Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Heal Your Homesickness

As of February 12, 2016, I have officially spent half a year of my life living in Illinois. As of February 28, 2016, I have spent just as much as my life with an incredible, funny and exciting person I call my very own.

Last year brought so many changes and lessons for me and I hope this year does too. In fact I hope it brings positive things into your lives as well. We all live the daily struggle of life, so we all deserve a break now and then.

Its so easy to get caught up in life, I've found since I've moved here up north, its easy to get caught up living life in the fast lane. In the south everything functions so much slower, I'm serious... Its easy to get caught up in my daily activities and forget to call my family and friends back home. Its nice to slow down on the weekends sometimes. I especially enjoy my slow and easy weekend visits back to Arkansas.

Ugh... Arkansas, just typing it makes me homesick. Homesickness is the hardest thing to deal with, especially if you come from a close-knit decent size family. I come exactly from that and from your stereotypical “Smalltown, U.S.A.”

So for those of you with a bad case of homesickness here's a few tips to help you cope:

  1. Call your family and friends, stay in touch, whether it be through social media, Skype, phone calls, text messages or even good old fashioned letter writing. Of course don't over envelop yourself by spending hours on the phone everyday, this will only make it harder to place yourself into your new surroundings because you are too busy staying wrapped up in your old life. However, a two hour phone call back home to Mamma doesn't sound too bad on those crappy days. I even like sending a letter or two back home to my little brother, sometimes its nice to hold something you know the other person has put thought into and you yourself know they have touched it.
  2. Keep an emergency stock of what I call “homesick movies.” These movies can be based in the state where you called home in your former life, a favorite movie you and a family member use to watch together, or maybe even a movie that reminds you of the interaction of your friends and family. For me my favorite homesick movies are: Mud, Forrest Gump, Steel Magnolias, Slingblade, Django Unchained, Herbie Fully Loaded and the TV series Heartland.
  3. Make sure you take something from home, because back there, is no longer home, at least not for me, its habit to call it back home, but from a previous blog post you all know that “finding home” comes from finding yourself. So take something special from where you are leaving. I have a pair of pearl earrings my mother gave to me, many family heirlooms from my grandparents, and even a dried up pink azalea flower my boyfriend picked for me back during a December visit to Arkansas for my birthday. Silly huh? Its just a dumb flower, but I know it came from there and I couldn't bare to toss it out, so there it lies on my truck dash, perfectly dried out and preserved, you wouldn't believe how something so simple can bring so much comfort.
  4. Immerse yourself into your new life, whether you are slow to make friends or you are a social butterfly, put yourself out there, don't stay cooped up in the house. You will eventually come across “your kind of people” so to speak if you frequent places you enjoy. For example, Im what you call an “equestrian” so when I step into Farm and Garden stores and I see someone browsing horse bridles, I walk up to them and ask them what kind of riding they do or something related, its scary for naturally shy people like myself, but lets face it, you couldn't be too shy to pack up and leave your home to make a new home somewhere else. Use that same courage and go out and make friends!
  5. As I am not much of a journal keeper myself this is a half assed suggestion: Keep a journal, write your feelings let them out, keeping everything you're feeling bottled up doesn't help. I find talking and making friends with those in my area that know what it feels like to be in my situation helps to relieve homesickness.
  6. Cook a good meal, one that maybe your mamma or grandmother cooked for you as a child or perhaps something from your country or state's cuisine. I'm from the south and you better bet your bottom there's a hot southern inspired meal on my dinner table almost every night of the week. Eating southern comfort food just takes me back to those days of childhood comfort, sitting under a shade tree drinking sun tea.
  7. Keep photos of family and friends in your house or on your phone. My grandfather has been dead 15 years but I have a picture of him sitting on the back of a boat during a fishing excursion in the Gulf of Mexico, sitting on my dresser so that I can see it everyday. Some of my fondest memories are of him and I fishing together. Keep your memories close, but don't be afraid to make new ones in a new place.
  8. Plan a trip back to your roots, no one said you couldn't go back! If funds are tight, save a little here or there, instead of eating out this night or buying this here, save it and make a trip back to your family and friends.
  9. Don't give up a piece of yourself to be in a new place. If you came here with hobbies, then continue those hobbies, maybe even pick up a few new ones. I'm slowly getting acquainted with people and places to continue my former hobbies. Having hobbies plays a big part in homesickness: if you don't have anything to do in your spare time you will go mad, no doubt about it! You like to fish? Research, buy a fishing license, load up your pole and go to the nearest public land for fishing! You like to hunt? Network with hunters, visit bow and gunshops to make these connections, research public hunting land in your area! Take up playing and instrument or continue playing an instrument!
  10. Remember why you moved in the first place: Was it to go to college? To make a new life? Advance a flourishing career? Remember what gave you the courage and ambition to move in the first place and let it continue to inspire you everyday as you make your way through life.

I love y'all and thanks for reading Straight Southern today! <3 <3 <3

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