Dr. Willie Ong
If you have travelled abroad for a long period of time, then you will understand this feeling. Many of our overseas foreign workers (OFWs) complain of being homesick. They miss their kids, their family, Filipino food, and just the little things here in the Philippines. Because of this, their work abroad may be compromised.
Here are some ways to lessen being homesick:
- Analyze why you are homesick? Do you miss your kids, your spouse or is it some other thing? Knowing why you are feeling this way is the first step to solving it.
- Prepare in advance. Fix your important papers before leaving. Tell your trusted family member where your emergency materials are. You can also bring something familiar from home like a pillow or a favorite book.
- Stay in touch with your loved ones. This is not a problem nowadays because of internet chatting and Skype. However, there is an appropriate way of keeping in touch. Don’t call too often (You won’t get any work done.) or too seldom either (Your family might think you don’t care.). Maybe once or twice a week is fine. If you are staying abroad for a year and you call once a week, then after just 50 calls, you’ll be going home already.
- Fill your mind with positive news and ideas. Read funny stories and watch comedy movies. Avoid sad stories and choose uplifting ones. Surf the internet occasionally to keep in touch with what’s happening in your home country.
- Keep busy with your work. Focus on the job at hand, which is the most important thing. It’s easy to go home and quit. It’s more challenging to do your work well and thereby provide for your family. Do your best in your job so you won’t be sent home. And the more time you devote to your work, the less time you have to feel homesick. Before you know it, it’s time to go home.
- Be healthy. Eat healthy foods that can improve your mood like bananas, spinach and other fruits and vegetables. Avoid junk food, salty snacks and fatty foods. You don’t want to become overweight and get sick abroad. By the way, remember to bring your maintenance medicines and medical folder containing your previous laboratory tests. They can come in handy should you need them.
- Have an exercise routine. Join a gym. Walk, jog, dance or do some light weights. Regular exercise releases happy hormones called endorphins, which is the so-called “runner’s high.”
- Meet new friends including foreigners and kababayans. Having new friends abroad can lessen your feeling homesick. However, follow our next tip…
- Don’t do something you may regret. Have a clear line of morality and don’t cross it. If you’re married, don’t go out on a date with someone new. Cut the temptation at its bud. Carry a picture of your spouse and kids in your wallet. You might ask: So what do you do with the “urge”? You can substitute (or sublimate) this with exercise and being passionate for an advocacy.
- Explore your new surroundings. Visit museums and malls. Not everybody has a chance to go abroad so enjoy it. When you get home, you might miss your experiences abroad too.
- Try writing your thoughts and experiences in a diary or personal blog. You don’t really need to show it to others but just for yourself.
- Pray constantly. Pray that God will keep you safe while abroad and your family safe here. Keep an open line with God. That’s the fastest and best internet connection of all.
Tips For The Family Here:
- Adjust to your new roles and adapt to the new family setup. The eldest son or daughter can now act as a protector to the other siblings.
- You can enjoy your independence and develop a newfound confidence. Help and support each other.
- Avoid sharing bad news or sad stories. This can add to the concerns of the family member abroad. If you can fix the problem on your own, then do it.
Finally, get ready for the big welcome when your loved one comes back. Despite trials and temptations, we hope and pray that your family will stay strong and intact always.