People often just want to escape for no obvious reasons. Your elder brother and his buddies are continuously camped in front of the TV, your baby sister won’t evade your room, and you want some privacy or period to yourself. But when you get it, may be at a friend’s house for an all-weekend movie, or at an overnight camp, you are astonished to find yourself missing the chaos at home a bit.
What is that all about? Believe it or not, you are feeling homesick.
What is homesickness?
When you are longing for home, you miss familiar things like your family, friends, neighborhood etc. You can miss something as simple as your pet, your bed or even your pillow or the tree outside your window.
Homesickness isn’t something confined to kids or teenagers. Every individual living away from family feels homesick, that is natural.
Teens can feel homesickness when they leave home for the first time, like a summer job, during a vacation with a friend’s family, or going off to college. Moreover, homesickness is one of the remarkable challenges faced by people overseas, particularly those living out of the country for the first time.
Homesickness is fundamentally an intense form of emotional distress or anxiety that results from feeling detached from acquainted people and places. People, forced out of their regular routine are mostly the victims of the situation.
What causes you to feel homesick?
Homesickness can arise from a number of different reasons for example,
- Difficulty in adapting to a new environment
- Feeling isolated or cut off from your regular support system
- An anticipated lack of control over what is happening around you
- Feeling confused or troubled knowing a new environment/culture/language
Research by Nightline discovers that one in every three students, studying far from home, experiences nostalgia. Homesickness can disturb anybody, whether you are at home or an international student. This does not matter if your university is just a few miles from your hometown or on the other side of the world.
What are the symptoms of homesickness?
Indications of homesickness are as follow,
- A disturbed sleeping pattern
- Feeling angry, nauseous, nervous or sad
- Being isolated, lonely or withdrawn
- Getting overwhelmed, insecure, anxious or panicky
- Feelings of low self-esteem or self-worth
- A lack of appetite or concentration
Tips for dealing with homesickness
Before you even start working or living abroad, look at the following methods to minimize the feelings of homesickness. These tips will surely help you to relish your journey.
Don’t spend too much time alone
It might be attractive to treat your room as your own little safe place, but staying in too much will only make you feel bad. Detaching yourself will only make you feel intensely homesick, as you will think much about what you miss at home.
Try to keep yourself busy. Arrange outings with your mates, get yourself a part-time job, spend your spare time in library reading something productive rather than staying in your room. Try to spare some time for extracurricular activities.
Start as a tourist and then be an expat
You should visit the most popular places and attractions to get to know the city. This basically lets you to know the country’s culture and history immediately. Then, once you feel good for the place, begin to find your niches like your people, the places you find comfortable, a great park for jogging, a restaurant that has food you’re obsessed with, or whatsoever that is valuable for your day-to-day life.
Keep your expectations realistic
One of the biggest illusions about the university is that every day is a hangover with buddies, where you’ll enjoy minimum responsibilities and get drunk most nights of the week.
It is cool to see everyone else’s Facebook, Snapchat stories, Instagram and think that you are not having as good of a time as they are, or that you’re doing something erroneous. But never ever forget that social media just shows a superficial snapshot of what people’s lives are really like.
Try not to make a comparison between your university experiences to others, and do not imagine every single day to be the best one of your life.
Make new friends
Remember, homesickness is about missing the protection, security, instinctual need for love, feelings and qualities usually related with home. Do whatever you can do to create a homely sense of safety at your new place that generally means “make the new place your own place.”
Try to meet new people and give it time, this is very easy and simple way to build your own new traditions. However, make sure that the traditions are not very much complicated. Try to make simple moves, like going to the grocery store every Sunday morning or weekday evening, if you want to hit the masses. Do the same things as much as you get used to doing the same thing over and over in your new life, the more you build a sense of familiarity the more you feel a sense of safety in your new place, with new people and those homesick feelings start to moderate.
Bring home your comforts
You should keep the things with you that make you feel comfortable or happy. It can be a rag of a blanket that your Nan gave you when you were seven or your favorite teddy bear. We all have different things that cheer us up, when we are not feeling good.
Whatever your comfort things are, make sure you carry them with you to your new place. Do not be upset about the stick you will get for having fluffy toys in your bedroom, there are more chances that your flat buddies have theirs hidden away somewhere too!
You should make combined efforts to bring a positive attitude around you. This will help you to fight against homesickness in a major way. Plan things into your day that you enjoy doing and can anticipate to, whether it is a nice hot bath, socializing with friends or an episode of your favorite TV series.
Staying positive also brings happiness around. You will probably find it much cooler to make new friends which also help to keep homesickness away. It is said that if you are struggling, do not feel as though you cannot tell people you are not feeling good. Professional organizations and friends are always there to help.
Take a break from Skype
No doubt technology is a wonderful way to stay in touch with people no matter where you are in the world, but it is not a good thing to get too connected to your family members and friends. If you are spending two hours every day conversing to your parents, family members and catching up on every tiny thing happening at home, you are not spending that time to discover and connect with your new cosmos.
It is really very essential, of course, to keep in touch with people back home, but you should make a healthy balance between your ties to home and the present place. It is essential for developing your life and a sense of belonging in your new place.