Dealing with Homesickness: Coping Strategies for Expats

Ah, homesickness – that all too familiar friend that knocks on the doors of ex-pats when they’re least expecting it. Homesickness is a natural part of moving to a new country, as you inevitably miss those you left behind and compare what you once had to what you’ve gone in search of.

From finding solace in new surroundings to nurturing connections with loved ones back home, here’s your guide to coping with homesickness and embracing your new chapter.

Embrace the Unfamiliar: Make It Your Own

While the streets and faces might be new, they’ll soon have the same comfort of home, and the sooner you embrace them, the quicker that will happen. Explore the local shops, find a few favourite haunts, pick your go-to place for a coffee and start establishing a routine in your new location. 

Create Connections: Build Your Tribe

One of the best antidotes for homesickness is to begin building new connections in your community. Seek out expat groups, join local clubs, and engage in activities that spark your passion. It can be hard making new friends as an adult but getting involved with groups who share your love of a sport, hobby, or cause is a great way to do it. 

Stay Connected: The Digital Lifeline

In our digital age, staying connected with loved ones back home has never been easier. Virtual chats, video calls, and social media bridge the gap between continents, allowing you to share moments and stories as if you only lived the next town over. Distance may separate you, but technology keeps your connections alive.

Cultivate Mindfulness: Living in the Present

Homesickness often sneaks in when we dwell on what’s left behind. So, shift your focus to the present – get out of the house, immerse yourself in the culture, have new experiences and try to meet new people. Practising mindfulness can also be a great tool for anchoring you in the here and now.

Seek Professional Support: Talk It Out

Sometimes, the homesickness is less of a pang and more of a deep pain you can’t ignore. If you’re finding it overwhelming, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Therapists and counsellors can help you manage your emotions and guide you towards a more positive mental space.

With the right support, homesickness can be a stone in the road rather than an obstacle. Let those moments of missing your old life serve as a reminder that your heart is big enough to hold onto both the love of where you’re from and where you’re going.

Sarah Todhunter is a writer, mother-of-two and a dual citizen of New Zealand and the UK. As the sole proprietor of Fyxen Copywriters, she has navigated the ups and downs of moving a business and family across hemispheres, sharing the lessons she’s learned along the way. 

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