Moving somewhere new, whether it’s temporary or permanent, can be tough. Even if you’ve chosen to make the move, settling in to a new habitat with strange places and unfamiliar faces can make the strongest of us want to turn tail and run back home.
Feeling homesick when you move to a new place is quite common. Some of us feel it more than others, but it’s usually harder if you’re leaving behind strong family ties, good friends or partners.
What is homesickness?
The symptoms of homesickness can vary, but they generally include feeling sad, lonely, isolated, unsettled and disorientated. You may feel helpless or worried about what is going on back at home, or be concerned that people are going to forget about you. You may also find it a struggle to adjust to a new routine.
What can you do about it?
If you do feel homesick, it’s important to acknowledge that this is perfectly normal. Allow yourself time to grieve, and remember that it’s okay to cry. Some people also find that keeping a journal can help them to deal with what they’re feeling.
Although it may seem daunting, getting out there and making new friends is a sure-fire way to cure loneliness. Find out about social clubs or organisations in your area. Joining a group that has similar interests to you can give you the chance to meet likeminded people.
If you’ve moved away to study, it’s a great idea to check out your institution’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student support service. You’ll get to talk to people who know exactly what you’re going through, and probably even meet a whole bunch of new friends who are going through the same thing as you.
Setting goals for yourself can also help you to focus and feel positive. Draw up a timetable or a list of things you’d like to achieve and go for it!
If you’re feeling really low, it’s always okay to ask for help. Talking to a counsellor or someone at your Aboriginal medical service can really help you to deal with negative feelings. Or, if you’re too shame to speak to someone face to face, try calling Lifeline on 131 114 or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800. You’re not alone, no matter how much you may feel that way.
A new life can open up new possibilities. You have the chance to leave behind old nicknames, images or reputations. It’s a great time to try out a new look or hobby or to break out of old habits. And remember – home is only ever a phone call away!