You arrive at your new apartment or dorm room and excitement overwhelms you. Your parents rush about, filling the room with the trunks and boxes of your belongings. You unpack a few essentials, they take a picture. And then they leave. You find the way to your bed or your couch and sit in the quiet.
The quiet and the empty walls create in you a feeling of loneliness. You’re used to your parents chatter over dinner, the dog nuzzling your leg when you sit down. You’re used to a home-cooked meal and the TV on in the background.
How do you go on from here? Will this homesick feeling follow you through every day?
The good news is that there are ways to fight it. There are things you can do to make the transition smooth and seamless.
The first and most important part of this transition is your purpose. Maybe you’ve moved for college or maybe it’s a new job and a new town. Either way, your days need a purpose. It’s the best way to fight loneliness!
Set goals for your new home. Clean the bathroom, vacuum the floors, unpack! An important part of this transition is making your new home, well, your home. You don’t want to be living in another person’s dust and grime. Get cleaning and get your belongings unpacked. Once you see the frames of familiar pictures around your new place, it will start to bring you comfort.
Set goals for your time. Don’t spend every minute at home. It is good to walk around the college or your new town. Get acquainted. Don’t stay stuck inside. But when you are inside, make sure that your time is spent well. Do you have any hobbies? Do them. Do you have a favorite book? Read it. Cook yourself dinner. All of these things will establish yourself in your new place. It will give you strength and independence.
And most importantly, remember your purpose in Christ. Ultimately, that is what fills you and what will bring you the strength to combat any amount of loneliness. When I moved to Philadelphia, I was immediately absorbed into a busy schedule. This pulled me away from resting in my purpose to serve God. Away from that purpose, things began to feel meaningless. Don’t let your time and your days become meaningless. Find God’s purpose for you in each day. If it’s nothing major, remember that bringing honor and glory to God is what He calls each of us to do every day.
As mentioned before, don’t barricade yourself in your new room. It may be hard to go out in the middle of feeling lonely, but it is essential. Some are inherently more extroverted, and it may be easier, but even if you are an introvert, you need to get out and make friends! Everyone needs a social network of support. This network will become your new family away from home. This will be the biggest factor in combating that homesick feeling. Explore a new restaurant or the dining hall. It’s okay to sit by yourself! Someone else is feeling the exact same way and may sit down with you. Relationships take time and energy to build, but the investment is nothing compared to the reward of good friends.
Remember to find friends who will encourage you and support you in your goals and lifestyle. It may be easier to slip into the wrong crowd, but finding true friends is worth the effort and the wait.
Finally, and most importantly, in the middle of your loneliness, it is essential to take time to find peace. When I moved away after college, I tried to busy myself every moment, but eventually the loneliness crept in. Sometimes it found me when I was in the shower and sometimes when I was driving to work. Until I found time to center myself on what really mattered, loneliness was my constant companion.
I ran from moments of quiet and this hindered my ability to be at peace. Taking time to seek God and allowing Him to fill you is crucial in combating loneliness. Start a prayer journal or a bible study. Get a devotional book. I’ve included several links below of resources I suggest for a time like this. Take advantage of all that is out there to lead you to the peace that comes only from God.
Major transitions are hard and that’s okay! It will take time for you to settle into your new place. It’s okay to struggle, that is what makes us stronger!