A hometown is defined as the place where one is born and raised. If you grew up in small town like me, you might know almost everyone who lives there, and there can be families that have lived there for generations, yours included. As time goes on, though, people can eventually pick up and move away for various reasons, whether it be college or a new job. While moving to new area can be exciting, there can be times when you feel homesick. This isn’t unusual, as some studies say up to 70 percent of people can experience it at some time. Here are some suggestions to help make moving easier and ease the times when you may be missing familiarity.
Research the area where you’re moving.
Having an idea of what’s in the area you’re headed can help calm the jitters about moving to someplace unfamiliar. This can be especially helpful if you’re heading to college, as it’ll give you an idea of where you’re spending the next four years, or however long you’re in school. Making a list of certain places, such as the grocery store, can help you make a plan of what to expect and where you can go get the basics. Points of interests such as museums, bookstores or shopping malls can be other places to look for as somewhere to spend your down time. It also doesn’t hurt to have a map or two of the area just in case your smartphone decides to stop working.
Look for connections to your hometown or university.
If you’re moving to a major metropolitan area, like New York or D.C., chances are that there might be family, a friend or an acquaintance that already lives there. If possible, reach out to them to see if they have any tips about what to expect. It can make the transition a whole lot easier by getting advice from someone who went through the same thing that you are. If you’re newly graduated from college, most cities have an alumni chapter you can join to help meet people that share your alma mater.
Keep in touch with friends and family.
Moving away doesn’t mean ceasing communications with family and friends, and technology has made it possible to keep in touch with people everywhere. Schedule weekly video chats or phone calls with your loved ones and friends. If time is short, writing emails or even good old-fashioned letters can be another way to keep up with what’s going on in your hometown and let them know what you’ve been up to in your life. If you’re interested in sharing your experiences with even more people, starting a blog can be a way to document your thoughts and share tips with others that might be thinking about moving.
Find ways to meet new people.
Making friends can help your adapt to your new surroundings. If you’re in college, look for extracurricular activities such as clubs or sports. If moving to a new city, chances are that there are book clubs, sports leagues, theatre groups, and other activities that you can join. It’s a great way to meet people that are from all over the place and share you interests. Resources to find these include MeetUp, Facebook groups or just a simple Google search.
Decorate your space.
Bringing items from home can add a familiar touch your new space. Suggestions includes pictures of friends and family, mementos from your hometown or university, and other items. You can even plan a common theme with your decorations. For example, my apartment is filled with photographs of friends and family, souvenirs of places that I’ve visited and events I’ve attended. It’s a great way to capture the memories and serve as reminders when feeling homesick.
Invite friends and family to visit.
Depending on how far away you move, having family or friends come visit can provide a nice dose of your home roots, and give you a chance to show them your world. Who knows, it might even give friends ideas to eventually move there too. Planning visits to your hometown doesn’t hurt either, as one can always return.
Realize that you’re not alone in feeling this way.
As mentioned earlier in the article, it’s completely normal to feel homesick during the first several weeks or months of moving away. One CNN article describes it as “merely an emotion that comes in waves.” If the feeling is affecting your mental health negatively, it doesn’t hurt to talk to someone about it, whether it be a trusted friend, family member or a mental health professional. As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, Insight provides resources on mental health wellness.