Are you an expat living in Costa Rica? Then you must have, at some point, experienced homesickness! Homesickness can be described as ‘A feeling of intense sadness and longing caused by absence from one’s home or native land.’
The feeling can arise from a number of factors – problems understanding the language and culture of the new country, a feeling of being cut off from your support system, difficulty in adjusting to the new environment, cultural shock, etc.
Though this feeling is hard to fight overnight, one can take small steps and efforts towards the process of overcoming it.
7 Ways To Deal With Homesickness
1. Adapt to the new environment
Don’t dwell in the past. One of the reasons you are feeling homesick is probably because you haven’t yet felt ‘at home’. Work on making your house feel like a home away from home. Invest your time, effort, and money in decorating your home with things that give you a familiar feeling, and make you feel excited.
Turning your home into something that you are more comfortable with, will give you a sense of control over your life.
2. Follow a fixed routine
Have a fixed routine! This doesn’t just mean having a fixed routine at work, but also in personal life. Wake up at the same time, exercise regularly, sleep at the same time, etc. Do not forget to incorporate some fun or leisure activities like going out for a coffee or grocery shopping once a week.
3. Refrain from excessive use of social media
While social media is a great way of keeping in touch with your family and friends back in your home country, excessive use of social media may prevent you from accepting the change in your life. You will be hanging on to the past events, and may not be open to opportunities that lie ahead.
4. Make a bucket list
Make a list of things that you want to do in life. See how many can be struck off the list in Costa Rica. For example, have you ever experienced bioluminescence? If not, then Costa Rica is a perfect place to do that.
Also, look for top things to do in Costa Rica, or top restaurants to try in your city, and add them to the list. This will give you something to focus on and divert your attention to.
5. Explore the new country
Pack your bags and set out exploring Costa Rica. Try the new cuisine. Visit places that depict the culture of Costa Rica. Learn about its history. Interact with the locals. Make use of the many extended weekends in Costa Rica when the whole country is celebrating Semana Santa, Mother’s day, or Virgen de los Angeles.
6. Make new friends
We, as human beings, need to feel socially secure. If you do not put effort into talking to new people, you feel more lonely and left out. Make friends with neighbors, talk to them, and invite them over for coffee or tea. Ask your coworkers for drinks or dinner after work. Reach out to the community from your country. There is always one!
7. Blend in with the local culture
Try to be a part of local celebrations. Understand why Costa Ricans do things in a certain way. Learn about the origin of Gallo pinto and Casado as national dishes.
Put effort into learning the new language. For example, some phrases like Pura Vida, mucho gusto, muchas gracias, and Buenos Dias, are commonly used in day-to-day activities. Learn their meanings and usage, and try to use them with the locals. Not only will they feel nice, but you will also get a feeling of inclusion.
Staying connected to your roots is important. One should always respect their home country and its people. But at the same time, you also need to adjust to the new country. So, do your part in fighting the feeling of homesickness as much as possible. The longer you try to push that away, the longer you will take to feel ‘at home’.