London is a great place to live and work. Chances are at some point in your life, if you decide to live in the UK, you’ll likely end up working and living in the capital. There are some wonderful parts and many positive aspects of London life. The city contains millions of wonderful restaurants, plenty of great museums and theatres and a plethora of shopping options to boot.
Even so, many people find themselves experiencing a great degree of homesickness when they live in London. There may be many reasons for this and it’s definitely not limited to those from foreign countries. A lot of people from various places in the north of the UK, for example, may find themselves overwhelmed when they move to the concrete jungle. We’ve put together a little list of why you may be experiencing homesickness and what you can do to combat these feelings.
ATMOSPHERE & ENVIRONMENT
It doesn’t matter where you’re from, the atmosphere in London can feel somewhat suffocating at times. Despite efforts to combat the pollution in the city, it remains much more polluted than its British counterpart cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh or Cardiff. Of course, London is densely populated and far more people live here and take the roads, trains, trams or underground every day than in any of those other cities, so this type of pollution is a given when considering the way of life here.
If you’re from a small town in Spain, which has a very low population, you’ll notice the impact that the air quality has on your respiratory and immune systems almost immediately. Similarly, if you’re from a town like Harrogate, where you can enjoy vast open spaces in almost every direction you look, you too will find London slightly heavy on your body. It takes a little time to get used to it and we would definitely advise living outside the city if at all possible. Wimbledon, Putney and Mitcham are all decent areas where you can find a good accommodation at reasonable prices and which are connected by tram links, trains and the underground system.
FAILING TO UNDERSTAND PEOPLE
This is likely more relevant for our foreign readers, but the sentiment remains the same for those from Wales, Scotland and the north of England. It can be hard to understand people, particularly those who speak with a strong cockney accent. If this is your first time in England and you haven’t had a lot of experience or training with accents, it’s likely that you’ll get confused during a few conversations. The UK has such a huge variety of accents that it’s almost impossible to understand all of them without getting lost at some point in the conversation.
There are a few ways with which you can combat this. Firstly, you can use our language exchange section to meet new people from all over the UK with very different accents. Once you’re connected, you can video call them and get used to hearing those various accents on a regular basis. You can also join a club or team in order to meet new people and practice through conversations on a regular basis. There are hundreds of clubs for various tastes, including everything from football or other team sports to Yu-Gi-Oh! Competitions. These are all taking place on a regular basis, so it would be foolish not to take advantage.
There is a bizarre phenomenon that seems to occur in extremely populated cities, where the busier a place is, the more alone an individual seems to feel. Perhaps this is related to the highly impersonal nature of the city itself and the disproportionate work-life balance, which is almost always skewed in favour of the former.
Again, there are a number of things that you can do to combat such an issue. Firstly, don’t ignore the technology that you have at your disposal. If you feel down, then pick up the phone and call your parents, grandparents, relatives or a close friend. It’s really important that you don’t lose yourself to the city. Find a small group of friends if you can, socialise with them as much as possible and get your support system up and running. As we mentioned before, we have a language exchange section where you can meet friends from all over the world, but specifically from London or your city if you so choose.
This is the one that gets to most people who live here. It’s more about the UK and the weather than anything else, but the high amount of stress produced from a London lifestyle certainly doesn’t do anything to help. The winters in the UK are long and oftentimes brutal. This is more true in urban areas like London than anywhere else. In Scotland, it’s cold and hard, but the incredible scenery almost makes it worth it. In the north, the commutes are easier and less crowded, so it’s not such a big issue to wear your oversized coat on the trains. Here in London, however, you’ll experience the irritation of wrapping yourself up to face the harsh weather only to be greeted by a train or underground on which they’ve cranked up the heat to produce a sweaty, smelly box full of weary-eyed, irritated travellers. You get used to being packed in like sardines, but the stench of body odour never goes away.
What can you do to combat the seasonal depression? Honestly, not that much. You just have to let it run its course and look forward to the good months. Alternatively, if you’re extremely lucky, you can find a job in which you can work from home, so you can at least avoid the awful morning commute.
One thing that can be beneficial is to make sure that you get your daily dose of vitamin D, a vitamin which we would naturally receive from the sun. You can do this by taking vitamin D pills or manipulating your diet to include more fish, egg yolks and other various seafood.
This won’t come as a surprise to many of you. We leave behind a lot of things without thinking about it when we emigrate and go to live in another city or country. Sometimes it’s your bed or a favourite chair, something as poignant and meaningful as a family pet or sometimes it’s something as trivial as your games console or trading card collection.
This all depends on how long you’re planning on living in a particular place. If it’s just a temporary thing, then rest assured knowing that you’ll have those things back when you go home. If it’s permanent then you really only have three choices, move the things with you, replace them with new things or simply let them go. A lot of people do find themselves becoming less materialistic when living in a new place, most likely due to the fact that travelling with a great number of material items is just a nightmare, particularly if you have to take them on a plane.
There you have some brief information about homesickness and how to get over things that are bothering you. Of course, it’s not something that you can just switch off, but it’s important to recognise and try to make positive changes in your life.
Written by: Jordan Benyon, staff writer