You just hung up the phone with your family and you suddenly feel overwhelmed. Why are you here? At this moment, you wish you were at home, surrounded by your loved ones. You don’t feel very good and want to book a flight ticket to visit your family. This feeling is absolutely normal: it’s called homesickness. What should you do to feel better?
1 – Let it go
It’s OK to cry, to stay in your bed because you don’t feel like doing anything. It’s ok to spend a day/night watching movies because you just want to stay home. It’s ok: just listen to what you need, and do it. Give yourself some time to accept homesickness.
2 – Make a point with yourself
Remember why you left and all you’ve been through to come here: the interviews, the paperwork, the application process, the departure… Be proud of yourself. Allow you a moment to feel special, because you are brave enough to live this unique experience. Not everyone can do it. Be thankful to be able to spend time with kids, they bring so much joy everyday! A smile from them can bright up your whole day. Think about all the good times you’ve had with your host family so far, and all the good times to come. Enjoy your time with your host family, it’s precious!
3 – Don’t stay alone!
Even though you may need some time by yourself to let go your emotions, don’t stay alone for a long time! Spend some time with your friends, if they are busy you can join Facebook groups to meet new people and find some activities to do. You can also ask your LCC for au pairs in your area. Other au pairs understand you, and it’s good to talk about it and share your thoughts with someone who understands you. Communicate!
4 – Plan your next trips
It’s time to take a look at your bucket list! You are here, in another country. What places do you absolutely want to visit before leaving? Take a calendar and write it down. You’ll realize how fast time goes by! Having milestones helps a lot when you miss home. You’ll be happy to discover new places, new music (have you ever been to Nashville? No? Go!!), new food… and eventually new people!
5 – FaceTiming: yes or no?
This point is different for everyone. I personally avoided phone calls and even more FaceTiming my family when I was feeling homesick, because I knew I’d be about to break into tears every time. Other au pairs find comfort in FaceTiming their families when feeling alone. Just do whatever makes you feel better.
6 – Eat well, drink well and sleep well
Your physical health is as important as your mental health. Make sure to eat properly, not too much and enough. Also, make sure your body gets all the vitamins needed to function. When you are stressed, your body burns more magnesium, so you may need to adjust your diet. Here’s a list of different aliments that contain magnesium. Drinking water is important to stay hydrated! If you’re not hydrated enough, you’ll feel headaches, muscular cramps, you’ll have dry skin and even may have some fever. Sleeping enough is also very important, your body needs to rest to work properly.
7 – Cook back home meals
Food is often very involved in homesickness. Cook your favorite meal that you used to eat back home, and share it with your host family. You will be proud to show your culture, and they’ll be glad to discover new flavors. The smell of the food will remind you home, and make you feel at home! Cooking back home meals helps a lot when you feel homesick.
8 – Give yourself a treat
You are brave. You decided to live this adventure, and not everyone would do it. Celebrate the fact that you are in another country, and treat yourself, whether it is with candies or a concert ticket. Enjoy your adventure!
The moment you realize time flies, you’ll enjoy your adventure to the fullest. Remember that homesickness is a feeling that usually goes away, but if it doesn’t and it’s way too hard, why not taking a week of vacation to visit your family?