11 ways to fight homesickness after moving across the country
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I wasn't homesick at first. I really enjoyed the freedom. The adventure. The responsibility. All of it made me feel like a fully-functioning adult. Until the cravings started. After seven months I began craving everything about New York and my Jamaican upbringing. What do you mean I can't run down to the shop and get a small cornmeal porridge with two fried dumplin'?! Wait, I really have to drive everywhere? Does everyone in Los Angeles really need to bring their dogs with them to lunch? And why, oh why, can't I just get four chicken wings and some shrimp fried rice from the Chinese spot? The list goes on. It was hard but I'm two years and five months in, and I will never really get over the things I miss most about the Bronx
So, here are ways I've been able to cope and bring a little piece of New York to L.A
1. Learn to cookI've always known how to cook but if you're moving somewhere that might not have all the comfort foods of your childhood, learn how to make them yourself. I can't tell you how many times my mouth watered for a plate of Jamaican Oxtail with Rice & Peas until I started making it at home
2. Celebrate yourselfYou'd be surprised how much better devoting time to yourself can make you feel. I took myself to the movies every week for the first two-and-a-half months of being in L.A. It was something I did a lot in New York and upholding that routine helped in a major way. So, get your nails done or buy that novelty item you've had your eyes on, whatever makes you feel like you've made the best choice for your future is worth it
3. Make new friendsAll the people I love live back east, so making friends in L.A. was imperative. You don't have time to sulk when you're surrounded by people enjoying life
4. ShopIf you happen to move somewhere that has stores and malls that remind you of home, shop there. You wouldn't believe how much more calm I felt just by living near a Target. Yes, it was that serious
5. Learn a new languageLearning a new language takes time, dedication and commitment. It's also a great distraction from feeling homesick. You can have fun with it. I binged on French movies with no subtitles and even when I didn't understand everything, it was so much fun!
6. Join groupsThere are so many free groups to join. Apps such as Meetup are a great way to find people who are experiencing the same things you are or want to try something new. It's your sure bet to making friends and you get to do fun things together in large group settings
7. Decorate your spaceWhether you're renting a room, crashing on a couch or have your own place, adding a few simple touches to your home will brighten your mood and keep homesickness at bay. You can make a vision board collage of your life back home or frame old pictures to hang on your wall. For me, having some of my favorite books close by helped tremendously
8. Use social networksSeeing snap after snap of your best friend living her life without you can start to make you feel some type of way but I'd rather see those pictures and videos than nothing at all. Social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter are great ways to stay in the loop without physically being there. I can't even imagine making such a big move back in the day. No technology? No other way to contact people from home but by handwritten letters that took weeks to arrive? I'll pass
9. Get out and get activeRun, hike, speed walk...just do something! Getting into shape and looking your best will really keep your mind off of the fact that you are away from home. When I first moved to California my hobby was running. I'm still not very good at it but I noticed a drastic shift in the way I felt about leaving home after getting in some physical activity. Hikes are great too
10. Explore your new homeThis was the most important step for me to overcome feeling lonely. Whenever I was feeling down I would explore a different part of my new neighborhood. It kept me active, took my mind off of being away from home and forced me to get to know my surroundings
11. Try to visitI'm still trying to make it back to New York for a visit. Taking trips back home can sometimes ease the homesickness. Just make sure you get on that flight back to your new home! I imagine it can be extremely tempting to stay, especially when you're back around all the things you've missed
Your last option is to force everyone you love to move with you. I'm not sure how well that will go over but you can dream. You've come this far — you got this!