This is the second Eid al-Fitr or Lebaran that we have to spend in the middle of a global pandemic. It has been more than one year since the Coronavirus haunts our lives. Such a long period of uncertainties, changing plans, unpredictable lockdowns, griefs, loneliness, and long-distance relationships with loved ones. None of us can be sure when or if life will ever go back to normal.
There’s very little we can be certain about, and that can feed a lot of fear. Especially for us who live alone or separated from our family and friends. We couldn’t just hop on a plane or ride on the bus/train and go to another city these days, for obvious reasons. A ban on mudik, closed borders, and difficult quarantine process, to name a few.
If you’re one of the many people who experience separation from your loved ones, especially during the Lebaran Holiday, loneliness, and homesickness are feelings that you might be feeling right now. You might miss Mom’s home cooked meal for buka puasa and sahur, praying and ngabuburit together with your family, and many other precious family traditions during Ramadan month. In this article, KALM would like to discuss what loneliness and homesickness are, and what you can do to overcome them.
Definition of Loneliness
Loneliness is the negative feeling that arises when our social needs are unmet by the quantity and quality of our current social relationships. Loneliness could also be in the form of distress about being by yourself or feeling disconnected from the world around you. It is also possible to feel lonely, even when surrounded by people. Research shows that loneliness affects 1 in 3 adults during the pandemic.
What puts people at risk for experiencing loneliness? Loneliness has been found to be a heritable trait, which means that some of us are genetically more prone to feel loneliness than others.. But environments; like living alone, moving to a new area, going through a break-up, retiring, or experiencing bereavement; tends to play a larger role. For many, loneliness might occur during that time of the year such as Lebaran, Christmas, Chinese New Year, or other specific occasions that are memorable for you.
The feeling of loneliness could affect our physical and mental health, too. Someone who feels lonely might have long-term side effects of: increased blood pressure, cholesterol, risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and reduced brain function. Additionally, research suggests that loneliness is also associated with an increased risk of certain mental health problems, including: depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, sleep problems, and increased stress.
Definition of Homesickness
You might think, “No, I don’t feel lonely, but I miss my home very much.” Then you might be experiencing homesickness. Homesickness is described as the feeling of emotional distress when you’re away from home and in a new and unfamiliar environment. Leaving home to go to university or to work is a very common cause of this. It affects those who’ve moved both temporarily and permanently, such as students, migrants, refugees, and those in the military. It’s estimated that 50% to 75% of the general population have felt homesick at least once in their life.
Features of homesickness include phenomena such as nostalgia, grief or separation anxiety, feelings of sadness, ruminative and obsessive thoughts about home, and the desire to return home. It is very common for someone to miss home when they’re away, but some people might feel severely homesick more than others.
Some common causes of homesickness are
- Disruption of lifestyle: Changed routines and lifestyles could lead to anxiety and distress.
- Cultural distance: The greater the difference between cultures and cultural values, the more difficult the adjustment, which leads to homesickness.
- Difficulty adapting: Those who are more rigid in their behavior tend to cling to old habits and avoid situations that require them to adapt.
- Feelings of not belonging: Someone who’s resided in a new place for quite some time (more than 5 years) might still feel like outsiders and start to wonder where they belong, their current place or their place of origin.
Loneliness or Homesickness?
Now that we understand what is loneliness and homesickness, are you wondering if you’re experiencing one of them? Loneliness arises when there are dissatisfactions from your social connections, whether you’re in a new situation or not. Whereas, homesickness is the feeling of missing home or familiar situations. Both could be experienced even though you’re surrounded by a lot of people in your environment.
But also, in certain conditions, loneliness and homesickness could co-occur together. Someone could be experiencing both at the same time. And it must be isolating and depressing to feel both at the same time. Then, what can you do to relieve the negative feelings?
Dealing with Loneliness & Homesickness
We can start by doing these things to try and alleviate the loneliness and homesickness:
Understand and acknowledge your feelings.
It is very important to accept your feelings. What are you feeling right now? Is it sadness or anger that you’re experiencing? Or other emotions? After you admit to yourself about your feelings, then you can try to regulate them. If you’re unsure about how to regulate your emotions, you can look for KALM’s contents that address this in KALM’s App and Instagram (link).
You can also talk with a professional counselor who could guide you in your journey of regulating emotions. Online counseling is accessible from KALM App that can be downloaded here.
Avoid burying your feelings alone, instead, try to reach out to local or online communities, such as joining a class or club, find new favorite places, volunteering, and make new friends.
Strengthen existing relationships
If you’re struggling to find the motivation to reach out to your loved ones, it might be helpful to start slowly. Come up with just one supportive friend or family member who you could imagine reaching out to, either through messaging or video-calling. To your surprise, they might be feeling the same feelings as you, too.
Research studies have shown that journaling can help with your feelings of loneliness/homesickness. Every night, try writing down three things you’re grateful for and three things you’re looking forward to the next day (you can read more about gratitude journaling in this article). Journaling feature is also available in KALM App.
Seek professional help
Lastly, don’t hesitate to contact a professional psychologist or counselor if you think that you need help.
That was a glimpse of information regarding loneliness and homesickness. Hopefully, the information provided was insightful and helpful for all of you who think that you’re lonely. KALM would like to say Happy Eid al-Fitr 2021 to KALMers who celebrate it.
Author: Jessica Delphina
Editor: Lukas Limanjaya
Black Dog Institute. (2021). What is loneliness and how can we overcome it during these times?. Retrieved 6 May 2021, from https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/news/what-is-loneliness-and-how-can-we-overcome-it-during-these-times/.
Mason, D. (2019). What to do when you feel homesick | Prospects.ac.uk. Prospects.ac.uk. Retrieved 6 May 2021, from https://www.prospects.ac.uk/applying-for-university/university-life/what-to-do-when-you-feel-homesick.
Scott, E. (2021). 9 Coping Mechanisms to Try If You’re Feeling Lonely. Verywell Mind. Retrieved 6 May 2021, from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-cope-with-loneliness-3144939.
What to Know About Homesickness and Mental Health. WebMD. (2020). Retrieved 6 May 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-to-know-about-homesickness-and-mental-health.
Trackback URL: https://get-kalm.com/en/2021/05/11/lonely-lebaran/trackback/