Homesickness – what it is and how to overcome it

If you’re the kind of person that loves your creature comforts and love to be around your family and friends, homesickness can really affect you. It might be that you’ve gone traveling around the world ‘to find yourself,’ it may be that you’ve had to move away for your job, or it might even be that you’ve gone away to college. You crave your parents’ home cooking, you miss the smell of your home, and you long to just hear your mom’s voice on the phone. But what is homesickness, and how can you overcome it?

What is it?

A famous clinical psychologist by the name of Josh Klapow has defined homesickness as the “instinctive need for love, protection, and security – feelings and qualities usually associated with home.” This form of homesickness normally occurs when we are taken out of our comfort zone or taken away from all that we hold dear. We may be in a new part of the world and unsure of where to go next, we may be in a new city on your own, or you might even be in a college dormitory with a new roommate you’ve never met before. As soon as you feel out of your depth, your mind will normally turn itself into a self-fulfilling prophecy. You know you’re supposed to feel uncomfortable in that situation, so you unconsciously force yourself to be uncomfortable – even if you’re not. Yep, our inability to deal with change is one of the biggest factors of homesickness, but it seems as though the name itself is also deceiving. While we probably do miss our friends and families during this time, what we miss most is the feeling of being safe and secure. So, we convince ourselves it’s homesickness.

How do you overcome it?

So, how the heck do you get over this fear of being left out in the dark? Well, most experts would say that you need to embrace this homesickness, rather than pretending it isn’t there. When you come face to face with what scares you the most of what makes you uncomfortable, you will be able to live through the experience and come through the other side. It’s important to give yourself the time and the motivation to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Take yourself away from your college dorm and interact with your other dorm mates, go out on the town by yourself and get yourself acquainted with your new city, and explore everything the world has to offer as you travel around the globe. Sitting around and wallowing in the feelings of homesickness will just make you feel worse. However, it’s also important to set yourself realistic goals. Some people can’t just take themselves out to dinner in a new city, so give yourself smaller goals. Firstly, go to the grocery store by yourself. Then, to the movies. Then, out for a drink. You should find yourself getting less homesick each time!

People throw around the idea of homesickness as though it is a joke – but it is a real thing. Yet, many of us choose to wallow in these feelings of loneliness and self-pity, which just isn’t the way to cope. Instead, you need to embrace the feelings you have and push past them. Only them can you rid yourself of homesickness!