Wednesday, January 14, 2015

8 Tips to Beat Homesickness

how to beat homesickness


Homesickness. Something that can happen to anyone: it can strike you on a one-week vacation, a semester abroad, when moving across states, and definitely when moving to a new country. The first few weeks, or months, are pure bliss- you have just started a new adventure, and are consistently meeting new people, trying new things, and are likely still in constant contact with friends and family back home. Then, as the days go on, and in Sweden- the winter hits and darkness literally surrounds you 20 hours a day- the excitement fades.

Last year, I was definitely homesick more frequently throughout January and February. Being out of the country, not only did I miss friends and family, I missed the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, everything that defines the U.S. to me. To show you the extent of this homesickness- I missed tall buildings. Yes, you read that right- tall buildings, skyscrapers, which are commonplace back home in Minneapolis- and the tallest building I saw for four straight months was five stories. That's it. This year has been much easier, and it is safe to say that at this point I've been relatively homesick-free. However, much of this is because I've learned how to beat the blues and beat homesickness, and today I will share my tips! Some of these are tips to prevent homesickness, some of them are tips to cure homesickness, and others are just tips to avoid homesickness when it does strike.


  • Make friends with locals. Upon arriving in your destination, reach out to local people- however you may meet them, whether through classes, sports teams, or other organizations. Making new friends is a great outlet to help prevent homesickness, as these new friends will provide you with a new support group and likely a way of looking at life. 
  • Find groups to connect with people from home. Sometimes, there really are things that nobody else can truly understand- or commiserate with- except for people from home. For me, this can be simple things such as the desire to have lefse at Christmas, stuffing at Thanksgiving, customer service at any point…you get the picture.
  • Skip social media for the day- or better yet, week. Sometimes, seeing a familiar face is all you need. At other times, being bombarded with pictures on Facebook and Instagram can be the exact opposite of what you need, because of the fear of missing out (FOMO). Seeing pictures of all your friends and family getting together, whether a random Friday or for holidays, promotions, etc, can often make your homesickness worse. I tend to avoid social media especially around the holidays, as I know this will make me homesick. 
  • Teach yourself how to cook homemade food. Missing food from home? Easiest solution may be to try teach yourself to cook it. I frequently crave chipotle while abroad- a simple google search can reveal copycat recipes, and you can learn to make these foods you miss so much!
  • Book a trip to a new destination. This is my favorite cure for homesickness. Whenever I feel it coming on, I take to the iterate and start planning and booking a trip. Sometimes a change in scenery is all you need, and the excitement of prepping for this change in pace can beat homesickness. I'm currently planning for a trip to the Dominican Republic, and hoping for a quick trip to Latvia and perhaps Poland. Even dreaming of these trips is helpful for myself.
  • Skype with friends and family from home. Feeling disconnected from home? The easiest and cheapest fix is a Skype phone call to friends or family. Catching up on all the news and gossip, as well as seeing a familiar face, is a great way to cure a bout of homesickness. 
  • Plan trips with friends from home. It isn't realistic to go home every weekend- so why not plan a trip with a friend from back home, and have them visit you? By hosting a friend or family member and showing them the sights in your new town/country, you will begin to feel more at home. 
  • Turn your new home into a home. One of the problems with homesickness can be that you don't feel you fit in or belong. Part of this comes from living in a space that you haven't really turned into a home. Take some time to decorate, hanging photos and memoirs, in order to turn it into a home. Making your living space into a home is essential to feeling at home, even if you will only be there for a short time.



50 comments:

  1. Great tips! Turning my home abroad into what feels like home was really important for me to adjust. A skype call always helps as well. And dreaming of new travels, that is always a good idea!

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    1. Turning it into a home is so important. Last year I didn't do that much, and it has really made a huge difference this year to have more things- pictures, cozy blankets, etc. It is hard to want to invest in stuff when you move every couple months though!

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  2. I've been really homesick since I returned to Norway and it was a completely new experience for me. I never had homesickness before! But glad to know that it gets easier the longer you live abroad!

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    1. Sometimes a visit home can definitely bring homesickness back. Definitely gets easier eventually though! Have you had any friends/family come visit you? That has helped me a ton to be able to show them around. And you are in the same boat with the cold & dark winter- as we start seeing the sun more it'll be easier for both of us!

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  3. My sis gets here in 6 days and I think she is going to make me feel a lot better about my homesickness! :) Thanks for the tips

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    1. Oh it'll be so fun to have your sister over! whenever my family & friends have come to visit its the best. Really makes it feel like home, since you are showing people the sights/etc.

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  4. Any tips on meeting new people in a new place? As an adult I'm finding it super difficult to make new friends in a new town.

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    1. Hey Jess! I'm lucky where I somewhat have a built in group of friends with the other wives of my husband's teammates. However, to supplement this I also joined the women's team and have found a couple of good friends from this. Are there any rec sports leagues/etc you could join? Even just a one-day a week softball/volleyball/etc can help. I know you are on a pretty small island, so things like that might be tough. Perhaps try setting up a happy hour/coffee date after work with some coworkers and encourage them to bring their significant others- bigger groups may mean more people, but it gives you more exposure to people. The hardest part is often meeting that first friend. Once you have that, go out of your comfort zone and tag along to any social events they may have. The hardest part is definitely getting out of your comfort zone!

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  5. I'm going on a trip to Malaysia mid of this year and all these tips are going to be very helpful for me. I really really hope to make friends with locals and not just the small-talk kind. It's going to be a little difficult for me because I might be alone on this trip. I also agree that a social media break helps a lot to not feel homesick. Great tips, Samantha!

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    1. Russ, being alone on the trip can definitely be a challenge, but hopefully it will make it easier for you to make new friends! Good luck & enjoy your trip!

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  6. I lived in Japan for two years and definitely got homesick quite a bit. Your last tip is one of my favorites. Even if you're only going to be there for a year or two, making your house (or apartment, even a hotel room) into a home goes a long way to easing homesickness.

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    1. Nikki, this is my second year in Sweden and the first year I've really made my house into a home…amazing what wonders that has done!

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  7. Homesickness can be so rough. I have experienced myself many times. I really like the idea of learning to cook favorite homemade meals. I love comfort food!

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    1. Thanks, Cindy! Like you said, comfort food is definitely great!

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  8. These are great tips on how to beat homesickness. It is true that seeing all the pictures etc on social media can make you more home sick. Skyping is a great way for keeping in touch with family and friends. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Rebecca, I totally agree with you- pictures can be hard to see. Thus why I avoid social media some times!

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  9. These are some really great tips. I used to get homesick every time we went anywhere and it took a long time for me to even be able to relax and enjoy being on vacation. It's really hard when one is homesick. Your tips would have helped me back then but I know they are going to help many now. I need to let me grandson read this, he is the same was I was and hates to go anywhere and makes himself sick with homesickness.

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    1. Terri, I hope your grandson is helped by some of these tips! Homesickness is hard to get over, but you definitely don't want it to stop you from living your life.

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  10. Greta tips! I have never lived any from home long enough to get homesick. My travels lately wrap up in less than a week. But my favorite tip you mentioned that I'll spread onto others is about cooking your favorite meals from home. Food means love, and if you are feeling lonely and homesick, then make comfort food!

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    1. Nicci, I hope it helps others then! Home cooked meals are definitely comforting.

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  11. These are great tips!! Even on a quick trip if my kids aren't with me I get homes sick with in a day! I remember moving when we were military and then also when I moved from my family. Moving to a whole different country would be difficult.

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    1. I can definitely imagine getting homesick and missing your kids- that is a whole new level of homesickness. Moving to a new country is difficult at times, but definitely worth it for me!

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  12. These are great tips! I have lived in the city I am in now for almost 20 years and I still get pangs of homesickness. When I first moved here, I networked and made friends. It made the world of difference!

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  13. These are wonderful tips! If I ever do go abroad, I will definitely remember these! Especially the home cooking! I think home cooked meals are so comforting and homey anyway!

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  14. I've been fighting homesickness for 2 long years now. And yes, I did some of your tips such as making friends with locals and skype with family. Those were absolutely effective things to do in fighting homesickness. I haven't really try doing those other stuff you're mentioned about, but I will surely give it a try. Thank you for those tips! I learned a lot.

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    1. Thanks, Rashell! Hopefully the new tips help you. At times, homesickness is nice- it lets you know you really love and miss home- but its important not to let it get in the way of your daily life and happiness.

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  15. These are great tips! I've never been away from home long enough to be homesick but I'm sure it would be challenging to leave behind everything so familiar. I'm sure it would really help to make your new home your home.

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    1. April, it was (is) challenging, but definitely rewarding. And it is fun to decorate a new home!

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  16. My sister lives out of the country, and she would totally agree with these tips. Skype and talking to us means so much, yet sometimes she can't follow on social media because it hurts to see what we are doing as a family without her. It is also deceptive because you only see a little bit and it looks like we are doing a lot together where actually we all have our own lives and don't see each other that much.

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    1. Tammy, I think you are absolutely right with how deceptive social media can seem. All you really 'see' for the most part is the happy times, and it is hard to remind yourself of that. Sounds like your sister and I are in the same boat!

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  17. This is really a great list! I could've used this when I was in college! It's so easy to get homesick!

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  18. Thanks for sharing great tips! I remember the awful homesickness when I first moved to Spain. I was using Skype daily and little by little started to explore the new location. I'm not suffering from homesickness at all, well maybe just on Christmas time.

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    1. Ave, that is how I am where the holidays like Christmas are tough. Exploring new places is always fun though!

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  19. Ahhhhh I remember when I first moved to Orlando I use to get super homesick! I joined meet up.com and omg!!! Now that I live in WNY I get sick missing Orlando lol

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    1. Courtney, I've never heard of meet up but I bet it is a great organization! Joining organizations and meeting people definitely held.

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  20. You have some great tips. When I moved from Indiana to North Carolina to be with my husband I was SO homesick. One of the things that helped me was cooking the foods that I was use to eating back home. Now my hubs LOVES them as much as I do ;)

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    1. Cassie, its great that your husband loves the meals now! Bringing 'home' wherever you are definitely eases a move.

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  21. I have two kids at uni now and they are not suffering too badly with homesickness at all - I'm suffering a little with "missing them" sickness! Being busy and skype/face time/texts/pinterest messages/whats app/phone calls are all helping. In fact I might just have to send a quick text to each of them right now, just so they know I'm thinking of them!

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    1. Julia, I bet your kids loved the texts! Things like that definitely ease homesickness, its always nice to know you are thought of and loved.

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  22. I bet you do get homesick ever now and again! Skype and face time have to make things a little easier, but sometimes you just need that face to face. Your tips are great!

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    1. Penny, I definitely get homesick every once in awhile. Usually I am able to get over it pretty quickly though!

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  23. These are some great tips. When away from home it is easy to become home sick yet with your tips one will definitely overcome it.

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  24. Really great tips! May I add another one - set your goals! This way your mind will stay concentrated on the most important things, and homesickness won't be a distraction. All the best, Man With Van Kensington Ltd.

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    1. Another great tip. Thanks Emily! Having goals set is definitely important!

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  25. Good review. Nice Blog! Well most of your content and image is original and informative. /many thanks for sharing this, cheers.

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  26. Hi Smantha, The piece of information is really awesome.thanks for the info

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