How to deal with homesickness while in quarantine
A few reminders to get you through those negative feelings brought by nostalgia
May 28, 2020
When quarantine began, flights were cancelled, roads were blocked and only those with passes could travel to and from their workplaces. Because of these, many of us didn’t have the chance to return to our hometowns. Two months in and feeling homesick—on top of the anxiety from the health crisis and frustration over the government—will most likely take a toll on our mental health. Usually, a night out with friends or some outdoor activities could shake off this feeling, but with the pandemic, we have to turn to other self-care tips to get us through.
Accept the longing
According to Tamar Chansky, a psychologist and author of “Freeing Yourself From Anxiety,” you can address the feeling of homesickness by accepting that it is only temporary. “Tell yourself it’s [okay] and normal to feel this way, these bad feelings are temporary, and this is part of how change happens,” said Chansky. “It sounds simple, but that sends a message to the body that we don’t need the fire trucks. Nothing is actually wrong. Normalizing it helps the negative feeling go away faster.”
Schedule video calls
A likely response to homesickness would be to call up the people from our home. However, in the case of the pandemic, it’s best to keep in touch with our fellow homesick friends as well. According to Joshua Klapow, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, sharing our anxieties with friends and family—whether they’re from home or not—can create a better support system. The American Psychological Association also says that cultivating social support will improve resilience.
Treat yourself to something that reminds you of home. For example, a delicacy from your home province is sure to provide you some comfort to get you through the day. According to Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D., a clinical assistant professor of psychology in the Psychiatry Department at the University of Pennsylvania, treating yourself will also help you avoid the feeling of self-neglect.
Stay physically active
It’s important to stay active while you’re in quarantine. Studies show that staying idle can lead to depression. And while we can’t exactly go to the gym, there are a bunch of ways to utilize home workouts. Not only will they keep your body healthy, but it can also relieve you from bouts of homesickness. Additionally, try out meditation to exercise your mental health.
According to licensed psychologist Krystine I. Batcho, PhD, nostalgic memories can provide a soothing feeling that can compass positive emotions. “There are small things you can do to feel more connected to where you are or you can lean into the things that make you feel most at home,” Chansky said in an interview with Huffpost. “You want to build up your home underneath where you are.” You can do this by looking back on old photographs, home videos or items that can remind you of home.
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