If you’re stuck overseas either in a self- or COVID-imposed exile, you’re probably suffering from a fair amount of homesickness. Or perhaps you’ve lived overseas happily for years but suddenly, out of nowhere, a bout of nostalgia comes on.
Either way, pining for home can be hard, and it can even have a very real effect on your mental health. In fact, psychologists note that homesickness can be linked to varying degrees of depression, anxiety, and social withdrawal.
If you’re feeling very far away from your home country, the people you love, or your own culture, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the hurt. Of course, these fixes are no substitute for a visit home, but in the current climate when travel isn’t possible for everyone, they can go a long way towards shaking off the homesick blues.
Let’s get started with our top tip, finding other expats from your home country.
Get connected to the local expat community
No matter where you are in the world, (or where you go, for that matter), there are bound to be people from other countries living there. So if you’re Japanese and living in Sydney, Australia, for example, there’s a fair chance there are other Japanese expats in the city who also love making friends from home.
Get connected to your local expat circle and stay in touch with your home culture. The easiest way to do this is by meeting others and then slowly expanding your circle of expat friends, but if that is happening too slowly for your liking, try services like InterNations, an online platform that connects expatriates.
Stay in touch with your home nation’s media
It’s all too easy to start following the media in the country you live in and forget to stay up to date with what’s going on in your nation of birth. But staying connected to the media — be it TV, radio, or newspapers — can be a powerful way of staying connected with your culture and replugging yourself into your home nation’s zeitgeist.
Read newspapers from home, watch TV from home (top tip: use a VPN to connect to servers from your country and stream local TV), and listen to the radio stations you used to love.
Talk to your friends and family at home daily
Thanks to modern technologies we have more ways than ever to stay connected to distant family and friends. Use these to get in touch with your loved ones at home every single day, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time.
Immerse yourself in the local culture
While it’s important to stay in touch with your own culture, it’s equally important to engage with the local one. After all, you don’t want to be one of those expatriates who live in a bubble and barely make any local friends or speak the lingo. Instead, strike a balance by making friends with those around you and enjoying all the awesome things their culture offers.
Having people to chat to and do stuff with can make all the difference if you’re pining for home and starting to feel sad about it. After all, humans are social creatures so it only makes sense to surround yourself with others.
Hopefully these tips for combating homesickness will help you get through the next few months and you’ll be able to reconnect with your home nation soon!