Homesickness is the sadness and melancholy we experience when we are away from our bed, our family and friends – in other words the time when everything back home is better, cheaper, and more fun.
It’s perfectly OK to be homesick – it’s a natural feeling that happens to the best of us and can be a reminder of the things that we care about. It’s just not particularly fun, so we put together eight easy hacks that will help you cope with homesickness – or even prevent it from bothering you at all.
1. Celebrate 24 hours of homesickness
Being homesick is a bit like wallowing after a breakup. Sometimes you just have to be miserable and eat too much ice cream for a couple of days – but then you need to move on. What if you celebrated a homesickness day and got it out of your system at once? Try to eat food from home, listen to music from home, call all your friends etc. and then, after 24 hours, stop and go on a sightseeing tour with that group of friends you met last week.
2. Make a schedule
My personal number one advice for feeling at home in a new environment: Get into a routine. This can be anything from exercising regularly to always having coffee and pastry on Sunday mornings. Scheduling certain activities – and sticking to that schedule – will give you something to look forward to and make your new home feel like home.
3. Find a familiar space
Similar to getting into a routine is the importance of finding a “favorite” place – something familiar that helps you feel at home, like a bench in the park or a cafe with comfy couches. Soon, baristas will know how you drink your coffee, or you’ll start seeing the same people walking their dogs every day.
4. Beat boredom
Boredom is a great catalyst for homesickness – the more time you have to think about home, the more you want to be there. Make sure you stay active and busy by joining a gym, volunteering, taking a class or signing up for activities at your school. Being out and about will also be a great way to make friends and immerse yourself in local culture.
5. Pick real life over social media
Staying in touch has never been easier: We can text, talk and even video chat for free. Photos and video let us see what everyone does where and when, and it can be hard to not just focus on all the things that are going on back home. But: social media ignorance can be bliss – the reason you went abroad is because you wanted to experience something new, after all.
6. Meet new people
The more people you know, the easier it will be to be distracted and have something to do. This is usually easier when you are in school or travel in a group – stepping into a room with people you don’t know can be scary, but you never know what kinds of friendships can be found outside your comfort zone (and in that room).
7. Take (lots of) photos
Taking lots of photos is a fantastic way to explore your new home – and the more familiar you get with your surroundings, the more at home you will feel (check out our top travel photography tips). Plus, looking at photos can help you appreciate your new surroundings and remind you of why you picked the destination in the first place.
8. Make people come visit you
This is not the cheapest solution to cope with homesickness, but sometimes it can help when your friends or family members come visit you. You can show them around and their excitement about your new home will likely prove contagious and remind you just how lucky you are to spend time in (insert location).