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Homesickness in Barcelona

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Homesickness in Barcelona

Therapy in Barcelona can help you manage the challenge of homesickness and expat life, but here are some tips to help you along the way.

When asked about the challenges of living or studying abroad, homesickness is one of the most common responses. According to gooverseas.com, “homesickness can arise from a number of different factors — difficulty adjusting to a new environment, feeling lonely or cut off from your regular support system, confusion or problems understanding a new environment/culture/language, a perceived lack of control over what’s happening around you, culture shock, and the list goes on.” Know that these feelings are normal, and are experienced by almost everyone who moves to a new country. Luckily, we have some tips to help you cope with homesickness in Barcelona.

Explore

Find places to explore in Barcelona. Make a list of things you want to do or see, things you’re actually interested in; if you like doing touristy things, get tickets for the big attractions. If you prefer just spending the afternoon in a coffee shop reading a book, then find a list of the best cafes in your city, like this one from Time Out Barcelona. If you love theatre, find some local plays happening; if you want to be active, find a local park to run or bike in. The Barcelona council provides information about parks in Barcelona here. No matter what you do, you’re helping yourself to embrace the new place you’re in while still pursuing interests you had back home. It’s easy to stay inside texting and calling your old friends, but by getting out and experiencing where you are, you can appreciate all that Barcelona has to offer as well as distract yourself from thinking too much about home.

Nest

Another strategy is making your new home in Barcelona feel more like…well, home. If you’ve brought decorations or photos with you, hang them up as little reminders of home. Buy a few things to help make your house or apartment more comfortable for you…perhaps this means soft blankets and fairy lights or perhaps this just means a good set of knives for cooking. Having a place that you’re happy to come home to can be helpful when feeling out of place in a new country.

Go Analog

Try taking social media breaks. While the internet is a great tool for staying in touch with your people thousands of miles away, sometimes we can get too wrapped up in it and miss out on chances to really experience where we are. See if you can go several hours or even a day without checking Instagram, Facebook, etc. For some, this may be harder than for others, but you may find that by not engaging, you’re able to take your mind off all the things you’re supposedly missing out on. There are so many things to see and do in Barcelona, try to put yourself out there even if it feels hard. 

Be Well

Don’t forget to pay attention to your mental and physical health. While you may have had healthy habits back home, the chaos of being in a new place can sometimes lead you to slip out of our routines. Whether it be going on daily runs, cooking with fresh produce, or regular meditation sessions, keep up a regular routine that you know will help you feel good. Neglecting your health will only worsen feelings of homesickness. Furthermore, keeping up old habits from home can help alleviate these feelings by providing you with a sense of familiarity.

Connect

Get involved in your community whether it be volunteering, pursuing a passion of yours, or taking up a new hobby! Check out the Barcelona City Council’s  “Get Involved” website here. Not only is this a great way to meet people, but it will keep you busy and engaged in something you’re interested in. Additionally, many cities have expat communities and groups – Barcelona has Meetup.com. This is a chance to meet fellow expats, perhaps even some from your own country or hometown!

Let Homesickness Visit 

Finally, don’t be afraid of these homesick feelings when they do come. As stated before, they are a perfectly normal part of being abroad, whether for a short time or permanently. Do this 2 minute Self-compassion exercise.

Indulge in Cultural Refuelling

Allow yourself to be sad now and then, and don’t feel guilty if you want to indulge in something that reminds you from home – perhaps getting a drink from Starbucks or going to an American-style bar if you are from the USA or an Irish pub if you are from Ireland, etc. Go buy some foods from home from Taste of America or the British Supermarket in Spain, Taste of Home. Connect with people from your home country in Barcelona for some cultural refuelling and familiarity. Facebook is the best way to find Aussies, Americans, French, Irish…. well, anyone in Barcelona!

These are just a few suggestions for coping with homesickness, but there are many others…each person has their own way of handling things. If you’ve been feeling chronically homesick, don’t hesitate to book a session with one of our trained therapists. 

By Claire Suisman

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Email: info@therapyinbarcelona.com
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