Or atleast that’s how Wiki defines it. For some people, this crippling issue prevents them from going out into the world. But for some, like myself, we leave home with ease, inviting adventure into our lives and finding joy in adapting to any and every situation we encounter. I’ve never been one for homesickness. I loved being sent away from home, pined for road trips and was even sent away to sleep away camp for several summers when I was a kid. Though I love my family dearly, I never had a problem leaving them to go on yet another wild adventure – that is, until recently during my business trip to Las Vegas.
On day three, I sat in the café of the Hilton Grand Vacations, slightly drowsy from the shenanigans from the night before. I sat and ate my breakfast while one by one, but collegues joined. Though I was surrounded by familiar people whose company I genuinely enjoy, I was left alone with my thoughts, which kind of progressed like this:
“I love eggs and home fries, but the ones in Las Vegas have that southwestern flair – there are more peppers than onions and the peppers are a bit too spicey for the morning. The northeast really knows how to do breakfast. I enjoy brunch spots in Philadelphia… especially with my mom…..”
Then all of a sudden, an overwhelming sense of distress overtook me. What started as a simple breakfast before work turned into a depressing hole that I began to spiral uncontrollably into. My heart got heavy, it was difficult to breath and I just wanted to cry – and the fact that I didn’t understand why I wanted to cry made me want to cry even more. But I had to keep up appearances with my associates… and playing it cool made me want to cry! For no reason I felt the pressure of stress and immediately wanted to go to somewhere relaxing and familiar – which was home to have breakfast with my mother.
Some people think this is something that little kids go through on their first day of school or when they’re sent away to summer camp, but it can happen to anyone at anytime. In fact, homesickness was even mentioned in Exodus as well as in Homer’s Odyssey. So it’s a bit more common than you might think.
Recent studies have discovered that homesickness isn’t really about ‘home’. Homesickness stems from our instinctive need for love, protection and security. It usually occurs when we are in a new environment or encountered by new challenges, which triggers an intense pining for our old routines. It’s your mind telling you that you’re out of your element and is actually normal to an extent. There are rare cases where people experience such intense anxiety, sadness and nervousness that they can’t eat, sleep or socialize.
Dealing with Homesickness
It’s either now or never. The only way to cure homesickness is to increase your experiences. By pushing through the stress, it forces your mind to cope, ultimately making you more adaptable to changing situations and decreasing your chances of future bouts of the anxieties associated with homesickness.
When I experienced my bout of anxiety, I was so frazzled that, when we left the hotel to get breakfast, I had actually forgotten my purse in the café. Thank goodness that one of my colleagues realized and brought it out to me. I continued to do what I had to do for work and immersed myself in tasks that occupied my mind. Eventually, I found relief in working on what I was familiar with and what I felt I was good at. I created my own environment in which I thrived.
It might seem futile and you might not see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but if you continue to push through you will find that home is in the heart and you can create your own stability as well as gain an incredible sense of independence. I was able to defeat homesickness through staying engaged in my job and continuing on my daily routine, but there are many different ways to cope with homesickness. Here’s a few ways that you might find peace of mind while on the road:
- Understand that homesickness is normal
- Stay engaged in activities and try to meet new people and make new friends
- Create a routine
- Do something to make you feel closer to home – reminisce in family photos or write a letter. Blogging is a great way to keep your friends and family posted on your adventures – in fact, that’s how I got my start!
- Talk to someone – find support
- Make ‘you’ time
- Skype, Facebook and social media can go a long way
- Get enough food and sleep
- Remember that time flies!