6 Tips for Fighting Homesickness with Living Abroad

tips for fighting homesickness

foreign-correspondent badge finalWhether you are living the expat life abroad, backpacking long term around the world, or taking a short beach vacation, homesickness can hit when you least expect it.

It doesn’t discriminate and it can affect anyone and everyone, no matter what your situation is back home. This is because homesickness not only can mean you are missing friends and family, but it can also mean you are missing a favorite food dish, spending the evening at your favorite local bar, or just the ease of life back home. It also can pop up at any moment. One minute you are having the time of your life and then the next minute you are down in the dumps.

Having lived abroad in Paraguay for two and half years without going home for a visit, I have missed my life back in the States several times. Yet, I have come up with some helpful ways to fight off homesickness. Here are six of my favorite tips.

1. Make a Nice Home-cooked Meal

I know this may be weird but one of the things I have missed the most over the years of my living in Paraguay is food. Paraguayan food is delicious but there isn’t a lot of variety. So sometimes when I’m feeling homesick, I make an effort to make a dish that reminds me of home. It can be difficult abroad when trying to find the right ingredients, but it can be done. One of my favorite meals to make is meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and it’s always fun to share it with the locals and introduce them to something new.

2. Watch a Favorite TV Show or Movie

With TV shows or movies, it’s best to pick something funny that will lift you spirits. Whenever I’m sad and missing home, watching an episode of Friends always helps me because the sitcom never ceases to make me laugh out loud.

3. Exercise

Working out always helps me clear my head, when I have a lot on my mind, and all of those endorphins rushing through your body don’t hurt either. I love to take a run or walk along the red dirt roads in Paraguay, and it helps me remember why I love it here.

4. Keep Busy

One of the best ways to get over homesickness is to not think about it–and I know that can be hard. It makes it easier if you are too busy just to think about being it. Plan lots of daily adventures, see the sights, or take a class. Do anything to fill your day instead of sitting around thinking about missing home.

5. Go on Skype

Internet and technology are wondrous things. It is so simple these days to stay in touch with loved ones while you are abroad. If you are missing your friends and family back home, a quick face-to-face chat is an easy remedy.

6. Treat Yo’ Self

Take a cue from one of my favorite TV shows, Parks and Recreation. If you are feeling down in the dumps, one way to lift your spirits is to do a little pampering. Getting a pedicure, taking a hot bubble bath or buying some delicious chocolate treats or a nice bottle of wine can make you feel better, without a doubt.

Homesickness can affect anyone so you shouldn’t feel guilty if it affects you too. Life is not full of non-stop fun and partying and neither will be your travels, but that is OK. Everyone has their own ways of making themselves feel better. I hope that these tips can help you too.

About Kelley Matney

Kelley MatneyKelley Matney is a Returned Peace Corps volunteer, Paraguay 2012-2014, who couldn’t leave just yet and is staying a few more months in this beautiful country. She is a blogger who writes at movebyyourself.com and loves traveling around South America, improving her Spanish and trying the local wines.

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