How To Cope with Homesickness

Feeling Homesick

Nothing is forever, and “Home” is no exception. Most people will find themselves obligated to leave their beloved hometown for an unknown destination for a job, school, or due to other extenuating circumstances.
Homesickness is the feeling of missing something about that old home, whatever it is. Homesickness is a very common phenomenon, and it can enter and exit someone’s head in an instant or settle in and take much longer to fade. Since everyone will feel homesick at some point, it’s best to accept it will happen and try and figure out the best ways to fight it off or embrace these feelings.

“Emotions don’t last that long” says Debbie Radzinsky, licensed social worker and founder of Femunnity, an online community for moms. In fact, Radzinsky cites an average emotion length of “90 seconds” - certainly an amount that would suggests each feeling is ephemeral and can be shed. Homesickness can linger longer for a lot of folks who move, and solutions can be hard to come by.

Homesick Symptoms


What causes homesickness?

“Homesickness is missing the familiar... food, smells, people, it can be all of the above.” says Radzinsky. What particularly causes this longing for the known is a “period of transition where the unknown is what becomes the new normal.” The unknown is not inherently nefarious, but there is a fear in the mysterious and potential for disappointment.

Radzinsky rationalizes those with reason to get excited about their new locale will not experience as much homesickness. Their feelings of worry about the unknown can be pushed aside by feelings of anticipation to thrive in new surroundings. “Some people take change better because of the things they enjoy in new circumstances.” she says.

Ways to deal with homesickness


What do you do when you feel homesick?

For Debbie, getting past homesickness starts with acceptance. “Accept the natural and normal feelings. Emotions don’t last that long… but it takes time.” Getting over homesickness is a process, not a death knell. Sometimes it just takes a little effort to get past these nostalgic feelings.

“Take small active steps towards building a new community and making new surroundings more familiar,” Radzinsky recommends. The unknown isn’t so bad if you get to know it, most of the time. It is important in the early steps, however, to ‘push yourself’ as Radzinsky says. Find the same kind of offerings you once enjoyed in your old hometown; whether that’s a new church, yoga studio, book club, or whatever you once enjoyed.

“It took me three months to adjust to texas when I moved from New York”, Radzinsky told us. “I kept trying to change my perception, and with more effort and meeting more people, it made sense.”

When all else fails, there are two very distinct approaches homesick new movers could try. Some people just need R&R after a long and exhausting relocation process. It might be worth taking a few days off to kick back and shed off responsibilities. Another way to run away from homesickness might literally be running - or any other kind of exercise. A regular exercise regimen increases endorphins in the brain, which can help override other emotions causing stress. Whatever plan works for whichever person, there’s no way of knowing. A run or a bike ride around a new area is a good way to get to know it a little better, though!

Debbie Radzinsky is the founder of Femunnity, a platform for moms who are looking to find a like-minded community, resources for making motherhood more joyful and sustainable. Like their Facebook page for more information.

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