heimwee naar de toekomst

We had plans, we had dreams, we had a longing,
for our future.
Now there is only homesickness.

Three years. Three years I was able to experience being together with my biggest love up till now. I miss him. I miss us. I miss our future. I long for it.

I have a broken heart.
But I also feel homesick.

Homesick is translated as experiencing a longing for one’s home during a period of absence. My love for him felt like coming home. Our future, with everything we wanted to be together, feel together and do together, felt like home. It still does. When you decide that you will not move through live together anymore, that future vanishes. And so does the feeling of coming home. There is going to be a new future. A new home. But I don’t want that. I want to go home. I am homesick for our future.

What can I do about these homesick feelings? I wondered. I decided to consult the all-knowing internet about homesickness. Maybe it could help me.

I came across an interesting article; the psychology of homesickness.
In this article the writer explains that homesickness is a reaction of stress of our body. It’s a natural emotional reaction to leaving a safe and familiar environment. Symptoms mirror those of anxiety and depression. Also, you can literally be ill from homesickness, like having headaches, belly pains, tiredness, feeling short of breath, etc. Well, that’s a check for me. Sounds all too familiar.

Another interesting detail that caught my eye, is the difference between cats and dogs feelings of being homesick. It’s the difference between being homesick for places and being homesick for people. I am obviously a dog homesick kind of person. I attach to feelings, energy and people. Not being able to come home to a loved person unleashes the homesick dog in me.

Scrolling through the homesick internet I also find that certain personality traits influence homesickness. For example, when you do not cope well with big changes, you have a bigger chance of experiencing being homesick. But, also, for example, a forced departure enlarges this chance.

I recognized a lot of things. So, a more important question followed; What to do about it?

Distraction is the most obvious option and is the one thing that kept coming back in everything I read. Homesickness is not a feeling that is constantly present. Especially when you have nothing to do or when you do not have people around you, it can grab you by the throat.

I also found out that accepting and not being ashamed of this feeling is helpful. Feeling homesick is normal. It does not mean that you are weak. Share your feelings with people you love. Let them help you.

Think positive. Try to think about the good things and pros of being away. And, good to know, feeling homesick enhances everything good about your home environment. This results in you feeling unhappy and sad in the here and now.

Last but not least, and a cheesy but important one; these feelings need time to lessen. Blegh.

There are other tips to be found in dealing with feeling homesick, like, try to keep a similar day pattern as you do at home, take familiar stuff with you, write a postcard home, and try to prepare yourself for where you are going, make it a little familiar beforehand. These tips are less fitting for me right now, but certainly worth looking at when you are someone that experiences homesickness when you leave for vacation or stay-overs at friends or family.

This small research about homesickness was, for me, a lovely process. It is always a good thing to think about what you feel, where these feelings come from and how you can help yourself.  In this way you give yourself attention, care and love.
It gave me a lot of insight and also a peace of mind. My feelings are universal. They need time. And, especially, they are allowed to be. I am allowed to be. Homesick and everything.

So, time to head off into distraction 😉
X Bouwke

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NiceDay Writer. Organizational and work psychologist. I love nature, traveling and photography. I like to move and exercise, especially tennis, pilates / yoga and walking. With my story I am committed to more openness about mental health and I want to reduce stigmas around these topics. You can find me on Instagram: I am one Movement and backpackingbouwke and on Twitter: @iambouwke

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