8 Tips to Overcome Homesickness in the UK

Before we begin: it’s TOTALLY NORMAL to feel homesick after moving abroad. Don’t be embarrassed or think “it’s just you” or think that you’ve made a mistake moving to the UK.

It’s happens, it’s normal and it’s not forever. And honestly, I wish someone had said that to me 7 years ago when I first arrived in the UK. I thought I had made the wrong decision moving to the UK because I was struggling so much. But with time, and with some proactive steps, I got through here and consider the UK home now.

Here’s some of my top tips for helping with homesickness so you can enjoy your new life in the UK.

1. Create a routine

Moving abroad means so much change – and sometimes that’s enough to completely stress us out. We are creatures of routine and having a routine can be very grounding and gives your life some stability – in a time with so much change.

Even before I got my first job in the UK, I made a routine:

  • woke up at the same time
  • had breakfast, watched some TV
  • shower, get dressed into real clothes
  • spent a few hours applying for jobs
  • went on a walk around my new neighbourhood (exploring and exercise are huge)
  • come home, have some lunch
  • do some bits on my laptop
  • work on unpacking a bit each day, any chores I needed to do, get groceries, etc
  • have dinner then relax on the couch

While I didn’t have this routine for long, it was extremely helpful at the beginning. Things can feel so overwhelming and new and scary – but a routine can help ground you.

How to handle homesickness in the UK

2. Exercise

Proper exercise, whatever that looks like for you, is hugely important. I know that my anxiety and homesickness gets worse if I don’t take care of myself – and skipping exercise is an easy way to spiral downwards.

Exploring your new home is a great way to feel more connected to your community while also getting fresh air and exercise. Exercise doesn’t need to be running or hardcore cardio, just something to get you moving.

I also joined a weekly local pilates class that was great for exercise and meeting new people.

3. Watch your diet

It’s easy to fall back on junk food or fast food when your stressed or homesick. Unfortunately, this just makes things worse! Keep an eye on your diet and make sure your eating well-balanced meals (and don’t forget your veggies!).

A great way to feel connected to the UK is to try new local foods, whether at a restaurant or local pub, or try making them yourself!

Have you recently moved to the UK (or planning to)? Make sure to check out this post: What To Do Your First Week in the UK

4. Don’t forget the things you love

When you move abroad, it can be hard to accept so much change. And while learning about British culture is important to assimilating to life in the UK, don’t forget the things you love back home. Whether these are particular hobbies, activities, foods – it doesn’t matter!

Don’t forget all the things you love, even if they remind you too much of home at first.

5. Organize time for home

With a new timezone, it can be difficult to connect with back home (and that can feel really isolating at first). I would recommend scheduling in a call back home so you don’t have to rely on finding a time your friend or family member is available. Sent a time and day that works, and that way you know you’ll be able to connect!

It’s important to not call home too much. You don’t want to always be looking backwards when you can look forwards to a new life in the UK.

6. Find community

Finding a community in the UK can be huge for feeling connected to British life and a bit less homesick in the process. Community can look different to everyone, but there’s lots of options:

  • join a club or group in a hobby you enjoy
  • join a sports team or a fitness class
  • connect with other expats in the area – either in person or through online communities

7. Feel it, don’t bury it

A first instinct may be to bury your feelings of homesickness. Surely it’s better to just avoid it, right? No! Feeling homesick is normal and natural and it’s better to feel it, accept it, and move through it.

Similar to grief, it’s much better in the long-run to understand your feelings, work with them and move through them rather than trying to pretend these negative feelings are happening.

8. Give yourself time (and be patient)

Homesickness happens and if you just get annoyed at yourself, you aren’t helping. Just know that it takes time and it doesn’t mean you made the wrong decision to move or study here. Everyone goes through this. Be patient with yourself, show yourself a bit more kindness, and you’ll get through it.

Even now, nearly 7 years as an expat in the UK, I still struggle sometimes. I still miss my family and certain aspects of my life back in Canada. But it’s not cripplingly or overwhelming like it once was at the beginning.

And in time, you, too can feel a little less homesick.