|SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center|
Sometimes you just want to get away. Your older brother and his friends are constantly camped in front of the TV, your baby sister won't stay out of your room, and you want some time to yourself.
But when you get it — maybe at a friend's house for an all-weekend DVD marathon or on spring break at Disney World — you're surprised to find yourself missing the chaos at home a bit.
What's that all about? Believe it or not, you're feeling homesick.
When you're homesick, you might feel nostalgic for familiar things like your family, friends, pets, house, or neighborhood. You can miss something as simple as your bed or the tree outside your window.
Homesickness isn't only for kids: Practically everyone feels homesick from time to time, even adults. Teens might get homesick when they leave home for the first extended period of time, like during a vacation with a friend's family or a summer job as a camp counselor. Going off to college is another common trigger.
Why Do I Feel This Way?
Familiar surroundings, people, and routines provide a sense of security and comfort. In a new place, you may find yourself missing the comforts of home and loved ones. Those homesick feelings are completely normal.
Some people may only feel a little loneliness, sadness, or anxiety. Others may feel physical symptoms, like stomachache or headache, or even become truly depressed. Most of the time, once the new surroundings and people become more familiar, feelings of homesickness go away. But if you are feeling overwhelmed, it's a good idea to seek help from the school or camp counselor.
If you have additional stress in your life — like a divorce or a death in the family — homesickness can be more intense. When you're coping with other loss or change, you'll feel especially attached to things that bring you comfort and miss them more when you're not around them.
Tips for Dealing With It
Luckily, homesickness is usually mild and doesn't last long. And you can do some things to make sure it doesn't spoil your fun:
Almost everyone has felt homesick at some time. Remember that there's a good side to homesickness, too: It means you have family and friends worth missing and a place you want to return to when your adventure away from home is over.
Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD