How to Cope with Feeling Homesick

Homesickness can be a very lonely and troubling feeling, especially if you know you won’t be going home for a long time. Living in a city far away from where I call home in order to go to school can be difficult for me at times, especially around the halfway point between the beginning of the semester and winter break. I love living in Montreal and attending Concordia, but on occasion, I miss my hometown of Vancouver: my family, my friends and the places and parts unique to the city. There are days where the end of the semester can’t come soon enough, when I get to board a flight back to the place I was born.

 

 

            Often, when I feel homesick, it’s because I miss being around the people I’m used to seeing everyday and have known all my life. Constant communication isn’t always necessary, and can often make you feel even more homesick, but regularly keeping in touch with your friends and family members can soothe your sadness about the distance between you. With my parents, I mostly just text, as I find Facetiming and talking on the phone too often can get tedious; we tend to run out of things to say, ultimately forcing conversation and heightening the unfamiliarity of our new dynamic. Of course, every family is different, but I find that updating your parents on what you’ve been up to, and vice versa, a couple times a week maintains a sense of closeness—you know that they know what’s happening in your life, as they would if you were home with them, so the miles between you don’t feel so long.

 

            Alternatively, my sisters and I will Snapchat each other practically everyday, making me feel like I’m in the same room with them laughing together, even though that’s not the case. They will also send me pictures and videos of my pets that I save for the days where I’m feeling extra jealous of their proximity to my fluffy friends. I find that keeping photos and videos of your pets in a special folder on your phone makes you feel closer to them, since you can’t exactly call or text them.

 

            Speaking of animal withdrawal, getting a stuffed animal that can stand in for your pets can really help with homesickness. It may sound odd, but a big part of what I miss about home is cuddling with my cat and dog. In my second year at Concordia, my roommates noticed this—probably because I complained about missing my pets all the time—and splurged on a round, stuffed dolphin from Dollarama to help ease my misery. Though it doesn't quite hold up to the real thing, stuffed animals are inherently comforting, and can fill the cuddle void when it gets particularly bad.

            Of course, coping with homesickness isn’t just about feeling closer to home or creating the illusion that you aren’t away from everything familiar to you. Whether you’re travelling, away at school, or you’ve just moved to a new city for good, a necessary part of dealing with these feelings is, ultimately, adjusting to your new or temporary home. Explore this new site, and make mental notes of the similarities and differences between what you miss and where you are. Doing so can help to remind you of all the new opportunities and experiences you can have there that you couldn’t at home.

 

 

            Having a little consistency in your life in your new home is also a great way to feel less uneasy. Finding a new, regular spot to hang out where you can partake in activities you used to do at home, such as studying at a cafe or going for a run outdoors, is a good way to create the balance needed to make this new place feel like home while still feeling like yourself. I’d also recommend making a daily schedule for yourself; this could mean anything from waking up at the same time every day, or always going grocery shopping on Sundays. While most of these suggestions may be difficult or impossible to do if you’re homesick from traveling, you could make a to-do list in order to create a bit of stability during the most insane and unpredictable adventures.

 

 

            At the end of the day, though, sometimes all you need to do is feel sad for a bit. Having a good cry, or taking some “me time” to put on your PJs and watch Netflix, is totally normal when you’re feeling low. The important thing to remember is that homesickness won’t last forever, and as long as you keep in touch with your loved ones while still giving your new city a chance, that feeling can’t hold you back.