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Living Away from a loved one/s is what Homesickness is all about

17 Sep 2015

Competition, ambitions and technology have shrunk the world. For most of us today, the world out there is full of opportunities. 


As a student or working professional we make a choice to travel away from home, ‘our safe nest’. This decision is never easy. When we make that difficult step to abandon everything and go far away for career prospects or love, we’re leaving behind a lot.


Today we are going to take a little peep in the emotional state of all those, students, working professionals and the least spoken about the people working in the defence world. 

Let’s understand what it means to them to be away from home

· Often they feel left out of family events and have a strong urge to connect with family, especially during festivals or family gatherings. They feel the absence of self in the family picture put up on facebook, Instagram etc.

· Missing "Ma ke haath ka khana": Living away from home leads to managing a lot of yourself and this can often be stressful. One manages things right from laundry to cooking and looking after self when unwell.

·They have to come to terms with the pain of family leaving after a visit or they leaving after a visit back home.

·It’s difficult for them to continue keeping family a close part of their changing life. It’s not intentional but distances in place do bring about some distance in relations too. It requires a lot of effort to keep up with this for both parties involved.

· Dependency on friends. I often heard my brother tell me that he and his friends volunteer to help each other when they are moving apartments in London. They also spend and have small get together on Indian festivals like Diwali, Christmas etc. to feel less lonely. Moreover they end up sticking to the rituals more than what we might be doing back home.

· Individuals in defence have more difficult situation. A few days ago a client who works with Indian navy was expressing what it is to be on sea for days on end and have no connectivity with his family. He expressed feeling stressed, thinking about the wellbeing of his parents all the time. He also spoke about his personal experience of losing his father to a cardiac arrest while he was away. The trauma is difficult to put in words.

·They learn to appreciate their own company. They can no more pop round for a cuppa with mum or watch a film with their siblings. They learn surprisingly fast how to enjoy their own company.

Surprisingly but true. Those away from home start to miss the bad parts of home too.

·They feel being a mis-fit when they come to meet family. When they come home to meet family (especially after a long time) they do experience a disconnect and this is difficult to explain. They have an urge to go back. This feeling could create a lot of contradictory emotions in their minds.

This is just one side of the story.

What happens to those who are back home and their loved ones have decided to travel far away?Do they experience any less pain? Of course not. 

They too have feelings of loss, loneliness, separation anxiety, feelings of neglect; and lot more. A mother whose son has left for further studies has many emotions to deal with. She could be feeling happy knowing that her child will prosper and grow. But she also has to deal with a sudden emptiness, a loss and loneliness in her life. She has no one to cook for and no one to appreciate her meals. She doesn’t have anyone who needs her pampering, care and comfort.

What happens to that wife whose husband is working in army? She can barely see him. She is always worried of his safety. She never gets to enjoy a normal married life. She has to adjust with her new family in the absence of that only one known support “her husband”.

Living away from loved ones is never easy so let’s look at how the family can work to make things easy for both themselves and the one who is away:

·Find time to talk as per mutually decided availability. Use mediums like skype/FaceTime which gives a sense of beings physically present.

·Be aware on difficulties of living away. This is truer for families whose spouse on children are working in navy, army, or other defence fields.

·Write to your family member more often. Yes today we have mobile phones and we can talk more often. But this is not same as writing to each other. Writing allows individual to vent out their deepest of the thoughts.

·Be independent. Whether your child is away or your spouse is away. One who is far away is always concerned about your safety and well-being. So be independent and move on.

· Have a support system or friends and families. Make a support group of people in similar situation as yours. Get an outlet to your feelings too.

· Add new meaning to your life. Like develop new hobbies, take up work, challenge yourself.

·Trust your love even while he/she is away.

·Value and nurture little time together.


How can individuals who are away from home cope with their situation?


· If you are going to a university abroad it always helps to chat and get to know other students from your country. Start doing things independently while you are still at home.

·Plan for connecting with your family. Teach your family members technology that they could be used to stay in touch with you.

· Keep emergency contact numbers and helpline handy for your family members to use in your absence, while in crisis.

· Be an emotional part of your family happenings irrespective of your physical presence. Like your child’s school progress, emotional progress and development, important happenings in your parents life, your spouse and their emotional needs. Etc.

·Be sensitive to your absence. Remember the choice that you made was possible because of the support of your family. Empathise with the loneliness of your spouse.

· Encourage your family to be independent and enjoy life.

· Have your support system in your friends and make strong connections with people in similar situation.

· Write to your family more often. It always leaves positive and satisfying connections.

·Take time out for each other and don’t take one another for granted.

· Learn to enjoy your own company and don’t pity yourself for being alone. 


Staying away from your loved one is recognised as a leadingcause of Depression and Anxiety. If you are finding it too hard to be away from family members/loved ones and its taking a toll on you, you can consult an emotional wellness psychologist instantly at

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Tags: #living away #homesickness #loved ones #loneliness #anxiety