OFW Struggles: Winning the Battle Against Homesickness
“I miss you!”
“Gusto ko na umuwi sa Pinas.”
“Gustong-gusto ko na kayong makita at mayakap.”
Sounds familiar? These are statements you often say whenever you recollect memories of your loved ones, whenever you feel like packing your things because you miss someone back home, whenever you’re homesick; you’re craving for your life spouse’s presence, your mother’s smile, and your children’s voices. You feel empty inside. You feel the need to see and touch them.
Why do OFWs get homesick?
The intimate relationship of OFWs to their loved ones causes homesickness. Filipinos are generally family-oriented and sentimental people. It runs in the blood; it’s part of the culture. Proof to these are the habits of celebrating annual family reunions and the nature of living together in one compound, the “kapitbahay ko parin si nanay” practice, even after marriage. These ties and closeness make it difficult to say goodbye and make farewells dramatic.
How to manage homesickness?
Just like any other family-oriented Filipino, working thousands of miles away from your country, the chances of you longing for home is very high. Homesickness is inevitable. As you sail away from homeland to foreign pastures the battle against homesickness begins. The anxiety starts. The feeling of surviving the new environment becomes harder. Your heart silently keeps on crying out loud in the middle of the night, at times when you’re sick, or when you realize you can’t talk to anybody else except yourself. It might take days, weeks, months, or even years for your return. The longer you are apart from your loved ones, the deeper the despair you feel inside.
To reduce the feeling of loneliness, here are simple tips which may help you battle homesickness:
- Bring photos. Seeing something familiar will make you feel relaxed and happy. It brings you closer to your family. Photographs in paper or phone will greatly inspire you and motivate you to carry on your OFW journey.
- Stay connected. With the technological advances we have today, connecting with our loved ones afar is made easier. Hearing their voices on the phone and seeing their faces in the monitor relieves the missing factor of home. Some applications that may help you communicate which are free via the internet are Facebook, Skype, and What’s App.
- Create new friends. Do not create a small world. Do not isolate yourself. There are OFW communities where you can join. Create a family in them. You may also meet locals when you go to parks or malls. Try reaching out to other people because socializing will lessen the impact of loneliness. It will help you feel existent and alive. It will also create the spirit of belongingness thus reducing the feeling of aloneness.
- An outlet is necessary. Do not let yourself be immersed in your own thoughts, or else you lose. Let it out through writing. Get a small notebook and write everything you want to say. Create no walls. No one will hear what you write anyway.
- Get a break. It is good to focus on your work but keep it cool. Work hard and work smart. Keep in mind that your body needs to relax and let go. Eat out with friends, do window-shopping and visit places.
- Remember the goal. When you feel like you can’t take the homesickness anymore, list down your goals to remember your aspirations, the very reason why you’re there. Let your determination and love for your family be bigger than your frustrations.
Homesickness is a normal feeling. It strikes everyone who have gone far away from their comfort zone – their home. It may last long, longer than you have expected, but don’t let it overcome your goals. Know that it is a part of sacrifice. A sacrifice you have willingly taken for the better life of someone you love.
Leaving home for a purpose is a sacrifice worth-taking.
BY SHEMAH DELOS SANTOS – MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS LEAD
Office: +63 (2) 931 0968 | Mobile: +63 9069487024 | Skype: firstname.lastname@example.org
3rd Floor, Unit 309, Cinderella Building, 825 EDSA, South Triangle, Quezon City, 1103, Philippines
Office Hours: 9AM-6PM Philippine Time (1AM-10AM UK Time / 5AM-2PM UAE Time)