their area looking for fun, social interaction, or something to do. These sites let you find people via location interests and other commonalities. So you can discover other people in your area who enjoy doing the same things you enjoy doing. And then you can connect you so you can start doing those things together! It’s a great way to get out and make new friends in a new area or situation.
Homesickness Remedy #5: Find a cause
Like we said, getting out of your four walls is a great way to break the loneliness cycle. And giving back will always generate positive feelings (it’s that warm, bubbly feeling you get when you’ve done something nice for someone else. I feel a hug coming on!). Go online and start your search. If you’re at college, connect to the college network and look for campus events you can help with or get involved in. New city? Google for soup kitchens, non-profit organizations, or animal shelters (yum!) where you can volunteer. Not only will you keep yourself busy so you don’t have time to mull over home, but you’ll be doing something good and making new friends, relationships, and routines - something that establishes roots in your new locale.
Homesickness Remedy #6: Amazon baby!
So far, we’ve given you healthy suggestions for how to get rid of those unhelpful longings you have for home. This one is slightly different in that we’re recommending you indulge...just a lil! Hankering for your favorite brand of chips? Hate the toilet paper from the local supermarket? Are you missing a specific type of hand cream? Whether it’s snacks, toiletries, or some other type of commodity, go ahead and spoil yourself a bit. Order your hometown favorites online and have them delivered to your new location. Amazon has millions of products, so you’re bound to find what you want. But even if you want a more niche item, most online stores will deliver to you with pleasure.
Homesickness Remedy #7: Talk to folks back home using Zoom or Skype
But not too much. It’s good to stay connected with the people you love, especially family and close friends, via video chat apps. Just don’t become too obsessive or overly-connected, or you’ll never move away from your longings for home. Be sure to stay in touch with old friends and fam, but give yourself the space to develop new relationships in your new place of residence too.
Homesickness Remedy #8: Utilize workout videos
A natural upper, exercise has been clinically proven to improve your mood and on multiple levels. Aside from the massive charge of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, moving around and exercising helps fight depression, anxiety, and stress, and even helps you think more clearly, boost and increase self-esteem, and allows you to sleep better. Win-win.
There are hundreds of thousands of workout routines on YouTube and online in general. From weight training to pilates, cross-fit, and pure cardio, there is no end to the source material. And you don’t even need a gym membership. Search for your flavor of fitness videos, and create your own workout routine (routine is good, remember?!) to combat this internal enemy.
Homesickness Remedy #9: Get help
At any given time, more than 30% of college students are suffering from homesickness in the United States alone. And that’s not including all the people who have relocated or moved homes for other reasons. This should help you realize that the way you’re feeling is normal and something many people go through at some point in their lives. Allow yourself some adjustment time, be kind and patient with yourself, and let yourself have some good cries in your pillow. This is all normal and perfectly healthy. However, if you feel like your homesickness is getting out of hand, it might be a good idea to seek help. A top online therapist is a good way to get help and maintain your privacy/anonymity. Sign up for an online therapist, and you can chat, video call, or phone call with a professional to help you work through this rough patch in your life.
Homesickness Remedy #10: Blog or vlog your feelings
Writing down how we feel is an excellent way to express ourselves. And what’s really amazing is that when we express our feelings, often we find that those feelings go away entirely or are easier to shoulder. Jot down your feelings, blog about it online, or create fun or moving video blogs to document your journey or just to get those feelings out in the open. It’s a real catharsis.