Familiar Feelings: How to Deal with Homesickness

Moving from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to another city or state is a bittersweet decision, especially if you’ve lived here your whole life. On the one hand, you’re opening up a new chapter in your life. It’s always exciting to finally have a taste of independent living. On the other, it feels like you’re leaving your loved ones behind for this new lease on life.

If you find yourself longing to go back home shortly after your move, you’re likely experiencing homesickness.

A Primer on Homesickness

Homesickness, according to clinical psychologist Joshua Klapow, is feeling insecure about where a person is physically and emotionally. You’re missing the familiarity, stability, and consistency of your previous home. Klapow, in an interview with Huffington Post about the effects of homesickness, said that being homesick can happen to anyone — even people with less-ideal home lives.

This compilation of expert opinions also stated that homesickness is linked to depressive and anxious feelings, and may cause problems in sleeping, appetite, and concentration. A study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that children who moved frequently had poorer quality of life as they grew older. This is because moving created significant stress that affected the respondents’ mental health. So how do you deal with homesickness?

Limit Your Communication to Home

In a dated but informative paper about treating homesickness, the authors suggested limiting one’s communication with loved ones at home. They stated that for longer separations like boarding school and college stints, phone calls and even emails should be scheduled.

This paper was published before social media and instant messaging kicked into high gear. But focusing on your job or studies and assigning set times or days for communication with family and friends may be beneficial. It lets you concentrate and enjoy the task at hand instead of longing for the safety and familiarity of your previous home.

man doing kettlebell pushups

Stay Physically and Mentally Active

When you’re bored, you may go into a nostalgia trip of what you did back home in times like these. Apart from your work and school, look for hobbies that can stimulate you mentally and physically. Now that you have your own space, why not bring in some exercise equipment and try a new workout? If you’re in the mood to help out, volunteer at the nearest soup kitchen. Go to the local bars and meet new friends. It’s not about distracting yourself from your homesick feelings, but rather about creating your own familiar, secure, and consistent version of home in your new place.

Take Some Visits

A visit from time-to-time won’t hurt, especially if you need to tie up some loose ends or need help after the home moving service dropped off all your boxes in your new digs. Show your loved ones around your new town and take them to your favorite bars or restaurants. The comfort and encouragement they bring may help ease your transition to independent living.

Homesickness is normal, but prolonged instances of it may affect your focus at work or in school. Take these tips into consideration to keep it at bay. Before you know it, you won’t be missing home anymore because you’ve already created a new one for yourself.

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