Friday, April 15, 2011

What to Do When Homesickness Strikes

It's tough being away from home.

Home is familiar. Home is comfortable. Home is where the heart is. But sometimes, you outgrow "home" and you want something more--and so you leave home for somewhere new, exciting, fun and... lonely?

Well, it doesn't have to be. Being away from home, whether for a week or for a year or for ten years, might be hard at times, but it doesn't have to be lonely and depressing--at least not 100% of the time. Sure, everyone gets homesick, but what happens when you can't shake the feelings and you dig yourself deeper and deeper into the hole of homesickness?

For me, homesickness has come in waves, and each time I've dealt with it differently. There are so many ways to deal with it. I've only discovered a handful and am still in the process of discovering more for when I am struck with future waves of homesickness. But, if you're like me, it's hard to come up with remedies for being homesick on the spot and in the moment of desperation. So here, I'll share some of my solutions in the hopes that next time you're hit with being homesick, you won't have to think on your feet right away and you can try a few of these first.

1.) Get out of bed (because I know that's where you most likely are if you're homesick), get a shower, and get out of your flat/apartment/townhouse/dorm room/etc. Yes, I know it's much easier to just stay in your pajamas and wallow all day long until you can go back to sleep in hopes of waking up the next morning cured. But the truth of the matter is, you'll just build up more feelings of loneliness and homesickness that way. Trust me, I know. There have been several days here in Rome (or back home at my university) where I've done exactly what I just told you not to do, and it has not helped. So now, when I begin to feel the symptoms of being homesick, I get up and get going. It gets me away from the doom and gloom of my bed and out into fresh air.

2.) Do something you've never done before. Have you been dying to check out that new museum exhibit, but no one ever seems to want to go with you? Have you heard about a new restaurant that has great food and you want to try it out? Have you wanted to take a walk around the nearby park that you just haven't had a chance to walk around yet? Then go do it. When you do something new, it might help you find something that you'll really love, it'll keep you from getting bored with routine, and it'll help you grow! Not to mention, it'll keep your mind off of being homesick, and by the time you get back to your place of residence, you'll have fun stories to tell your room mates and will be too preoccupied to be homesick.

3.) Talk to someone else who is with you who might be going through and feeling some of the same things. While it might seem backwards to talk about your homesickness (because then you are thinking about it instead of getting your mind off of it, right?) it can actually be beneficial. The other person, while also homesick, might have some great ideas to get rid of the homesickness that you hadn't thought of. Or they might help you put it into perspective. Or they might just commiserate with you until you've talked through it. Any of these things could help you to ease your feelings of homesickness.

4.) Go through all of the amazing pictures you've taken since being away from home. Not only will this make you smile at all the goofy, silly, challenging, and exciting things you did since being away from home, but you'll be too busy remembering all the fun you've had being away, you'll forget why you were even homesick to begin with. Not to mention, you'll look forward to all your future adventures while you're away from home, knowing that they'll continue to be amazing and adventurous.

5.) As a last result, call home. It's okay to do this. Sometimes, what you really need is to just talk with mom, or your brother or sister, or your boyfriend or best friend. And while it might also make you miss them more, it can also be alleviating to tell them how homesick you are and that you need them to tell you something happy. I've found that listening to other people tell me about their days helps me not to think about why I'm homesick in the first place. Listening to someone else talk about their routines, classes, meals, or daily goings-on might seem boring usually, but when you're homesick, it can actually be soothing to know that life is still the same back home and, while you are missing the people and comforts, not much is changing in your absence.

What are some of your remedies for homesickness? How have you learned to deal with missing the people, places and things from home? Has being away gotten easier the longer you've gone without going home?


  1. Loved this post :) I've been now living away from home for so many years, that I almost don't feel "home sick" anymore. But whenever it strikes in... pictures and skype are great! But my best solution? I go and eat something spanish to feel as if I was home!

  2. That's an awesome solution! My mom sent me a jar of peanut butter that I always dig into when I'm a little homesick. It helps, because Italy seems to think peanut butter isn't any good, and I live on it back home!

    Thanks for sharing, Katherina!

  3. Love your suggestions! I have actually always had someone along with me on my travels...but I am thinking of doing a solo trip abroad...which is why I am thankful for Skype ;)

  4. Victoria,

    Thanks for your comment! I highly recommend solo travel. I recently did a trip to Budapest on my own (unexpectedly too). Feel free to read about how awesome it was in my previous post "When You're All Alone" found at the following link:



  5. Thanks for your wonderful comments.. i am a very homesick person, and have suffered a lot due to homesickness.. i left my home six years back for higher studies, married now,, still i miss my mother , my bro and my sweet home a lot... hope your solution will make me get out of this problem.. thanks again, i will try all the methods mentioned by you.


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