Whether you are a freshman setting out on your own at college or an expat traveling the world, from time to time, you will experience that dreadful unique sadness: homesickness. It’s perfectly natural to miss loved ones like family, friends and pets or simply some down-home cooking that really takes you back. However, if you experience homesickness regularly, it can be rather crushing and keep you from being in the present. So, if you’re looking for ways to alleviate this sentimental feeling, we have a few tips to help. Here are seven ways to help alleviate homesickness.
#1 Evoke Pleasant Memories with a Scent
Of all of our senses, scent can bring back a memory the quickest. The smell of specific dishes and cuisines can recall a home-cooked meal or the scent of the salty sea air can remind you of a family vacation or date. However, when you can’t get that nostalgic memory-sparking smell you desperately desire, you can always find candles or a reed diffuser that can get pretty darn close to the real thing. Today, you can even find State candles and reed diffusers that smell just like New York City, beach cottages or wherever you hail from. So, when you are feeling down and missing home, just ignite a candle to bring back the memories.
#2 Find Companionship in Others
Another way to alleviate homesickness is to distract yourself with new friends. By finding companionship in those physically closest to you, you can find camaraderie and familiarity. While this step can be difficult for shier folk, taking that first leap to introduce yourself may be highly rewarding. Even if you just invite someone out for drinks or pitch a game night to get to know everyone better, it can open you up to new opportunities. You might even make a good friend or two, homesick too and understanding how difficult it can be.
#3 Keep Yourself Busy with a Familiar Routine
Friends bring a lot to the table to distract you from being homesick, but they may not alway be able to get together. If you are feeling homesick and everyone is busy, try to keep yourself busy. One way to do so is to maintain a routine. Before getting down in the dumps about it all, look at your daily agenda and set out to accomplish a few tasks. Whether you tackle that study paper to keep your mind off things or go for a walk, keep yourself busy to relieve your homesickness and allow it time to pass. Giving yourself a routine can also make a space feel more like home too.
#4 Invite Those Back Home to Pay a Visit
If you are truly missing home and can’t return so easily, you can always invite your friends and family to pay a little visit. This goes especially for those who don’t wear their hearts on their sleeves and let others know just how homesick they are. Instead of keeping your emotions bottled up inside, extend the offer to them and tell them you’d love to see them. They may not realize just how homesick you really are, but when they arrive, you can absorb all their love. Sometimes, seeing those you miss most can help you find a way to carry on. So never hesitate to tell someone you’d love to see them in person.
#5 Avoid Stalking Through Social Media
Let’s get one thing straight: stalking people — even friends and family — through social media is bad for your mental health. Watching every move of your loved ones back home will only make you miss them more. Staying connected is okay, but there’s a certain point when it becomes unhealthy. Again, try to stay in the present and be present with those around you. If you use social media to follow the lives of loved ones, limit yourself to catching up once a week and turn off notifications that can suck you back into homesickness territory.
#6 Learn to Appreciate Your New Environment
Sometimes we retreat into a homesick state of mind when we feel like a fish out of water. We feel unfamiliar with our surroundings as we tread new environments and cities and even experience a bit of culture shock. However, wherever you find yourself, one way to alleviate homesickness is to embrace your surroundings. So take time to explore, hitting up local coffee shops about town to find your perfect cup or spend a day at a local park people-watching and having a picnic. It’s a great way to embrace the culture and make new friends too.
#7 Embrace the Homesickness
Last but certainly not least — embrace your homesickness! If you are really missing home, acknowledge it and meet it head-on. Browse photos of family or hit up that restaurant that has a dish that’s almost like momma used to make. However you embrace your homesick feelings is okay, especially if you just need a good cry. That being said, don’t let the negative emotions of it swallow you whole. Think positive thoughts and don’t let the guilt of being away raise its ugly head. Take an evening or even an entire day to recall home if needed, but then dust yourself off and focus on the present.
Find Your Personal Way to Alleviate Homesickness
With these seven tips and tricks, you should be able to meet that homesick melancholy head-on. However, it’s perfectly okay to embrace it too. It’s different for everyone. Just remember to not wallow in your homesick misery for too long, and smile as you reflect on the things you may be missing. Pick up the phone and call your parents and siblings instead of commenting on social media posts. Get out of your own head and space with a walk around the campus or city. Find what works for you and remember to stay in the present when you can.