Often, for jobs, for college, or simply for opportunity we must, at some point, move away from home. With that, for most, comes the occasional bout of homesickness. While generally mild, this can become emotionally crippling if left to fester and hinder your ability to truly enjoy and experience your new life and get the most out of your mood. Here is my (fairly) fail-proof method for dealing with homesickness.
You have to give yourself one night to wallow and wallow hard:
1. Identify the things that you most miss about home. No vague feelings of nostalgia! What is it you’re thinking of that you would have if you were home? A type of food, music, specific people? (If it’s a significant other, that one’s harder. We’ll talk about long distance relationships another time.)
2. Do the biggest, cheesiest thing that you can that addresses these things, bigger and more than you’d ever actually do it at home. Listen to local music on full blast, watch your favorite movie, make a big meal, drink tea or chocolate milk or scotch or whatever is most home-like for you.
3. Reach out to your family and friends back home. While it can be hard to reach out, even g-chatting a friend from high school you don’t get to talk to that much can feel more like home than anything. Get someone to tell you about what’s going on there. Read the front page of the local newspaper. Let your parents tell you about their friends and their dog walks until you’re bored. Feeling like you’re still connected will assuage some of the longing feelings.
4. Flip through old photos (Facebook is great for this), allowing yourself to remember the good times and the less joyous moments too.
5. If need be, cry on your floor drinking wine and screaming the lyrics from your high school musical. Dance to whatever song feels like home. Find a way to exhaust yourself.
6. Go to sleep. Wake up. Take a deep breath. Remember why you’re here and why you left home. Go for a walk. Buy a good coffee. No more wallowing. Look for the positive. Make lists of the things you’re excited about and the things you’re thankful for.
And if these feelings last too long, go home for a visit. And remember, there’s no shame in going home if it’s what you need to do – your mental and emotional health are more important than any one opportunity could ever be.