With the passing of Thanksgiving and the nearing of Christmas and New Years it is beccomming more and more difficult to fend off the pangs of homesickness.
Feeling homesick is a very painful experience. Whether you are on vacation and missing your home, traveling for work and missing your spouse and/or kids or in my case you moved to the east coast and miss your friends and family back on the west coast. It often isn’t only one person we miss, but rather a large number of people who we are used to seeing on a regular basis.
On top of this we may miss all of the comforts of home – maybe it’s going to a certain market or clothing store on a regular basis, or maybe you miss the warm weather and outdoor activities. Maybe you just miss the place itself – and if it’s somewhere you grew up, or have spent a lot of time, then you might miss that place just as much as a person. Being there puts you at ease, and means that you know what to expect and what is going on around you – and conversely being away leaves you feeling far from home and anxious as you don’t recognize where you are or have the same memories attached.
Homesickness is a vast range of different feelings of loss and yearning that combine to form just one feeling of not quite belonging and of yearning for another time and place.
So how do you overcome these strong feelings and start to make the most of where you are at this current point in time?
First of all, if you let yourself ‘dwell’ in your homesickness then this of course will only serve to make you miss it more and will prevent you from making the most of where you are now. What you should do instead is make the most of the place you are now and throw yourself into what it has to offer. This might mean socializing with friends and ensuring you spend time with the people around you, or it might mean seeing the tourist sites or throwing yourself into your work. Everywhere is home to someone, and if you can start to enjoy the merits of wherever you are then it can start to feel like home for you as well.
At the same time it’s also partly about how you view change and whether or not you see it as necessary for moving forward and growing as an individual or something unnecessary and largely unpleasant. Of course we all have a desire to stay with our loved ones and to stay in the place we know, but it’s also highly important that we experience new things and don’t stagnate.
An anchor is something that you can use to remind you of home and to bring you sense of comfort through association. While times and places change, you can keep avatars of those places that give you a sense of comfort and relaxation through association. This anchor could be a photograph or a trinket which you should put in a prominent place in your new home and remember when you are feeling down. This way a little piece of home will always be with you.
In today’s world distance means a lot less than it once did – friends and family are really only a phone call or an e-mail away, and this way you can stay in touch with the people you are missing. Make sure that you call often and you will find you don’t feel half as homesick and that you still feel ‘a part’ of what is going on there.
One of the very best ways to combat homesickness is to leave home with someone you care about. This way you are in it together, and this way you will have the kind of comfort that you probably miss. If you are going on holiday and you suspect you’ll feel homesick then invite someone to come with you. If you are going somewhere to live, then do your best to encourage them to make the move as well. I moved with my then boyfriend, now husband. We are both extremely homesick but we have each other.
The place where you are now must offer you something over and beyond what your home could or you wouldn’t have moved in the first place. Make a list of those offerings and remind yourself of all your accomplishments. A great paying new job, a beautiful apartment, etc….Most importantly, make the most of where you are now.