How to Handle Homesickness Like a Pro

on September 2, 2013

Living away from home can be hard, especially if it’s the first time. Way back, when I was a very young adult, I went to work for the season at a Colorado ski resort. Even though it was less than 100 miles from Denver, where my sister was living, I felt like I’d landed on the moon! More homesick than I’d ever been, I didn’t eat well, or sleep well. “Lonely” is hardly a strong enough word to describe how I felt all those years ago.

After a few months, I began to feel better. I became adjusted to my new environment, and started making friends. My homesickness faded. Mind you, it never truly went away for good; but it faded and became manageable.

Everyone gets homesick from time to time, it’s an unavoidable consequence of travel. Whether you’re away from home for the first time, or the fiftieth, there’s always some inevitable discomfort, a hollow sense of dislocation, waiting for you in your new town or city. And while experts seem to agree that homesickness can’t be avoided, it can be softened and managed if you take some positive steps.

Acknowledge It

Homesickness comes in waves. One moment you’re fine, and the next you’re in tears. The seesaw nature of homesickness is what makes it so confusing. When the feelings come, don’t fight them, don’t suppress your emotions. Instead, acknowledge them, but remind yourself, out loud if you must, that you are just feeling homesick. This too shall pass!

Acknowledging your homesickness can help put things into perspective.

Try New Things

Sometimes when you’re feeling really homesick, you’ll have absolutely no interest in exploring or trying new things. This is understandable; but don’t let the temptation to withdraw take over your life.

Trying new things – new foods, new music – can help to make this new place into *your* place. Make your new city into your home, even if it’s just temporary. Be on the lookout for things you like and be ready to adopt them as your own.

Take Care of Yourself

It can be hard to care for yourself when homesickness comes. We may not feel like eating, and exercising might just be too out of the question. But in order to do our best, whether at work or at school, we must take good care of our bodies and our minds.

Eating well is crucial. Don’t be tempted to eat fast food 8 days a week. Try to eat good, balanced meals, whenever possible, to keep your mind sharp and your body strong. Particularly, foods rich in Vitamins B1 and Vitamin D can be very effective in helping ward off the pain of homesickness as these vitamins are associated with stress relief and relaxation.

And don’t forget to exercise! Exercise triggers endorphin release which can lift your spirits and help to keep you in good form.

While you can’t avoid getting homesick, you can take steps to overcome it. Acknowledge your feelings, try new things, and, most of all, take care of yourself! Approach homesickness with a positive attitude, and you may find it fades quickly away.


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