Whether you’re a Canadian living overseas or a foreign expat living in Canada, you may have experienced some feelings of homesickness. Unfortunately for many expats, being away from home got a whole lot harder during the global pandemic; flight paths have closed and families have been torn apart by closed borders and tough entry requirements.
If you’ve found yourself on the receiving end of travel restrictions, you may be in even more of a homesickness funk than you were before. In which case, it pays to take some steps to mitigate the toll feeling homesick can have on your mental health.
In fact, many psychology experts believe that homesickness can have some very real, and distressing, effects on people, including difficulties with eating and sleeping. It may also be linked to greater levels of anxiety and depression in some individuals.
To help you avoid feeling awful, we have compiled some top tips that may combat the homesickness blues:
Stay in touch with loved ones
It may sound obvious, but it is all too easy to drift away from your loved ones when you live far away, or worse, avoid contact because you feel like you’re being a pest or a burden with your homesick woes. But in 2021, there is little excuse for not touching base with the people who love you.
Whether you prefer Zoom or Facebook Messenger, there’s a communication channel to match your preferences. And time zones, while annoying, aren’t a huge roadblock either; you will find that there’s usually some overlap between the times you’re online and the times your loved ones are online.
Don’t be a Negative Nelly
While it’s really hard to pull yourself out of negative thought patterns and make a shift in your mindset, staying positive can have a huge effect on your mental health. According to Allegra Stein, a relocation coach from New York, when you’re feeling homesick, and perhaps a little hopeless, “it can be too easy to blame external factors or other people.” But that mentality can cause you to feel worse.
Instead, try to focus on the positives and find joy in your daily life, your home nation’s culture, and your exciting new country.
Stay plugged into your home nation’s media
One way for you to keep up with current affairs and trending topics at home is to stay up to date with your country’s media, including newspapers, digital forums, and television. Simply watching the news from home or a local soap opera could make all the difference to your mood.
Granted, your TV overseas isn’t going to help much, but technological advancements mean this isn’t an issue. Choose a reputable VPN service and you can magically turn the internet (and streaming and on-demand TV services) into those from your home country. Just turn on your VPN and set your server location to your home nation and you’re all set.
Feeling homesick blows, and feeling like there’s not much to be done about the situation is even worse. Follow our tips above to help alleviate the homesickness blues and stay connected to your home culture.