Homesick & away from home? Here’s how to cope

Expat life
01 Oct 2023
8 mins read
Written by Riona lye

Picture yourself waking up in a new country, ready to start a new life. The excitement of new experiences quickly fades as you realise the challenges ahead. The difference in time zones, weather, and amount of daylight can be overwhelming. 

And that’s just the beginning. Surrounded by new people, a new work schedule, and unfamiliar laws, the feeling of anxiety can be too much to handle at times. Just remember, it’s okay to feel homesick and to question your decision to leave home.

In this blog, we will help define homesickness and hopefully provide ways to cope with it.

What does being homesick mean?

Homesick meaning – what is this?

The dictionary defines it as experiencing a longing for one’s home during a period of absence from it.

Feeling homesick is a natural and universal emotion that can affect anyone, regardless of age, culture, or background. It’s no secret that there is comfort in the familiar, and for many of us, home is the ultimate expression of that comfort. When we are away from home, the longing for that sense of belonging can be overwhelming. It’s not just about missing the physical space, but also the people and routines that give our home its unique essence.

Homesickness can be challenging, especially during those first few weeks away from home, as we try to adapt to new surroundings and lifestyles.

Homesick symptoms

If you’ve found yourself googling “what are homesickness symptoms”, know that you’re certainly not alone.

Feeling homesick can be a challenging experience that’s difficult to shake off.

You might find that your sleep patterns are disrupted or that you feel angry, nervous, overwhelmed and panicky. It can be tough feeling isolated or withdrawn, and these feelings may even lead to a lack of concentration, appetite, or headaches.

However, it’s important to remember that homesickness is a temporary feeling, and there are things you can do to alleviate these symptoms.

Homesick in different languages

Homesickness is a universal feeling that affects people from all over the world, no matter their language or culture. In fact, the ways in which people express homesickness can vary greatly, with some words and phrases having no exact translation in other languages.

For example, in German, the word “fernweh” describes a longing when you are far away from home, whereas in Portuguese, “saudade” encompasses a deep yearning for something or someone that is gone.

Despite our linguistic and cultural differences, the experience of homesickness is one that unites us all.

How to overcome homesickness?

The reality is, feeling homesick can be an emotional rollercoaster. It’s understandable to feel lost and alone when you’re miles away from home, but the good news is, that there are ways to cope. It’s okay to miss your family, friends, and the familiar surroundings you’re used to. It’s all part of the transition that comes with living in a new place. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can try to help ease the discomfort.

Stay connected

Thanks to advanced technology, there are many ways to stay in touch with your family and friends back home. You can have regular phone calls, video chats, or even use messaging apps. Sharing your experiences with your loved ones will help ease your worries and give you a sense of comfort. They will be happy to receive updates on your daily activities, observations, and even photos. These connections will help you feel connected and supported, even when you are miles away from home.

Create a routine

Engaging in your hobbies, exploring your new surroundings, exercising, or participating in local events can keep you busy and take your mind off home. Finding things that you really enjoy doing can help you feel more at home in your new environment and can provide comfort during this big life transition.

So, remember, keep yourself moving and try not to stay at home too much.

Make new friends

Making new friends can be difficult when you’re in an unfamiliar place. But don’t worry, there are plenty of opportunities out there to meet people who share your interests.

Joining clubs or organizations is a great way to find like-minded individuals and build a support network. Hang around people who respect and accept you for who you are. If a particular group isn’t a good fit, move on and try something else. Whatever you do, make sure to stay true to yourself.

And if language is a barrier, signing up for a language class could be a great way to improve your skills and meet new people at the same time.

Remember, developing a hobby or activity you enjoy is the best way to find stability and happiness. So go out there, try new things, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!

Embrace the culture and explore your new surroundings

Moving to a new environment can be daunting. You might feel like you don’t fit in, and the culture shock can be overwhelming. However, it’s important to remember that embracing the local culture can really make a difference in how connected you feel to your new surroundings.

One way to do this is to plan for the weekends and try out all the local cuisine. It might seem strange at first, but trust us, it’s worth it. Exploring landmarks and unique aspects of the city will also help immerse you in the culture.

And if you ever feel homesick or overwhelmed, just take a walk with no set plans in mind. Find a local park or a nice cafe and enjoy a relaxing lunch while taking in all the sights and sounds of the city.

Always remember to look forward to something, whether it’s a weekend trip or a movie marathon. Focusing on what you have to look forward to can be a great way to take your mind off things and make any challenging days, more bearable.

Just take things one day at a time, and before you know it, you’ll feel like a local yourself!

Maintain self-care

Maintaining self-care doesn’t have to be a financial burden, you can nurture your well-being without breaking the bank.

Eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and practising relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing exercises are all great ways to prioritise your self-care. It’s also important to disconnect from social media, especially during the first few weeks of transition, to help alleviate homesickness symptoms.

By staying caught up on what’s happening back home, you might end up feeling lonelier and like you’re missing out. So, take some time to focus on yourself and live in the now.

Decorate your space

Your living space is more than just four walls and a ceiling. It’s where you come home to rest, relax, and recharge from the day’s demands. To make your space truly feel like your own, try incorporating items that remind you of your home.

Family photographs, artwork, or mementoes collected over the years can add a sense of comfort and familiarity to any room. When you surround yourself with items that hold personal significance, you create a space that truly feels like home.

Find support on campus or in your community

Universities often have resources and activities specifically tailored for students dealing with homesickness. Take advantage of these services and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Additionally, seeking support in your community can be a great way to navigate your emotions. Consider joining a support group or seeking out counselling services. You may also find comfort in reaching out to religious communities in your area. Whatever support system you choose, know that others have been in your shoes and there is help available to you.

Give it time and take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone in your feelings

Allow yourself to feel homesick, but also know that there are ways to manage these emotions. Stay connected with loved ones through phone calls or video chats, engage in activities that bring you joy, and create a sense of home wherever you are. Remember, home is not just a physical place, but a feeling of belonging and comfort that we can cultivate no matter where we are.

Before you go…

Being away from home can be tough, and feeling homesick is a natural response. Fortunately, there are ways to help alleviate the ache of missing your family and loved ones. One way to bring comfort to your heart is to send money back to your family.

Not only does this help them in their daily lives, but it also creates a connection that reminds you of home.

Your family members can use the money for things that they need, whether it be groceries or other necessities. Knowing that you are helping them can bring you a sense of joy and happiness, even when you are far from home.

Enter Instarem.

New transaction timeline for Instarem app

Instarem offers one of the best rates for currency exchange and remittance services, this will help you save even more when you need to send money back home to your family.

send money with Instarem

*rates are for display purposes only.

Try Instarem for your next transfer.

Download the app or sign up here.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with products or vendors mentioned.

About Instarem

Instarem stands at the forefront of international money transfer services, facilitating fast and secure transactions for both individuals and businesses. Our platform offers competitive exchange rates for popular currency pairs like USD to INR, SGD to INR, and AUD to INR. If you're looking to send money to India or transfer funds to any of 60+ global destinations, Instarem makes it easy for you. We are dedicated to simplifying cross-border payments, providing cutting-edge technology that support individuals and businesses alike in overcoming traditional fiscal barriers normally associated with banks. As a trusted and regulated brand under the umbrella of the Fintech Unicorn Nium Pte. Ltd., and its international subsidiaries, Instarem is your go-to for reliable global financial exchanges. Learn more about Instarem.

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