For some people leaving home is a milestone, something to long for and anticipate with excitement. For others, moving away from home is something they never want or expect. I was one of the latter; I assumed I'd always live in Louisiana, never really dreaming of a life outside my home-state. But that all changed when I started to travel with The Professor in 2009. Feeling homesick can strike anytime and anywhere though, sometimes even when I'm traveling. Over the past seven years, I've learned a few things on how to deal with homesickness that help me, and I'm hoping they'll work for you, too!
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What is Homesickness Exactly?
For the sake of argument, let's first define homesickness. I love the way GoodTherapy.org defines homesickness as a form of "grief". When we leave home, we're usually leaving more than just a place. We leave our friends and family, as well as a little piece of ourselves. So, it's only natural that we grieve that loss to some degree.
Homesickness may manifest differently for everyone, but it generally involves "feelings of loneliness, nostalgia, and overall emotional sensitivity about things pertaining to their home." For some, these feelings are fleeting and pass just as quickly as they come. But others may experience intense emotions and might even find it difficult to manage their day-to-day tasks because of their homesickness.
My Homesickness Story
I have a really strong emotional attachment to my home state of Louisiana. And that comes through in my writing often. Talking about my love for Louisiana on the blog is one of the ways I cope with homesickness. Sounds weird, right? You'd think talking about Louisiana so much would make it worse, but it definitely helps me.
But coping with homesickness has been difficult for me at times. I can honestly say that being 2000+ miles away from my friends, my family, and my beloved state has not been easy. Falling in love with Los Angeles helped me conquer my initial homesickness, but I still get nostalgic about "home".
Louisiana has been on my mind a lot lately. I guess you could say I’m homesick. And that’s got me thinking...what are the best ways to cope with homesickness. I have my thoughts, and I know what works for me. But I want to hear what works for you! Homesickness can strike no matter whether you travel long-term, have permanently relocated, or take regular vacation holidays. I’m working on a blog post and want to include your comments (and a link to your website if you have one)! Drop your best tips for dealing with homesickness in the comments below! ⠀⠀ .⠀ .⠀⠀ .⠀⠀ #teamkaptainkenny #communityovercompetition #ltdfamily #rebelscapes #visitneworleans #onetimeinneworleans #followyournola #louisianatravel #onlyinlouisiana #wheretofindme #traveltribeworldwide #Travelforlife #iamtb #iamatraveler #wetravelled #doyoutravel #verytandc #lovetotravel #abmtravelbug #mytinyatlas #bestcitybreaks #prettylittlecities #unlimitedcities #theprettycities #seemycity #urbanromantix #mybestcityshots #cityviews #citylandscape
How to Deal with Homesickness
Now that I've shared my story, it's time to focus on you. Coping with homesickness isn't always easy, but there are a few tried and true tricks that work. I polled my Instagram buddies to find out what worked for them. I made a list of all our best tips to share with you in hopes that it helps you deal with your homesickness. Check out our best tips below!
Remember, social media isn't the same as good old-fashioned communication. Text messaging isn't even the same. Sometimes you NEED to hear someone's voice to help get through tough times or to simply remind you of your roots. And who knows!? The person on the other end of the line might need to hear your voice just as badly. Plus, talking frequently can help prevent "emotional distance" from forming between you and your loved ones. So keep those lines of communication open!
Wear your team gear
Most cities, states, and countries have a sports team they support, right? Think for a second about your hometown or state. What's YOUR team? My friends at Brian and Amanda of EatWorkTravel suggested wearing their team gear (shirts, hats, jerseys) is one way they cope when feeling homesick. Whether you're wearing your gear around the house, out to lunch, or to a game, being in your team colors can help you feel connected to home. Plus, you might even meet some fellow transplants!
Me and The Prof in our team colors! #GeauxTigers
Make a familiar meal
My travel writer buddy, Sriram, and I agree. There's no more powerful cure for homesickness than a good meal that reminds you of home. So, whip out the cookbooks, or, better yet, call Mom to ask for your favorite recipe. Cooking can be therapeutic; spending time in the kitchen preparing a familiar dish might be just what you need to cure homesickness. While you're at it, play a familiar album in the background to get the full "going home" effect.
A taste of #home in rural #Louisiana means #snocones on the side of the road. Little #adventures like these make me a happy girl! . . . #louisianatravel #onlyLouisiana #louisianalove #louisiatourism #jj_louisiana #igersofLouisiana #igersLouisiana #explorelouisiana #visitlouisiana #louisianagram #sheisnotlost #girlsborntotravel #wearetravelgirls #dametraveler #femaletravelbloggers #thetravelwomen #travellushes #wheretofindme #ladieslovetravel #darlingescapes #foodielife #placestovisit #getawaygirls
Get a pen-pal
In the age of email, text messages, live streams, and direct messages. But there's still no substitute for actual mail. You know, the kind that comes with all the bills and junk mail. And you want to know what's even better than getting actual mail? Sending it. Taking the time to write a note or pick out a greeting card, address the envelope, and go to the mailbox can be very therapeutic. Strike up correspondence with a friend or family member to help deal with homesickness.
one of my favorite songs by a louisiana artist
Get out of the house
Jason of JasonLikestoTravel says going out for dinner or drinks sometimes helps him deal with homesickness, especially if the bar or restaurant caters to the type of food he'd eat back home. He gave the example of the Irish pub. No matter where you are, an Irish pub is pretty much the same. The sound of familiar accents and languages, coupled with the familiar foods and smells, might just do the trick!
My good friend Aixa of Muchospanish turns to FaceTime when she's feeling homesick. Video chat systems like Facebook messenger, FaceTime, and Skype are a great way to stay connected. Not only do you get to hear your friend or family member, you get to see their face, their expressions, and their surroundings. I've Skyped with my mom & dad during family gatherings, which meant I've been able to see everyone in the room and say hello to all.
One thing I love most about going #home to #Louisiana is getting back to my roots. Life doesn't have to be complicated. It doesn't have to be costly. It just has to be authentic and well-lived. My mother has always been better at turning something abandoned into something special, especially when it comes to #vintage pieces. These #colors caught my eye. I love how the aging wood has just a tinge of the soft green #succulentgarden. Maybe one day I'll learn her ways. . . . #louisianatravel #onlyLouisiana #louisianalove #louisiatourism #jj_louisiana #igersofLouisiana #igersLouisiana #explorelouisiana #visitlouisiana #louisianagram #comehomeLA
Take care of yourself
Crystal, one of my Instagram buddies, says she likes to pamper herself when she's feeling homesick. A hot bath, pedicure, manicure, haircut, or massage is a great way to practice self-care and can help cope with momentary feelings of homesickness.
Ask for a care package
One of the ways I like to combat homesickness is to ask for a care package. There are certain products (mostly food-related) that I like to have from home. Seasonings, coffee, dinner mixes, and canned goods can easily be shipped. Opening that package can flood you with emotions and memories, so be prepared.
Distract yourself in your new city
One of the best ways to cope with homesickness is to distract yourself. And exploring your new city can be a terrific distraction. Get to know your neighborhood by joining associations, going to farmers markets, and frequenting coffee shops. Learn about local history by visiting museums and cultural events. Playing tourist in your new town can keep you occupied and happy.
Find a "homey"
Sometimes connecting with another person from your city or state can be the best homesickness cure. Someone who understands your culture and what you're going through is a great help. Look for alumni associations, team-specific sports bars, and other types of meet-ups as a way to potentially meet a "homey."
Throw a party
Huh? "How will that help," you ask? One of the best parts about being in a new city (permanently or not) is meeting new people. Why not host a theme party for your new friends featuring foods, games, drinks, dances, and music from your home? I can think of some fun culture-themed parties I'd like to go to!
Visualize the place
My friend Sydney of Ananda Meditation suggested meditation as a way to cope with homesickness. She spends time visualizing a place (even places she's never been) as a way to combat feelings of homesickness. Find a quiet place to sit while thinking about home. Close your eyes and imagine you're there. Hear the sounds of home, smell the scents, and feel the sensation of returning home. And if you're truly terrible at meditation, 1) check out Sydney's website and 2) watch something filmed there.
True Detective does it for me!
Look at old pictures or videos
Another powerful method of coping with homesickness requires submerging yourself in memories by looking at old pictures and videos. Now, this method is likely to create some strong (or stronger) feelings of longing and loneliness, but it can be useful when all the other tips aren't working. Just be sure to set a time limit and ask someone around you to help you stick to it. Spending hours looking at images from home might not help in the long run.
Plan a trip
Sometimes we need something to look forward to, and sometimes that something should be a trip home. My friend Nicki of EatLiveTravelDrink suggests reading and researching new things to do when you return home (or wherever you're feeling homesick for) can be a fun way of preparing for an eventual visit and dealing with homesickness.
Last, and certainly not least, you might want to consider just going home. While that may not be possible for everyone, it is for some. And if you can't go home right away, ask someone to send you a calendar with local photos to use to mark off the days until you can. A visual reminder of an upcoming trip home can help quell the daily feelings of homesickness.
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