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How to Deal with Homesickness When You Can’t Travel

Woman looking out the window, drinking a cup of coffee.
AMJ Fotografia/Shutterstock

Domestic and international travel are disrupted right now and, if you live far away from your family, there’s no clear timetable for when you might next be able to visit them. Due to this, it’s totally understandable if you’re feeling more than a little homesick.

When you can’t do anything to ease homesickness, it can bring on a whole new level of anxiety and sadness. Here’s how to deal with—and lessen—the impact.

Turn to Technology

Don’t take the awesome tech at your fingertips for granted. We can see our family whenever we want, and avoid feeling like we’re missing out on their lives. Schedule video calls often with your loved ones and don’t just limit yourself to small talk. Organize fun bonding activities that will make you all feel like you’re in the same room.

Play a game of charades or scrabble, or organize virtual workouts or cooking competitions. You can still have a good time sharing laughter and joy, even if it’s via a screen. Laughter really is the best medicine—after an evening of fun, you can end your conversation on a positive note, even if you still miss them like crazy.

Re-create Family Routines or Meals

If there’s something your family always used to do, re-create it in your space. Even if you can’t physically (or virtually) bring them into your home, you can relive fond memories on your own. Prepare a dish your grandma used to make, or watch a movie you and your sister adore—the fuzzy feelings will make you feel closer to your family.

Set a time during the week to do something you used to do when you were a kid. Allow all the sweet memories to envelop you—it’s okay if you tear up a little (or a lot). Cherishing happy memories honors them, so don’t be afraid to let them in.

Don’t Forget Your Local “Family”

We all have blood family, but often, we meet people we consider family, even if we’re not officially related. While you might not be able to wipe out the feeling of homesickness by calling up a bunch of friends, it can definitely diminish it.

Don’t neglect those closest to you. Nourish those relationships and share a little love and affection. The travel ban will be over someday, and you’ll be able to shower your fam with the love they deserve. For now, try spreading it around a bit to those who are nearby.

Control Anxiety and Negative Thoughts

Woman sitting under a tree drinking a cup of coffee.

Dealing with anxious or negative thoughts is the best way to tackle homesickness when you can’t solve it by hopping on a plane. Prioritize your sleep and pay attention to your eating habits. Get outside and take a walk in the fresh air, or just move your body each day. Carve out some time each day for self-care and relaxation—play some feel-good music or start meditating.

Take good care of yourself and accept that what’s going on isn’t something you can change. Only then will you be able to focus on making the best of a difficult situation. And take every moment you do get to spend with your family as a blessing.

Ask for Help

Don’t give yourself a hard time for feeling homesick. Consider talking to a friend or professional about it. Sometimes, no matter how much we want to figure out something ourselves, we just can’t. In those situations, asking someone else for his or her perspective, and/or advice, might be the best thing to do.

There’s nothing wrong with how you’re feeling. However, if someone explains the effect your feelings might be having on your health and wellbeing, it might be just what you need to shift your perspective and accept things.

Plus, just talking about it can make you feel like a weight’s been lifted from your shoulders.

Plan for the Future

Even though the future might be uncertain right now, talking about your next visit can bring a smile to everyone’s face. Start imagining all the things you’ll do, all the places you’ll go, and all the fun you’re going to have.

Avoid having conversations about the current situation. Talk about your next visit, instead, like it’s bound to happen any day now, and keep the positive vibes going.

Planning a trip gives people something to look forward to for days and months beforehand. Try to create that feeling in this situation, and give yourself and your family something to look forward to.

You’ve Got Mail

You can always send a card, letter, or small token of your appreciation to your family. When they receive it in the mail, they’ll definitely be pleasantly surprised and a phone call is sure to follow. Show and tell them how much you miss them, and how much you’re looking forward to seeing their faces in person and hugging them again.

These small acts mean a lot and take only a fraction of your time. Personalize them for each member of your family to make them even more special. You’ll have a wonderful time creating and preparing them, and your family will be eternally grateful.

Feeling homesick is tough—especially if you don’t know when you’ll be able to see your family again. Still, there are a lot of things you can to lessen these feelings. Try these tips whenever homesickness consumes you.

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
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