Tuesday, 27 September 2011

how to deal with homesickness

hello lovely readers! i hope you are having a beautiful day :)

i've been very remiss at actually posting on this blog, getting thoroughly disctracted by video making, writing my beauty book and my food blog. so i apologise for that - thanks for sticking with me... and i hope i can bring you some interesting and good quality articles for you to read in the future.

today, instead of a beauty tip, i want to share something a little more personal: my battle with homesickness. now, this won't be relevant for all of you, but i reckon every one of you will come across someone with homesickness at some point in your lives, so it's sort of handy to find out how to deal with it, isn't it?

anyway, start by watching this video, and then keep reading for a more in depth chat:

i did have tremendously horrible homesickness from the ages of 8-16, that manifested itself in very physical ways (sort of a cross between a nervous breakdown and food poisoning - not very nice).

there were many occasions in which the only solution was for my mum to come pick me up - i even threw up at my dad's wedding and one christmas at my grandparents too. there was no logical explanation to why i felt so awful - and it was quite embarrassing to admit to anyone how i felt.

it has been a miracle being able to travel by myself to other side of the world - and i can definitely say that homesickness is behind me... so i wanted to share my tips with you all, and tell you how i get past my fears and anxieties and became a globetrotter!

1. physical vs mental strength
our brain is a very complex and powerful thing - it should never be underestimated, and ought to be respected and nurtured. BUT, it's not just your brain that suffers with homesickness, it can actually be a purely physical reaction to your new surroundings and lifestyle. be aware that your body might take a while to adjust to a new place, and let it ease into it.

2. take responsibility and get busy!
one of the best methods for getting over homesickness is to distract yourself by taking on responsibility for an event or person in your new destination. if all you have to worry about is yourself, then that's a really dangerous place to be in - it's not good to have too much time with your thoughts, especially those based on fear or anxiety.

3. know your route home and make a conscious decision to stay
when you're young, this is a hard one to get to grips with, as you can't always just leave (because it's not safe, you don't have the money, or the knowledge to travel on public transport). as you get older and can drive, etc, then it becomes easier, i have found. if you're the parent or guardian of someone who suffers from homesickness, then making sure that they've chosen to go on trips and travel is paramount!

4. the power of voice
most times i couldn't get to sleep when i was away from home, the only thing that would help soothe me was to have someone read to me, or listen to a storybook tape or music or watch Friends. familiarity and rhythm combined to create something truly calming, and i was always lulled to sleep rather quickly.

5. get into a routine
keep busy, keep distracting yourself. set your body back into a rhythm of routine.

6. emergency comforts
i like to wear a comfy hooded sweater, and bring with me plasters, lavender oil, ibuprofen and a few other things, in case of emergencies. that way, i won't worry about the unknowns.

7. prayer
i truly believe that it's only been through prayer that i've seen a way out of homesickness, given it burdened and restricted me for so long. by being able to pass my worries onwards, i knew i had someone else to lean on. i wasn't alone.

8. don't let fear stop you from acheiving your dreams!
please, please, don't assign yourself to living with homesickness forever, even though it can feel like that at the time. living with fear and anxiety of any kind is not healthy, and isn't really 'living'. keep going onwards and do things that scare you, until you come to realise that life goes on the same everywhere always.

i should have added also, that talking to other people about it is very important. don't be afraid to look childish or stupid - because it's much worse to keep it to yourself, trust me, that's how it festers and goes out of control. allow other people to help, and guide them to let them know how they can help you.

if you are a teacher or camp co-ordinator, be mindful of just how fragile someone with homesickness is, they are usually teetering on the emotional verge, so love and patience is important. please don't yell at them. let them have a really good cry, and let them speak to their parents. do try to distract them, and ask them if they'd regret not staying. be aware that sometimes it's really difficult to think anything outside of worry, so perhaps asking them to run an event or look after someone else can be helpful.