A familiar song or funny photo can be all it takes. Before you know it, a deep longing to see someone you miss or eat at a hometown haunt pulls you into a funk.
Whether you expatriated out of necessity or wanted to escape home, it’s normal for homesickness to kick in at some point.
Next time that wistful pang of home creeps in, use these tried and true homesickness cures.
1. Commit to New Relationships
Once you’ve found “your people,” embrace them like your friends back home. When homesickness hits, don’t be afraid to initiate plans.
If you’re having trouble putting yourself out there, start with your hobbies. Book club leader back home? Go to a nearby bookstore and ask if they have any regular meetings you can join. Musically inclined? Join a local band. You’ll meet new, like-minded people while doing something you’re already familiar with.
2. Start a New Hobby
Idle mindedness is a big contributor to homesickness. Starting a new hobby can help keep your mind active, whether it’s learning a language, upping your photography skills, or trying a sport unique to your adopted country.
3. Get Active
Exercise releases endorphins that help your body diminish negative thoughts, homesickness included. Even better, combine physical activity and social activity by joining a local club sports team.
4. Schedule Catch-Ups
Support from family and friends will restore your confidence about living or traveling abroad. Tech like Skype, Snapchat, and chat apps can help take the edge off the distance, but it’s best to limit your catch-ups so you don’t become so dependent that you don’t assimilate to your new country.
5. Indulge in a home cooked meal from home
It’s great to expand your culinary horizons abroad, but the smells and tastes of a family favorite recipe can help settle those homesick nerves. Cooking a familiar dish is a creature comfort — even if it doesn’t taste exactly like mom’s.
Up the ante by inviting new friends over to share a serving of your home cooked culture.
6. Take a Break from Social Media
Social media stalking isn’t good for anyone, especially someone who’s already got FOMOAH (fear of missing out at home). Living vicariously through your hometown friends will only make it harder to adjust to life overseas.
Limit your Instagram and Snapchat intake and create your own content to evoke envy — and maybe a few visits — from friends back home. These blockage apps will help keep you honest.
7. Make a Bucket List
Create a list of all the best coffee shops, art galleries, shops, restaurants, and parks you want to visit before you head home. While you’re at it, check if any popular musicians are coming through town and review the local sports team’s schedule. It will keep you focused on the rare opportunities you can take advantage of abroad instead of dwelling on happenings back home.
8. Send Gifts Home
Texts and calls are nice, but a hand-written letter or local trinket will surprise and delight your loved ones and encourage them to send you something you miss from home in return.
9. Be Part of the Action from Afar
If you’re feeling homesick because you’re missing out on your brother’s birthday or parent’s wedding anniversary, collaborate with your family members on a group gift.
Most importantly, don’t shut yourself out from your new surroundings. Being homesick can lure you into a pity party of one if you allow it to. Say yes to new experiences, new people, and new places and you’ll adapt to your new home in no time.