There are intensely strong feelings associated with childhood memories of what this time of year should look, smell, and taste like. Sometimes we can feel that despite enjoying life here in Korea, things are not quite right.
By shifting and expanding our mindset, we are able to feel more at home here in Korea and less homesick! In the hope of helping you proactively prevent seasonal homesickness, here are 10 great ways to fight off those “holiday season abroad” blues.
1. Get Your Creative Juices Flowing
Most of us can agree that we came to Korea because of our curiosity, openness, and passion for life. What many of us forget is that we are also very creative. It’s hard to name a place better than Korea for tapping into our creativity.
In Korea we can be spectators of song, dance, and fine art. We also can participate by joining writing or book groups, taking those language or music lessons we always meant to sign up for, or by immersing ourselves in any number of artistic endeavors.
Remember the great thing about creativity is that there is no one right way, but our growth on the journey is the real product.
2. Make Up Your Mind to Make Korea “Home”
“Home is where you lie your head” – Oh, if it was only so easy! For many, however, the decision to buy into this old adage really does reduce their homesickness. There’s something comforting about living in the moment and making the commitment to make this place (even if it’s only temporary) your home.
By making your home both functionally comfortable and an ascetic reflection of you, it’s easier to get into the other habits of maintaining local friends, joining social clubs, and pursuing hobbies. Deciding to really live here (not just exist here) helps us not miss our past so much.
3. Stay In Touch by Going High Tech
Technology offers us so many cool and interesting ways to stay in touch and detail our adventures here in Asia. If you don’t know how to blog, Skype, or maneuver on Facebook, you should learn! These tech options allow us to join family functions by video call and easily network with many people at once.
Our blog allow us to record our honest impressions of our journey, and later we’ll be glad we took the time to jot it all down.
4. Get Organized
It’s hard to feel settled and focused if you feel disorganized in some part of your life. It may be your work life where your desk resembles a crime scene or perhaps at home, where you can’t seem to locate that important paper or that one winter glove.
By getting yourself in order, it’s easier to focus on both the short- and long-term goals and not get weighed down by the negative energy.
5. Find Things You Are Passionate About
Whether it’s the warm summer or the crisp winter, Korea has a lot to offer us in the way of passions. If you’re passionate about the outdoors, then there is no end of biking, hiking, and enjoying nature.
If your passions run more toward shopping, learning, or being exposed to a wide spectrum of cultural events, you couldn’t be living in a better place.
For some, passion centers around making a positive impact, and expats have that opportunity often – whether it’s helping someone develop their second language and appreciation for other cultures, volunteering for some worthwhile cause, or otherwise growing and sharing your gifts as an investment in your own personal satisfaction and fulfillment – tap into your passions as they will take you far.
6. Focus On The Possibilities Not The Limitations
A life in Korea is full of possibilities. Instead of getting hung up on what’s not the same or seems impossible, focus instead on the possibilities.
What things does your life here offer that you can’t do at home? What can you take advantage of that maybe after you leave Korea won’t be an option? Make the most of this time of your life because you can be certain this time will never happen again.
A body overly stressed rarely gets the rest it needs. By running on empty, our body releases hormones and our outlook takes a nosedive.
If leaving Korea seems like is the best answer for you, then try to reduce your stressors and adjust your stress reactions first. It could be that Korea is not the best place for you OR it could be that you just need to react to Korea differently.
8. Trick the Senses
This is one of my favorite tips! By streaming my favorite bands from college days, snuggling up on the sofa with my favorite quilt, or looking at old pictures, sometimes I feel like I’m back in the US. Sitting down to a traditional holiday dinner can also be just the trick to the system!
By stimulating the senses in a deliberately familiar way so that it feels like “home” we can often increase our mood and satisfaction levels.
9. Strengthen Your Supports
Because we live in the computer age, we are able to define our social supports in a broader way than those expats before us. No longer are we reliant on snail mail with the supports in our village or town where we grew up, but we are able to benefit by being connected to people all around the globe.
Supports from two continents away may best suit my needs for staying connected to my past or looking toward my future prospects. Local supports may best serve my real time needs and my day-to-day connections with my life here in Korea.
10. If All Else Fails Ask for Help
Knowing that there are resources both here in Korea and abroad can be a comfort when we feel we have not had as much success as we would like. Sometimes accessing good friends, family, clergy, our doctor, or a counselor can provide us the extra support we need as we work through transitions or difficult times.
There are very few things in life that we really have to deal with on our own – you don’t have to let homesickness be one of them!