How I’d successfully dealt with homesickness is what I’m happy to share with you today. As an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in American Samoa, living just by myself so far away from home, miles apart from my family, home-sickness is one of my toughest battles. Imagine how hard it is when you see photos of your family celebrating an occasion, like your husband’s birthday but you’re not with them? Imagine how you wishes to kiss your new born grandchild but all you could do is to stare on the photo and sighed because you can’t. Imagine when you received a sad news that a close family member, like your brother, passed away but you couldn’t just leave to go home and pay him your last respect? Imagine when one of your children is sick and you wanted to be there to take good care of her, but you can’t. And worst is when you get sick and you have to do everything for yourself because you are alone, even you are struggling to move because your whole-body ached. These are just few instances that I’ve been and going through during these years of working in a foreign land, serving people of not my race. for the sake of my family’s financial welfare. Not to mention and to elaborate on some of my struggles at work. All these triggers homesickness which is really, really hard and painful. I am not good enough in describing the feeling but during the moments of its attack, you feel like you really want to fly back home, right away but because you cannot, it gives you a suffocating feeling. Based on my personal experience, it causes me depression, loneliness, sadness and mood swings. This sickness may be the culprit why many people working abroad defeated the very purpose why they work miles away, for the family’s sake but ended up as broken homes.
However, this feeling is just normal. We may all experience being homesick some time in our life. But each homesickness-sufferers have different ways of dealing with it. Again, it’s a choice. It always must start from within, from our very own self. Are we going to stay in that condition or are we going to make necessary steps to heal us from homesickness through constructive and positive ways? It’s crucial for a homesickness-sufferers to find a way to deal with this distressing “illness”. For me, these points helped me deal with homesickness;
1. Prayer – for me, this is the number one solution, the most effective way to be healed from homesickness or any other negative feelings because our hearts and perspective on the situations of life are changed through prayer. In prayer we are talking to our Heavenly Father who is closer to us than our own thoughts. He is near, so near that no words can describe it, that after we pray we can feel the feeling of relief, that our heavy heart becomes lighter.
2. Accept your situation and count good reasons why you are there. For me, I give heavier thoughts on the reasons why I am working abroad, why I have to be miles away from home. It’s for my family. It’s selflessness. It’s a sacrifice. I remind myself that it was I who decided to work abroad, no body forced me, it was my own choice. I counted and listed good reasons why I am here and that helped me deal with homesickness.
3. Understand yourself and give yourself time to heal. For me, I tried to understand that it’s just normal for me to get homesick, but I’m positive that eventually I could get out of the situation. I learn to understand that I cannot make the feeling of homesickness to leave me right away, I must wait. I realized that it takes time to heal, it’s a process, just like any other sickness and wound. Once you understand yourself, it would be easier to move on.
4. Change your point of view. I’ve learned ways of coping up from the negative effects of homesickness by choosing to change my point of view, by trying to see things in a positive light. I began to appreciate this island, its people and the simple life style here. This island is blessed, it’s peaceful and I live in abundance in this place. And I am here because I am one of the privileged people to have this opportunity to work abroad, to experience life in a place different from mine, meeting new people from other nationalities, learning other people’s beautiful culture, and many more good reasons.
5. Make yourself busy. Being busy is one of the best solutions to deal with homesickness. Do not make yourself idle. Idle mind wanders and wandering mind might lead you somewhere else, in a place or situation where you shouldn’t be. Being busy helps, though it is not easy to work in my office job from thirty-five to forty hours per week, getting involved in church ministries and also do extra endeavors like painting, crafting, gardening, cooking and blogging, but I enjoy it. Next time, I will share with you the meal that I prepared today for my dinner while I was busy painting an art piece that I targeted to finish this week. Productivity busyness is a positive approach to make myself and my mind active that I am already tired before bedtime. No more time to feel homesickness, no more time to think of anything negative. Now, I seldom feel this distressing emotional sickness because I have a hectic schedule with productive activities that give me personal and spiritual growth.
6. Remind yourself that you are not alone, God is with you every-time and everywhere. Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” God is omnipresent, He is everywhere. He is with me right now and all the times of my life no matter how I feel, no matter what my situation is. I’m never alone, not even a single second. Having this in mind ease my heart from getting distress due to homesickness.
I hope, and I pray that this post somehow could be of help to some people out there who are going through the road of homesickness where I was before. If I have been delivered from there, there’s no reason you can’t.
Thank you for reading and be blessed.