You don’t have to be a homebody to feel homesick when you’re away. Whether you’re traveling for work or going to college, it’s common to feel a certain level of stress when leaving the house for long periods of time, says Yusra Aziz, a Pennsylvania-based psychotherapist and founder of Our Healing Vision Counseling.
“When many of us think of the ideal of ‘home,’ we think of feeling comfortable, familiar, and safe,” Aziz told HuffPost. “Going away for a period of time might be filled with a lot of layered feelings. Even with all the planning in the world, there is often an element of the ‘unknown.’”
Tania Czarnecki, a clinical psychologist and executive director of the counseling center at Drexel University, agrees that homesickness is a common experience and affects many people, although experiences can vary. “Individuals differ in the intensity and duration of their homesickness,” he says. If you traveled a lot in your childhood or used to go to overnight camps or boarding schools, he says, you may be more attuned to spending time away from home later in life.
While it’s very common to feel homesick or worried about going to a new place, Czarnecki says that if you’re feeling overwhelmed with anxiety or lonely and isolated in your feelings, she recommends talking to a mental health professional like a counselor or doctor. For students in particular, Czarnecki points out that many campuses have their own wellness center which may have the option for you to talk to someone or offer a safer place for you to relax.
If you or a loved one is getting ready to leave the house for a while, these experts share a few items for you to keep on hand to help with anxiety and homesickness.
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Portable phone charger to ensure you always have battery
Headphones for quiet music or audiobooks
A set of two roll-on lavender essential oils
Journal to express yourself
Your favorite tea (and a kettle to make it)
String lights for comfortable lighting
Floor cushions or meditation cushions
Per Czarnecki, the wellness room at Drexel University’s counseling center has meditation cushions and floor cushions that students love to rest on. Having floor cushions or comfortable seating can bring a sense of comfort to a new space, and can also remind and invite you to take a moment to breathe and process. “Practicing mindfulness and being present can help with anxiety,” says. We like this option from Amazon which comes in five intricate patterns.
A set of Attention Cards
To bring that relaxing zen feeling to the ride, Czarnecki recommends carrying a few Mindfulness Cards, in your purse or purse, to encourage you to take a moment to calm down and breathe if you’re having a particularly anxious day. This beloved deck comes with more than 50 clues to help you bring your mindfulness to it every day.
Easy to care for plant
Czarnecki and Aziz both recommend bringing a bit of green into your new space. “Plants are always calming,” says Czarnecki. “It can be helpful to get something that requires low light and low power, like bamboo, because you’re probably going to be very busy.”
The real cute fidget jewelry
Display box for memories and things from home
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