At a young age, experiencing homesickness was all part of growing up and developing independence. Whether the waves of homesickness came on the first day of school or at the sleepovers at your friend’s house, the yearn for the comfort of your own home was completely normal and inevitable for most.
Although, at that young age, admitting to feeling homesick was awkward and embarrassing. More than likely, proving to be strong and independent away from home was more important than giving in. Most of the time, pushing through those feelings of discomfort eventually made them fade away, ridding ourselves of homesickness well into our adolescent years.
However, with any new change, old feelings start to resurface. For some, moving away from home for the first time to either go to college or just to get their own place can trigger some sort of homesickness again. Thankfully, the new independence found in moving away from home also comes with greater opportunity to explore, meet new people and try new things, making those feelings of homesickness fade quickly.
Even still, becoming homesick never completely vanishes for some, especially for those whose new places are far beyond driving distance from home. Being in my mid-20s and having lived across the country from home for more than five years, I can attest to the challenges of dealing with being homesick as an adult.
Thankfully, being away from home doesn’t have to be like the story of the prodigal son where the father had no contact with his child until he returned home. The advancements in technology, communication and the ability to travel all help alleviate that feeling of missing home while still being able to live life away from it.
One of the most obvious ways to relieve homesickness is, of course, to talk to friends and family. After all, these are the people that usually make somewhere feel like home. Because they share your good and bad memories, they can reminisce about those times that other people in your adult life might not be able to understand.
One of the benefits of living in 2019 is that we no longer succumb to using snail mail as our only means of long-distance communication. One of the most beneficial advancements in technology is that it allows for multiple channels of communication. Not only can we hear someone’s voice over the phone, but we can now also have constant contact through texting and social media, which makes being able to stay in touch and up-to-date with people a more instantaneous process.
Even better, the multiple applications and sites that offer video-chatting makes feeling at home easier. Visualizing yourself in the space you are looking at and seeing familiar faces and even your childhood pets can make all the difference in your mental state and be remedy enough for homesickness.
As the famous quote by Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” goes, “There’s no place like home.” This holds absolutely true for people who are feeling homesick. The feeling of home and familiarity provides a security blanket that comforts, soothes anxieties and brings steadiness and routine to life.
This is why you should ignore that voice that says visiting home is weak. If there is a break in school or if you get excess vacation time at work, use that time to take a long weekend or week at home. The only true remedy for getting rid of homesickness is to actually go home.
3. Finding Your Place
At the end of the day, being homesick is usually a sign of isolation, loneliness, stress or sadness. These emotional burdens are usually brought on by a sense of uncertainty in life. Being homesick is just a result of all these emotions mixing together and searching for a sense of something secure and familiar.
This need for stability and familiarity means that finding your place wherever you are, or creating your own home, will help mitigate any feelings of homesickness in the future. In the transformational age of young adulthood, we’re afforded the opportunity to live on our own and create our own memories.
Even though the reason for experiencing homesickness is more than likely explained by the absence of friends or family, young adults have the ability to fill these missing connections on their own through creating families and gaining friends that are close enough to be considered family. Sometimes the family friends you choose might even be more interested in the same things as you than, say, an actual family member. In the end, choosing to foster relationships that create your chosen family is usually a win-win for everyone.
Day-to-day environments are also huge influential factors that can induce the feeling of homesickness. It’s good to have a space, whether that be a dorm room or apartment, that is comfortable, safe and customized to make it feel personal and homey. If you can, try bringing a souvenir or something that is a gentle reminder of home and putting it in your space. Having a keepsake in even just a temporary home will make all the difference in staving off the homesickness.