Feeling homesick is one of the main feeling of Seafarers while working and it is important to talk about it as homesickness can have a long-lasting effect.
Although feeling homesick may not feel like a big thing to talk about – unresolved can lead to much deeper problems such as physical symptoms and suicidal thoughts.
Symptoms of being homesick can include, but are not limited to:
- Disturbed sleeping with irregular sleep patterns
- Low Self-Esteem
- Mood Changes
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of concentration during and after work hours
People who experience homesickness for a long period of time might also feel angry, lonely, tired, feeling of isolation, overwhelmed, anxious, nauseous, and sad. When untreated, these symptoms can even get more intense and include vomiting, muscle cramps and suicidal thoughts.
If you are feeling any of these symptoms, it is encouraged for you to talk to someone, even if you do not think it is a big deal. Talking to someone about your homesickness can greatly improve your feeling as they might have tips on what to do, or better yet – may feel the same, hopefully making you feel less alone.
Although talking to someone might help your overwhelming feeling of homesickness, the feeling itself will never go away. The best advice is to find activities you love doing on your spare time, make plans with people on your time off, and explore new places.
Here are my 5 tips on surviving homesickness.
- Keep busy! Find new activities to do on your free time, this way, you will have less time to feel homesick and you will have more time having fun.
- Stay in touch with your friends and family back at home. Plan times where you can have a quick, or long, chat with your friends and family to see how they are doing. Staying in touch does not have to be hard as you can call through the internet, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and more.
- Talk to someone. This could mean another person you work with, your friends, family or even a professional to help you get through tough times and provide you with some advice. I have personal experience dealing with homesickness as I have been living in Finland for the past two years and because of the pandemic, have not been able to see my family back in Canada even though I now have a one-year-old daughter.
- Find activities that you enjoyed at home and try and do them where you are now. This could look like going for your usual morning run, tea and a book, or whatever your usual routine is at home. The point of this advice is to bring you closer to home even when you are far away.
- Exercise! Go for a run, walk, bike ride or complete a small 10-minute zero equipment workout in your room or outside! Exercise has proven to be helpful when it comes to mental health as it can alleviate your symptoms such as low self-esteem, headaches, and mood changes!
Now is the time to talk about homesickness, especially since Covid-19 has made it worse for a lot of people. The first step is to realize that you are in fact homesick – this can be hard for people to realize as they think will come across weak, but it is quit the opposite Realising your feeling of homesickness and talking about it to someone takes away the power it casts over you!
Counsellor/Social Work Placement