Everyone is bound to get homesick at one point during their term abroad. Whether it’s the longing for Mum’s mac and cheese or for cooler weather; most of us will experience disconnect from our new homes, loneliness, or even culture shock.
Homesickness is essentially an acute form of anxiety that results from feeling disconnected from familiar people and places or even forced out of your regular routine. Consequentially, this makes it difficult to adjust to new environments and often leads people to isolate themselves from others.
Yet, however hopeless it may be, don’t worry because I’ve got you’re back! Taken a little from my own experience and from the experiences of those around me, here are some of the ways you can keep homesickness at bay!
FOCUS ON FITNESS
Although homesickness is a sickness of the brain, it’s causes can originate from body – creating a terrible cycle of fatigue, and depression if you don’t seize the moment and pull yourself out. So first thing is (if you’re not already active) to shift your focus to fitness!
Anxiety can be caused by a multitude of factors. For instance, it can be caused by poor nutrition. Meaning that if all you’re putting into your body is deep fried; high sugar, high salt, processed foods, it is only natural for the body to respond negatively. However, the good news is that, eating healthy is the easiest step on this list! All you need to do is eat more consistently, eat more wholesomely (meaning lot of oats, nuts and wholemeal) and eat green – from dark leafy vegetables like spinach , to avocado and apples.
Living on U-Town there are plenty of places where you can shop for produce (from Vivomart at Harbourfront to the fresh produce stalls in Little India) or even buy cooked foods on campus (The Bistro, Kofu/Flavours). Ultimately, an improved diet will give your body the fuel you need to beat the fatigue that comes with anxiety but don’t forget to get plenty of sleep and keep hydrated!
Additionally, anxiety can also arise from a lack of muscle energy- meaning that you can become mentally stressed if you do not utilize you muscles enough. So if this is you, GET UP and GET OUT – move your body; walk more, dance more, run more! Hit the U-Town green; do some yoga, play touch football or just throw about a Frisbee!
You don’t have to be a fitness freak but all you need is about 20 – 60 minutes of exercise a day. Singapore has so many lush open spaces and facilities available for FREE; there should be NO EXCUSES!
The campus even has two gyms and swimming pools within walking distance! So Grab a buddy, a towel, and sweat it out! Sometimes, a little adrenaline can give you the boost of energy you need to kick you out your funk!
Lastly, it is very important that you approach the NUS Health Center first and foremost for advice/treatment if your experiencing severe anxiety. Additionally, don’t forget that NUS offers counseling services which are covered by the insurance – so there are professionals available if you do require them.
TAKE A BREAK FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
The rise of social networking has led a need for people to always be in touch, always be available to one another. This has also lead to a strange fascination with other peoples lives, and a keen desire to also share elements of ourselves with the world.
There is nothing worse than feeling like you’re missing out, but what makes it worse is constantly being reminded of what you’re missing! Don’t get me wrong social media definitely has it’s benefits, but there always comes a point when you will undoubtedly start to feel pangs to jealously, inadequacy and envy whilst scrolling through endless feeds – and when that day comes it’s sign that you need a break.
However saying that, if you have isolated yourself from those at home, perhaps organize a phone call/skype session or even (if you can afford to) a wee getaway trip with loved ones.
Yet, overall, try and limit the amount of time your on social media – posting, scrolling, contacting friends and relatives. Instead, use the time to reconnect with those around you and the city!
GET OUT THERE – EXPLORE THE CITY!
If after good grub; exercise, and time away from the internet, your feelings of melancholy have not completely lifted then why not go out and explore the city. Get out as connect with those around you, and your environment! I mean, if you’re going to be homesick, you might as well be mopey whilst surrounded by the sound of live music in Haji Lane’s Blu Jaz Cafe; or laying on the sandy beaches of Sentosa; or even strolling down the boardwalk of St. Johns Island; or perhaps having a couple beers by the river at Boat Quay.
TAKE UP A HOBBY
Finally, take a new hobby! Do you have a secret passion? Well then pursue it! Did you have a hobby back home you really enjoyed? Well then, why not try and find it’s equivalent! Put yourself in an environment that’s conducive to creatively, and freedom of expression. If you feel disconnected from you’re environment this will allow you to find familiarity in your surroundings and those around you.
For me, I decided make Make-Up Artistry my hobby! It’s something I’ve always had a passion for, and it is so amazing to be surround by other girls who’s passion encourages me to teach and learn more! Since I joined Make-Up and Design I have been able to teach classes, engage with local girls, and assist the team for a few productions!