From my weekly newsletter, The Remindful. Click here to sign up.
I drove up to Manchester last week.
It’s where I lived for 25 years. Driving into the city I felt so homesick.
I’ve been away since the start of the pandemic. Where I live now is so much greener and more open. So much better in lockdown.
But there are parts of me that I’ve had to leave behind 50 miles up the motorway. And sometimes it makes me sad and wobbly.
Homesickness is a product of change. And it isn’t necessarily connected to a place. It’s more like the place is an embodiment of a version of you. And it’s that version of yourself you miss.
I know I’m not alone in this feeling. I have two clients that have moved abroad recently, and describe similar things. One said that said she was “always waiting for things to go back to normal”.
When we looked at what “normal” was they weren’t things that were place specific.
They were to do with her sense of who she is, her roles, her habits and rituals and her relationships. Being far away from family, learning new cultural norms, letting go of an image of herself. That’s what homesickness is about.
Sometimes those things are influenced by place. Mostly they are feelings that come up with any kind of change. A new job, having a baby, moving, starting a degree, getting a promotion. They all challenge your self-concept, your habits, your relationships and your roles.
Making a change is easy; transitioning is the hard part
If you have chosen to make a change, the chances are you thought it through and had good reasons to do it. So it can feel frustrating when you feel off somehow.
Having some awareness that what you are feeling is a typical response to change can help.
Also try the following to get yourself on an even keel.
1. Work out which parts of your identity are being challenged.
2. How have your habits changed?
3. What is different about your relationships now?
4. How have your roles in life changed?
When you do this exercise, you will see that you have a lot to deal with. And my biggest piece of advice here is to show yourself some grace. Be compassionate. Be sympathetic.
· plan to lean on your social network
· be compassionate towards yourself and do the things that help you to relax and feel at ease
· take a balanced view of what is going well even if you feel that everything is going badly
· do the things that keep you grounded in who you are: keep up with hobbies and interests
· talk to trusted intimates (friends, family or partners) when things are bothering you
· modify your daily habits and routines to support your comfort and wellbeing
· acknowledge the steps you have already taken and how courageous you have been
· remind yourself that once your new situation becomes familiar it will become comfortable
And most of all, go gently.
If you want to read more about transitions and how to cope with them, follow the links to more detailed blog posts.
If you think coaching might help you with any kind of change but aren’t sure, e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org to ask me anything!