Do you often think of your home in the Philippines and miss certain things such as the rhythm and vibe of your city, the taste of local delicacies, the way you’d greet your friends in your native tongue, and just the mere experience of waking up in your home again?
Aside from worrying about their families back home, homesickness is what OFWs and migrant Filipinos often feel while living abroad. Especially for first-time OFWs who haven’t yet experienced living alone and away from their families. And with the COVID-19 travel protocols in place, OFWs opted to stay in their countries for safety reasons.
It’s easy to get attracted to the idea of living independently in another country. You’d be excited to immerse yourself in a new culture, learn another language, meet new people, and taste foreign cuisines. But in the middle of all these adventures, you’d find yourself yearning for things that could only be found back home.
Some Filipinos overlook the cost of living, culture, and societal norms when looking for a country to work in and it often catches them by surprise. When the excitement has simmered down and the harsh reality finally sinks in, it can be quite overwhelming to feel lonely, stressed out, and homesick all at once. This is why OFWs should have a healthy support system in place.
Homesickness doesn’t go away overnight
When you’re wallowing in homesickness, remember to remain calm and don’t panic. Most people start to pack up and leave within a few months. But remember your goal and reason why you came to work in another country. Whether it’s to buy real estate properties in the Philippines or just to simply provide for your family’s needs, OFWs should always remember their personal goals as their daily motivation to work hard. Feeling homesick is natural, even for OFWs who have been working abroad for several years already. While it may be natural, the prolonged stress can affect our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.
OFW Tips: How to Cope Up with Homesickness
Whether it’s your first-time to work overseas or you’ve been working abroad for several years, here are a few techniques in combating nostalgia abroad.
Communicate back home
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Communicating regularly to your family back home in the Philippines can help relieve the stress and anxiety. Exchanging stories, asking them about what they need at home, or a simple kamustahan with your friends over video call can instantly make your day better. Share your feelings too. Let them know how you’re settling in, if you’re okay or not okay, and especially if you’re sick. It’s important to let them know your overall well-being just in case anything happens to you.
Always keep your connections with your loved ones open and active. You may not be there for them physically, but the mere act of checking up on them virtually can also make their day better too.
Schedule a video call with them once a week or at least twice a month. It’s also important not to wholly depend on them for interactions. Make friends with your fellow OFWs and migrant Filipinos. For sure, they feel homesick as well and they may also need someone to talk to.
Acceptance and acknowledging your feelings
Accepting your new life and embracing change is the first step to overcome nostalgia. Moving to another country takes a lot of emotional energy. Set boundaries and expectations for yourself and accept that homesickness is a natural part of the journey as a migrant Filipino worker.
Denying and burying feelings is only going to make matters worse. It’s important to acknowledge that you’re going through a homesick phase and you need time to recuperate.
Eat healthy and exercise
Exercise is a great coping mechanism for migrant workers. Regular exercise not just controls your weight but also improves your mental health and mood. Your body releases certain chemicals during exercise which can make you feel more relaxed and elevated. Go for daily jogs, yoga, or a simple 15 minute exercise in the morning.
Conversely, eating unhealthy food on a daily basis affects your mental state as well. It’s tempting to order in fast food restaurants after a long stressful day at work. But, you may want to cut down processed food and unhealthy snacks to protect your physical health. Remember that you’re living alone and it’s going to be difficult taking care of yourself.
Explore your new home
Make a new home away from your home in the Philippines. One of the things you can do when you’re feeling homesick is to go sight-seeing. Discovering new places where you feel comfortable is essential in overcoming bouts of homesickness and understanding their culture better. Create a bucket list of places you want to visit and experience during your free time. This way, you have something to look forward to.
Culture shock may also happen to OFWs who are still trying to grasp their environment. When you’re in a new setting, it’s completely normal to feel culture shock. A healthy way to cope with this is to keep an open mind about their norms and respect them. Living a new lifestyle abroad doesn’t mean distancing yourself from your roots. Change is inevitable when you’re a migrant worker.
Attend social events
Joining local groups and attending events can help you take your mind off things. When you’ve befriended your neighbors, they can pinpoint the best spots in the city and even take you there for a day tour. You can also volunteer at local organizations during your day-off to keep yourself busy.
What’s important is you go out and socialize with other people you can have fun with. Getting to know the locals and your neighbors can help you understand how things work around the neighborhood and broaden your horizons.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
There’s no shame in seeking professional help. Remember that in your journey abroad, you are not alone. You can always ask for help and support back home in the Philippines even though you’re thousands of miles away from your loved ones and in another timezone.
Missing your family doesn’t mean you’ve made a mistake. Because they’re important to you, it’s natural to yearn for their voice and physical touch. It means you need to check-in with yourself and know the root of your problems.
Everyone has their own way of overcoming homesickness. And it’s not something you can rush. It’s a slow process that takes time in getting used to. You just have to keep in mind that it’s a reasonable reaction to change brought about by moving into a whole new place.
Companies like Vista Land International set-up virtual events that OFWs and migrant Filipinos can actively participate in. Aside from offering real estate investments in their webinars, Vistaland International also ensures that OFWs are well educated in financial literacy and the Philippines real estate industry. Read more of our blogs to learn about OFW property investments and lifestyle tips.
Are you an OFW looking for additional income? Click here to join our global network of real estate salespersons!
Vistaland International Marketing, Inc. (VIMI) is the international marketing division of Vista Land. Aiming to provide OFWs and migrant Filipinos a home in the Philippines, VIMI has established long-lasting relationships with brokers and clients around the world.