It may be hard to admit, but homesickness can strike at any age, and when it does, it can be hard to shake off. Relocating, whether it’s to another city for a temporary project, or another country for good, can leave you feeling disoriented, sick, or just sad that you had to leave a place you cared about. People who move abroad probably suffer most; the combination of nostalgia for home mixed with the challenges of adapting to a new culture, climate and language can be a pretty difficult cocktail to swallow. Try working your way through these strategies and you’ll be back to yourself before you know it.
Choose your accommodation wisely
Hotels are not the greatest place to get over homesickness. Small rooms can cause cabin fever, and the temporary feeling means you’ll never really ‘settle in’. Opting for a furnished apartment from the outset, whether for the duration of your stay or as a stepping stone to a permanent home in your new city is a great way to get started; you don’t have to worry about buying things like forks and bed sheets, so you can skip straight to making the place your own. Don’t be afraid to decorate with photos and mementos of home – these things may seem bittersweet at first, but will ultimately be more comforting than an empty apartment. Fill the kitchen with your favourite foods, and set up speakers to play your pick-me-up playlist when you need it most. These little things can do wonders for your mental state when you return to a new place after a long day’s work. Often, corporate accommodation will have access to fitness facilities – use them! Experts agree that exercise is a great way to ward off mild depression.
Get out and explore
We generally don’t feel homesick for a place, it’s people and experiences that we miss the most. So as soon as you’ve unpacked, get to work on planning new activities and meeting new people. Loved poker back home? Do some web research to find a new group near you. Foodie? There are lots of meetup groups dedicated to brunches, wine tastings and cooking classes. If you think you’re going to have nothing to do on weekends, consider volunteering with an organisation (museum, sports team, animal shelter?) where you’ll meet new people and make your free time meaningful. Free and single? Now’s a great time to try online dating..! The more you get involved in your new community, the faster homesickness will leave you. Take tours of the city – there are always new neighborhoods to discover or restaurants to try. Your city has so much to offer – getting to know it more will make you love it more.
Keep a record
All the great explorers kept journals, and you can too (yes, blogs count). Not only is it great to have a record of the move, but writing down everything you’re feeling will get it out of your head – and often our head is our worst enemy! Feel free to vent frustrations and negative experiences, but try to balance that out with a list of things that you’re grateful for, and interesting things you’ve discovered about your new city. This makes your relocation feel like more of an adventure, and can help to remind you that, in the grand scheme of things, you’re lucky to be where you are.