Moving to a new country, city or continent can be very much like breaking up a relationship. It doesn’t matter if you were the dumper or dumpee: that feeling of loss can follow you to your new home and make it difficult to settle. That heavy feeling is what is commonly known as ‘homesickness’.
Breaking up and moving to new places have a lot in common with the stages of grief, and you’ll need to go through them all. You can reduce the impact and length of each step, though. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression: let’s get on with those so that we can get to the prize of acceptance and dare I say, celebration?
1) Don’t dwell on the past
Some people will advise you to surround yourself with reminders of the past – photos, foods, music. But how much are you missing in your new location while you’re throwing yourself that pity party? How can you expect to find new love if you’re busy crying over your lost city-love or past life? Keeping a few knick-knacks is one thing, but wallowing in what was is not going to get you back into your life today, so consider a clean break. Stop denying that your life has changed and get ready to move on to the next step.
2) Use your emotions for good
Anger is an energy but it’s not renewable. If you’re going to rage, then put it to good use. Take lots of pictures of your new awesome life and post them on Facebook to spite the world! You’ll show them all that you’re a fighter!
3) Embrace your new life
You will never cure homesickness if you decide to negotiate the healing process. Resist the temptation to go back home to visit, and put thoughts of doing so out of your head. It’s time to focus on the here and now – and your future.
4) Have some social media downtime
Feeling depressed? Quite often it’s because you’re feeling jealous of your ex-home for all of the wonderful things that are happening without you. At this point it is a good idea to walk away from Facebook. Stop pouring over photos of your friends who live so far away having fun with their lives. Get on with yours!
5) Get busy!
Present grief with a moving target and keep busy! Getting over a relationship – and curing homesickness – takes three things: education, distraction, and time. It may sound trite, but there’s one piece of advice that I share with friends when they’re having a hard time of things: pain is finite; there’s only so long it can last. So every day you survive is one day closer to feeling ‘normal’ again. So while you’re waiting for that time to arrive, help it along by:
Learning the local language
Making new traditions and starting a new daily routine to help feel entrenched