Moving abroad comes with many challenges, and ups and downs. One of the biggest causes of homesickness is a feeling of unfamiliarity. When you find yourself in dramatically changed surroundings, it’s easy to feel lonely and out of place. Typically, this is when you’ll crave your everyday items, people, and places that you know so well. When you don’t have these comforts available, you may struggle to adjust. One way to cope is to actively start building a sense of home in your new environment. The simple steps outlined in this article can help you make a home abroad truly feel like home, and make you feel like you belong.
Bring your Anchors
When starting life abroad, it’s crucial to have your “anchors” — small pieces of your home country around you. Familiar items will soothe you whenever homesickness tries to take its toll. You may find solace in the memories that those items represent or the emotions they bring out in you. Items that reflect your native roots, such as local spices, books in your native language, etc., will also give you the comfort that you long for.
There is nothing more calming than having photos of your loved ones displayed around your home. New friends who come to visit may ask about the photos, which can, in turn, serve as a kick-starter of easy conversations and bring back beautiful memories and anecdotes. When you start to have new experiences abroad, you can add photos and merge your two worlds into one you’ll enjoy living in.
Home Decor can Make a Difference
Do you know the saying, “Home is where the heart is?” We believe it to be very accurate. In addition to small mementos brought from home that restore your balance and happiness, there are more ways to decorate your home to make you feel better. For example, if you moved to the US from Paris, you might buy an Eiffel tower print for your home as a way to evoke pleasant memories. You can pick any print from your native country and display it — a famous landmark, your country’s flag, a beautiful landscape, a local animal — whatever makes you feel good.
In addition to that, you can research some inspirational quotes and place them around different areas of your home. They can give you a real boost when you’re starting to feel down.
Familiar Food Will Make a Home Abroad Feel Like Home
There is no better way to feel at home than having your favorite snacks in the kitchen and making your favorite meals. Food has the power to “teleport us” right back into our warm family home. Feel free to call your friends and family for some easy-to-make recipes when the “taste of home” beckons — it’s an opportunity to connect as well as to get the cooking information you need.
Sensory memories of your home are very meaningful. Most of us have at least one smell that instantly reminds us of home. Take some time and think back on your childhood memories or a fantastic experience that you had in your country, and then pick one smell that resonates the best with it. It can be fresh lavender in your clothes drawers, a scented candle, or freshly cut flowers in a vase. Surrounding yourself with soothing and comforting smells will make your time spent in your new country calmer and more enjoyable.
Leave your Mark
Our living environment constantly influences our mood with indoor climate, colors, textures, and shapes. To avoid expat stress and depression, you want to make sure not to feel like a stranger in your home — it’s crucial to make a space fitting for you, your needs, and your habits. Maybe you’ll want to invest in a comfortable chair or a big bookcase. Perhaps you need to set up a peaceful spot for yoga and meditation or organize an office area in your bedroom. You know what ignites your happiness and what has the power to calm you.
Connect with People Online
One of the best remedies for homesickness and the best recipe to make a home abroad feel like home is building new friendships. Nowadays, because of the coronavirus pandemic, meeting people in a traditional way is difficult. Luckily, there are many free and easily available tools for communication with loved ones. You can keep in touch with family and friends via various conferencing apps like Zoom, Skype, etc. Schedule frequent calls and discuss what’s happening in everybody’s lives — it will help you stay connected, even when you are far away.
You can also try to find fellow expats — online forums such as Facebook, Meetup, and other social media platforms are good places to start and it’s often not as hard as you think — you may find that many live in your community. Connecting with people online can be a great way of starting new friendships. And who knows, once the world has gone back to something resembling normal, you may find that these are the very people with whom you’ll enjoy an evening out!
We hope that our tips can prove helpful in making you feel at home, even in a faraway place.
Author bio: Jennifer Brown has been working as a freelance blogger for over 3 years, writing for Tik Tok Moving and Storage and other publications. She writes blogs with the main focus on international relocation and its influence on people. Jennifer likes to share her own expat experience and advice on how to avoid homesickness.