Part 1 of a two part series on homesickness
After deploying 160+ young Canadians to jobs far from home, we’ve had our fair share of homesick Mobilizers. For many, it’s their first time away for an extended period; in our first session, about 85% of Mobilizers experienced some level of homesickness. If you’re concerned that you’ll miss home a bit too much, we’ve compiled some tips from the trenches to help you cope.
13 Tips for feeling at home when you’re far away
1. Remember why you’re here. Focus on what led you to the program in the first place. Dive into working, learning, meeting people and experiencing nature, and you’ll have less time to focus on missing home. Get out there and make new friends and find kindred spirits.
2. Accept support. During our second session, significantly fewer workers felt homesick (only 40%) – because they had a built-in support network from the first group. Connecting with others that had “been there, done that” was incredibly valuable. The “old guard” helped the new staff stay focused on the big picture: that Mobilize is about getting work experience and having an adventure.
3. Trust your podmates. The program is designed to make it easy to make friends. Mobilizers live with other podmates, so it’s easy to go out together, try new things, and talk to each other about how you’re feeling. You’re all far from home – knowing others feel the same can help.
4. Play some sports. Join a local sports group. Mobilizer James learned to curl in Jasper, and Courtney joined a softball league in Banff. Both bonded with their teammates, got to know some locals, and stayed busy, engaged and having fun.
5. Volunteer. Giving back can be a great way to fight a longing for home – you’ll get to know people, help others, and have fun experiencing something new. We’ve had Mobilizers give their time at animal shelters, local charities and with special local events.
6. Experience nature. Hike, rock climb, bike, swim, take pictures – take advantage of the natural beauty around you. There’s nothing like immersing yourself in nature to put things in perspective.
7. Write in a journal. Note your experiences, explore your feelings, write down motivational quotes.
8. Celebrate special occasions. Just because you’re not at home for Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate in style. The holidays are always the hardest time to be away from your family – cook up a storm with your podmates and new friends and start some new traditions!
9. Get offline. Text or Skype once or twice a week with your family, but avoid doing it every day. Staying in touch too much just makes homesickness worse.
10. Bring a little something from home. Pack a blanket from your room, a favourite sweater, photos of friends and family, etc. Something that will feel familiar in the unfamiliar.
11. Stick to your routine. Keep up with your favourite show or watch your home team. Cook your favourite foods. Find ways to connect with what you’re used to.
12. Remember that missing your life back home isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It means you have healthy attachments to the people in your life. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t miss them.
13. Look ahead to your next deployment. The excitement starts to build about a month before you relocate – it’s great to know you’ve got another adventure waiting for you!
Next up in our two part series on homesickness: how to build a support system when you’re far from home.
Mobilize is a unique youth employment program that places Canadian millennials from low employment regions in cool jobs in areas experiencing labour shortages. Mobilizers rotate through seasonal placements in different parts of Canada, building work experience and having a travel adventure. It’s our answer to the changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program; now, instead of looking to other countries for staff, employers are filling their ranks with motivated Canadians!