You made the decision to move to Caye Caulker, and once that decision was made you were over the moon with excitement. You connected with our office, scanned homes for sale in Belize, figured out which neighborhoods appealed to you most, and began to plan for life after…
Life after hours stuck in traffic jams. Life after extended days in the office with little exposure to sunlight. Life after seeing the same old sights day after day. Life after ordinary. You committed to moving to Belize because you never wanted a day to feel ordinary again.
And life in Caye Caulker has been amazing, hasn’t it? You’ve made a few friends, figured out which restaurants and bars you can’t live without, and have a “favorite” spot in the sand, a place you call your own.
And yet – once in awhile you feel a twinge, a disquieting upset that makes no logical sense. Perhaps it happens after hearing that friends back home got together to celebrate a birthday, or upon realizing that you miss your favorite hometown coffee shop. Whenever it hits, homesickness is to be expected. In fact, it would be unusual if you did not experience a bit of emotional distress after making such a big move.
Homesickness is described as feel sad or depressed after being away from friends, family or homeland for a period of time. It is as natural as the ebb and flow of the tide, and like the tide, the intensity will recede.
Here are a few steps that will help you cope when homesickness comes calling:
See it for what it is. We humans crave connection and security. It is quite possible that you don’t miss your actual home, but miss the comfort of being in a familiar, stable environment. It may not be the brew from your favorite coffee shop you miss, but the everyday routine of walking in, seeing a familiar face, and placing your order. Homesickness is not some cosmic sign that you have made a mistake by moving away. It is an emotional way of coping while you replace old routines with new ones.
Talk about it. Look around. Every single person who has moved to Caye Caulker from another place has likely experienced homesickness. Tell someone how you’re feeling and ask if they have ever been homesick. Find out how they dealt with it. The most important thing is to know that you are not alone.
Carry on with customs from home. Prepare your favorite dishes, continue cherished religious practices, and enjoy the same hobbies. If you were in a book club in Dallas, we can guarantee that you will find another book club here in Caye Caulker.
Practice self-care. Journal your feelings, get plenty of exercise, and stay in contact with the people you love back home. While feeling homesick is natural – expected even – it is important to be kind to yourself as you move through the stages. As intense as it may feel, you are likely to wake one morning and realize that Belize feels like a home that you cannot imagine leaving. In the meantime, be patient with yourself.