Homesickness and the importance of social support

Social support is the support an individual can access through social relationships with other individuals, groups, and the larger community. In tough times, whether you have had a bad day at work or have been dealing with different grievances or illnesses, having strong social support can help regulate our emotions to feel safe and loved. Social support typically consists of family members, close friends, or even peers at work who you trust and feel safe around. You can create and cultivate these types of relationships during any period of your life.

Why is social support important?

In the absence of social support, there can be unpleasant feelings like isolation, depression, and loneliness. These difficult feelings can also manifest in the form of headaches, fatigue, and increased risks of cardiovascular diseases, among other types of illnesses. Having strong social support is very important to leading a balanced life.

How to maintain your relationships?

For many individuals, the quality of their relationships is a major factor in their personal satisfaction. Supportive relationships make people feel good about themselves and are more optimistic about the future. Having supportive relationships can also help people feel less stressed and increase their self-esteem as well.

  • Expressing positive feelings and being a good listener.
  • Check up on each other from time to time.
  • Try to understand the other person’s point of view; put yourself in their shoes.
  • Do things together. This could be a quick visit to the coffeehouse, or a phone call to check in with them.
  • Be there for the other person and help them when they need it.
  • Be willing to compromise but stay respectful to your boundaries.

Fear of losing contact and homesickness

While traveling abroad can represent a new exciting adventure for some people, sometimes we are susceptible to experiencing homesickness. It especially stems when there is a lack of connection or social support in our lives. Homesickness is essentially the longing one feels when they are away from their home, and it can be a hard feeling to go through. Learning to combat is an important step towards well-being. Below are a few ways to cope with homesickness. (Thurber & Walton, 2007)

Homesickness is a tough experience to go through. The tips mentioned below will help you cope with homesickness, or even prevent you from feeling homesick. Taking care of yourself mentally and physically will allow you to navigate through these strange times smoothly, and it will help you build resilience that will allow you to accept the changes that are a part of your everyday lives.

Tips for when you feel homesick

  1. Acknowledge how you feel

Acknowledge how you are feeling at the moment and write it down. You can use a journal, or you can talk about these feelings with someone you trust. This will help you understand the root cause behind your feelings.

  1. Change your perception

Change the way you talk to yourself about your new home. Call it your home and commit to it mentally. The way you think about places or things will either make or break your experience.

  1. Create a routine

Routine and structure are wonderful for mental health. You can form positive daily habits that will help you get back on track mentally. Even finding new hobbies or making time to practice things you love will create a tremendous balance in the recent shift in your life.

  1. Social support

Meet new people and create a social support system for you to rely on.

  1. Self-Care

Remember to take care of yourself by practicing healthy activities such as exercise, practicing gratitude, and eating healthy food. Remember that a sound mind dwells inside a sound body.

  1. Make time for friends and family

Schedule time to speak to friends and family over the phone. We are lucky to live in the age of technology where many free apps allow us to speak to our friends and families through video calls. Take advantage of such technology to combat your homesickness.

  1. Talk to a professional for support

Sometimes we may require more support even when applying some of these techniques. Talking to a professional and seeking support during this major transition can help. Saaya Health is here to help you in these situations.

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