It has been almost three years since I moved to the UK to work and live and I could say that this is the most life changing decision I’ve ever done. Those three years were not as easy as I thought it would be to start living independently and pay for my own bills. But above of it all, I think homesickness is the hardest part of living away from my family. Looking back from how I was before and how I am doing right now, I can say that somehow I have learned to cope with it. So here are some of the useful tips that I think really worked for me and hopefully will work for others going through homesickness as well.
Be sad. Cry as much as you need.
Like what others says, “Crying is good for the soul” and this is true. You really need those moments where you have to be by yourself and cry while thinking of your family back home. Crying helps to relieve stress and lifts your mood to make you feel better. It somehow lessens the sadness you are feeling and resets your emotions.
Find the friends or community you belong.
I am lucky that I came over to UK with other filipinos who now became my closest friends. We helped and kept each other company when we were just starting our lives in this country. If you moved to a new country all by yourself, it can be more challenging. I would say the best and easiest way to find friends, if not in school or in a workplace, would be to go to places you usually love. Perhaps, if you like going to churches every Sunday, you can do this and you’ll find some groups there that you can join. If you love sports then you can search for clubs or a community that you’ll enjoy. Looking for people who has the same culture as you is a big help too. In my case, I eventually met other filipinos in the hospital I am working and that made me able to find my own friends/community. Looking for the people you can call your family or friends can take a while, but you’ll eventually find them. The best idea is to keep an open mind. This is a good opportunity to join events and activities you always put off in the past.
Look for a hobby.
You need to do whatever it is you enjoy doing back home. When I started living here, the only thing I would do was watch Netflix and filipino shows. I can’t play guitar or go for biking because I don’t have any of those. Later on I decided to buy both the guitar and the bike. So when I feel sad and lonely I have more ways to spend my day and have the chance to better myself and go outside to meet others. Eventually, I found playing Xbox, writing this blog and travelling as my new hobbies. Learning new things can be fun too, which I didn’t realize until my boyfriend booked those classes for us! I didn’t know how to cook before so we went for cooking classes. I love dancing, so he looked and booked for dance classes we can join. We even did ice-skating classes in winter. These things that I realise that I could have done before when I was feeling down. This is a very good way of letting yourself grow while at the same time socialising with other people too. Remember that you need to live the life and enjoy it. Crying helps but doing it everyday can be unhealthy.
Travel, travel, travel!
I know travelling can be very expensive. But to be honest, this is one of the best things that helped with my homesickness. I found it really fun being away from the place I am living, meeting other people of different cultures and going to places I haven’t seen. It gives me reason why I have to work aside from just helping my family back home and pay for my bills. It may sound cliché but it helps me to wake up every morning with something to look forward to. It is expensive but for me it is worth it. Travelling will make you realise that there’s more to life, to see and experience. Even if you only travel your new country, you will discover so much about the place you now live and the people in it.
Find the workplace you think suits you the most.
I worked as an ER nurse in Philippines, however when I moved here in UK, I was assigned to a different area. I know to myself that it was not the place that I know my skills fit but I still tried to enjoy it. I worked there for a year but I always find myself sad and disappointed with the care I am giving to my patients. I always feel like I was not the kind of nurse I knew before. Eventually, I finally decided to transfer to the area where I think I’ll mostly enjoy. And that is where I am now. It has been more than a year as a neuro ICU nurse now. Not every day is a good day; it is still quite a tough, heavy and busy job at times but I am happier with the care I am giving to the patients. I don’t feel that kind of sadness I used to feel before. So for me, if the place you are working makes you unhappy most of the time, you really need to move and find somewhere where you think you’ll fit in. It will make a massive difference.
Be with your loved ones.
Eventually, you’ll need to be with your loved ones. If you have to go and visit your family back home, then do it. Save for it and do it. Talk to them as much as you need. If video calling or messaging them makes you happier and lessen your longingness with them, then do it. In my case, it sometimes makes me sadder when I do it often especially on special occasions. I remember there was a time when I was in a good mood but after the video call I just cried and wished I can be with them. So talking to them lesser works for me better. Some people I know bring their husband/wives or boyfriend/girlfriend to live with them and that makes them more settled in the new country they are living. Each of us needs to love and feel loved. In my case, I am lucky I found my special someone here who is always there for me and makes me happy whenever I feel sad. He is such an annoying person as well so I think that counts for me to feel less homesick.
Coping with homesickness may vary from person to person. Moving to a place where you don’t have family, have a different culture and language from yours can make you feel alone and estranged most of the time. It can lead to depression if you won’t be able to manage it well. Glad that I somehow overcome it. I still feel homesick sometimes, but I guess I am managing it better now. Have you also experienced being homesick? Let me know how you deal with it. I would love to hear it. Comment it below 🙂