Homesickness occurs quite frequently for FIFO workers and happens when someone is having trouble adjusting to a new environment away from where they usually live. It’s essentially a grieving process because we’ve lost our normal access to the home environment, our family, and our friends.

While it’s often quite obvious when we’re experiencing it, homesickness can include symptoms such as:

  • Loneliness
  • Sadness
  • Thinking of home
  • Low motivation
  • Feelings of loss
  • Nausea
  • Sleep problems
  • Headaches
  • Change in appetite
  • Heart palpitations

It’s important to show yourself some compassion and understanding, and give yourself time to get used to the new environment. Other things you can do to help yourself include:

  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Eating well
  • Exercising
  • Establishing a routine
  • Getting involved with as many things as you can
  • Taking the time to explore (and learn about) your new surroundings
  • Keeping in touch with family and friends
  • Finding and reminding yourself of the positives – the benefits that your FIFO work will bring
  • Keeping things like photos and keepsakes close by

If you find that after two to three weeks, you are still experiencing homesickness, it would be beneficial to seek some help. If your company provides an Employee Assistance Program, access this free service. Homesickness and anxiety can be a big part of the FIFO life so you don’t have to suffer alone.