Comfort food and drink: the cure for homesickness
Written by Sam Bouchard
It’s a little strange: sometimes we experience powerful feelings of missing home when we travel, commonly called homesickness. Believe it or not, the food and drink you consume while travelling can play a big role in how you feel overall.
Here are some tips to help you get through some of the tougher parts of travelling.
First, people like to immerse themselves in the culture of the place as early as possible. I suggest you go gradually. Stay in crowded and touristy places, you will feel safer and reduce stress. The busy streets are much more reassuring than the dark alleys and alley bars. For the same reasons, try to head out during the day. The goal is simply to stay well in your own body, not to push your limits too often or too quickly. Take the time to evaluate your surroundings and check that everything is normal. Nothing will happen to you more than what could happen to you at home. Soak up that feeling and the work is almost halfway done.
After that I suggest you have something that you usually love at home in order to battle homesickness. Whether it’s an energy drink or just a chocolate chip muffin, it will remind you that you’re fine no matter where you are. Look for foods or drinks that are considered “comfort food”. This kind of food or drink triggers the production of serotonin in you, which naturally relaxes you and releases tension.
Stress and anxiety can also cause you to ignore your body and misinterpret signals. Pay attention. Nature has made that you have an incredible desire for something: water. Drink some water. If your body tells you it’s missing something, start with 350ml of water and if you’re still hungry, eat. Eat more slowly, as stress makes it difficult to properly assess your natural needs. I once went two days without eating real meals because my level of stress and anxiety prevented me from feeling hungry and even digesting well.
I know it may sound stupid, even childish, but if you don’t feel well physically and don’t understand why, try going to the bathroom. Again, stress prevents you from recognizing your body’s signals. A strong urge will make you unconsciously contract certain muscles and make you uncomfortable. Moreover, going to the toilet is a moment of personal relaxation that I am sure everyone enjoys.
Lately, don’t think too much about what you’re missing. If you miss your spouse, cat or mother, limit the times you think about them and when you talk to them on the phone or by text. When we are anxious, we can create scenarios that make no sense, such as wondering if everything is going well for everyone at home. Think about how many years you have lived without real incidents, and that there is no reason to worry unnecessarily. Ask them to write you a note every day to reassure you, but don’t let those thoughts consume you.
Stress and anxiety can dictate your way of being and spoil your trip quite easily. Remember that your mind controls your body and not the other way around. Learn to listen to your body. But also, force your body to listen to you and control those thoughts that can go wrong.
Homesickness can happen to all of us, but if you follow these steps, eat and drink well and listen to your body, you should be good!
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