Being in an unfamiliar environment can be daunting, especially in times like these when we feel a strong sense of uncertainty, causing us to feel overwhelmed. Although it may be a common thing to experience, homesickness can still be a real challenge to navigate. Manifesting in different ways, you may yearn for the little things you enjoyed when you were back home, like watching TV with your family or even eating your favourite chicken rice from the kopitiam around the corner. In other cases, homesickness can appear as irritability or anxiety. Before this article goes into a few tips in dealing with homesickness, we just want to thank all of you who are having it rough this season for being so brave thus far. Know that you are definitely not going through this alone.
ADVICE ON DEALING WITH HOMESICKNESS
Being self-aware of how you’re feeling is an important step in managing homesickness. Homesickness, like any other problem in life, can manifest into bigger problems if left unaddressed. Thus, never underestimate the little signs your mind is speaking to you, and don't be afraid of coming to terms with your feelings! Here's a list of some common symptoms of homesickness:
• Feeling sad / lonely / helpless
• Feeling anxious
• Feeling like you don't belong
• Loss of motivation / concentration
• Wanting to escape
• Sleep disturbance
• Isolating / social withdrawal
• Loss of appetite
• Fatigue / lethargy
If you're facing a few or even many of these symptoms, don't worry. Accepting your feelings and not faulting yourself for these symptoms is a bold step, but once you do, it will definitely help you move forward.
2. Reaching Out To Friends And Family
Messaging or having a phone call with your loved ones is a great way to re-connect with them and bridge the physical distance. Confiding in the people you trust can greatly alleviate the heavy emotions that you are experiencing. Even if you don't feel like discussing matters of the heart, doing home activities together over the phone can definitely help you feel closer to home. You never know, your loved ones might be having a hard time as well and a call every now and then can really act as a support system for one another.
Taking good care of yourself can play a big part in managing your moods and emotions, and it is often something many of us tend to forget. Start by putting yourself first, and finding out what is working for you and what is not. It's only normal to feel like a big mess, and being too hard on yourself will only aggravate your emotions. Developing some healthy habits into your lifestyle such as stretching in the morning, having well-balanced meals, and reflecting on the little things that you're grateful for at the end of the day can definitely improve your mental health. You could even try whipping out a home-cooked affair or your favourite local dishes such as a warm bowl of fish soup. This will allow yourself to feel fuzzy feelings of nostalgia, instead of resisting it.
4. Don't Compare Yourself To Others
Why we feel homesick differs from person to person, so don't hold yourself in a comparison with others. Everyone is on their own journey and even though it might feel as though everyone else has got it all together but you, dwelling on such thoughts will only cause you to feel worse. Remember that most of us only post the good things on social media, and spending too much time on such platforms can be detrimental to your mental health. Even if it is for a day or two, a social media cleanse can work wonders and also help you focus on yourself more than on others.
5. Seek Professional Help
At times, we may feel so overwhelmed that our ability to focus and work is impacted and a phone call with friends and family does not suffice. BREATHE. Seeking professional help is a viable option as well as it opens up a window for us to unload our emotional baggage. It can also help us to gain a better understanding of our emotions as well as learn new methods of managing our emotional stress. It is important to note that no problem is too 'insignificant' to be brought forward to a professional. If you're not sure of what's going on in your life or you're simply just feeling unsettled, it is more than OK to speak to someone professional.
Universities typically provide counselling services to their students. However, due to the current social distancing restrictions in light of COVID-19, counselling sessions are no longer conducted in person. You may wish to get in contact with your university to find out more about setting an online counselling appointment. Alternatively, you can also reach out to counselling services outside your university. There are even apps, like Talkspace, that offer online therapy for a subscription fee.
University Support Services
External Hotline Services (Victoria) • beyondblue
online and phone mental health support
Tel: 1300 22 4636 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
online support and counselling especially for youths
provides crisis counselling and suicide prevention services
Tel: 13 11 14 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
External Hotline Services (Singapore)
provides emotional support for those feeling distressed
individual casework and counselling as well as financial aid services
Tel: 1800-222 0000
• IMH Emergency
urgent intervention for those experiencing difficulties in mental health
Tel: 6389 2003 / 6389 2004
For further hotlines and mental health support, visit: go.gov.sg/hotlines
Have you watched our latest video on the last time we cried in Melbourne? Here, Singaporeans living in Victoria discuss the last time they cried and how they got better. You are not alone. If you have any questions, you can reach out to us on our Facebook or Instagram, and we would love to chat with you. Do take care of yourselves and stay in the pink of health fellow Singaporeans!
If you are currently in Victoria and facing a situation of emergency or need immediate assistance, contact mental health services or emergency services on 000. If you need to speak with someone urgently, call Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
If you are currently in Singapore and facing a situation of emergency or need immediate assistance, call National Care Hotline on 1800-202-6868.
by SHAHNEEZAR • edited by KIMBERLY PANG
I am currently in my final year of university and have been living in Melbourne since 2016. As an editor for SOV, I look forward to exploring my creativity through writing whilst adding value to the experiences of fellow Singaporeans in Melbourne. Some of my hobbies include singing and photography.