Overcoming Homesickness


Stay Away from the Phone
When I first got to Australia, I wanted to FaceTime home all the time to catch up on the latest goings-on and make sure nothing had changed overnight. But I actually felt I missed home more after I hung up the phone. A part of me felt I was missing out and I really wanted to keep that connection to home. After about 3 weeks I decided to stop Face Timing for a little while and just catch up with the fam through texts and the odd phone call. I did this for about a month and it actually was one of the best things I ever did. My mom always says “live in the now” and it is so true!! I needed my mind to be present in Australia while I settled in and not be constantly thinking about home. Taking a break from FaceTime really helped me settle in and “live in the moment”. After that, the phone calls to home got a lot easier and my heart wasn’t aching every time I hung up. So, if you find yourself in the same situation, try taking a little break or else just cut down how often you call home. Another helpful tip is to stop checking every Snapchat or Instagram story your pals from home are putting up when they’re all together or going on a night out. The fear of missing out can be so real and will only contribute to your feelings of homesickness. I’m not saying ignore your loved ones at home, dying to know how you are getting on, but try to embrace this exciting opportunity and focus on new experiences, not what you could be missing at home.
Explore Your New Surroundings
A great way to settle into a new area is to explore your new surroundings. Take a few days to stroll around the streets of your new city, visit some local cafes and see some of the popular sights. This will give you a feel for the atmosphere and pace of the city. This is more important than you think, I know when I moved to Sydney, I loved the people I met and working, but there was something for me that was missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it. It wasn’t until I moved to Melbourne, that has a bit of a more relaxed atmosphere, that I really felt at home and more comfortable. So familiarising yourself with what is around you and getting used to the pace of daily life helps everything not to feel so alien. This is essential for overcoming homesickness and is what can make a place a home-away-from-home.
Set Goals
One of the most important things in overcoming homesickness is remembering why you moved away in the first place. When you have been living away from home for a little while it’s easy to fall into the monotony of everyday life. Try to remind yourself of the initial excitement when you first booked those flights and all the things you planned to do. If you are feeling homesick it is easy to think “I could be living this same life at home”. That’s when it’s time to make a list of all the things you want to do, places you want to see and goals you want to achieve in your new abode. Start with small goals that can give you a bit of momentum as you tick them off and work your way up! Setting out your goals will keep you focused and remind you of all the reasons you decided to get on the plane in the first place.
Join a Club
It is good to broaden your horizons and find a community who share the same interests as you, especially when you first move to a new place. You have plenty of options here! Join a sports club, sign up to dance class or seek out a local book club. Whatever takes your fancy. Being part of a community can really give you a sense of purpose and help you settle into a new area.
Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
By talking about things that have worked for me when trying to overcome homesickness, I am by no means undermining the fact that it is a very real feeling and can significantly affect your mental health*. Being away from home can be extremely difficult for some people and there are definitely points where all I wanted to do was stay in bed and have a good cry and sometimes that’s exactly what I did. It is so important to allow yourself to feel the way you are feeling. You have stepped out of your comfort zone and it is ok to feel overwhelmed and yearn for the normality of home life. Acknowledge it, accept it and take a bit of time to yourself. Have a cry and feel sorry for yourself but then move on. It might be for an hour or if might be for a day and that’s ok. The important part is to learn to pick yourself up and do things that will take your mind out of that space. Self-care is essential for promoting a positive mental attitude. So, take care of yourself and be aware of how you’re feeling, be kind to yourself and your mind. Most of all don’t beat yourself up about being homesick... we’ve all been there. Talk about it with someone because you are definitely not alone!! These feelings can be extremely overwhelming and can make the thought of living in a new city terrifying, but by opening up and talking about it you will soon learn that many of your new and old friends have had the same experience.
So, if like me, you are struggling or have struggled with homesickness try some of these tips so you can embrace this opportunity wholeheartedly.
*Please speak to your GP if you think you are becoming depressed.