Going Home: Five Steps to Dealing with the Anxiety and Logistics of Returning to Your Hometown

Never go back; that’s what we are told, whether it’s in films that show the issues with going back to your old hometown after years away or songs that chart the misery and the myriad of problems that await. 

The reality is a lot more nuanced, and the complexities, both logistical and mental, associated with making a long-awaited return are ones that can be overcome, but it may take more than a little time to get back into the swing of things.

Whether you are moving back out of necessity or because you are longing to return to your hometown, you will encounter many possible issues and obstacles. Here are some steps to dealing with the emotional impact that may result in your journey back.

Reconnect With Family and Friends

Maybe you’ve been away for a long time, or perhaps you left hoping to make a new life elsewhere but were forced to make a hasty return; either way, the best way to deal with the new situation you find yourself in is to reconnect with family and friends.

It’s important you don’t feel that the reasons to return indicate some sense of failure, the position you are in (where returning home is seemingly the best avenue to take) is where you are right now, and you need to embrace this with as much positivity as you can muster.

If you look to friends and family, the return will be easier to adjust to, and you may even find that you greatly enjoy the sense of homeliness you feel. Before coming back, it’s best to reach out so as to not catch people unawares. 

Start your communication before you return; maybe make some phone calls or reach out via social media; that way, your return isn’t a massive surprise that may leave you unsure of how things may pan out.

Coming Back from Overseas

Maybe you have not only left your hometown but even perhaps the entire country; perhaps you took a year or two away overseas, and returning home after living abroad depression is very common indeed. 

Commonly this may be in relation to studying or new work opportunities or perhaps a relationship, and those plans didn’t quite work the way you’d hoped; now, you are travelling back and may be feeling quite raw about the circumstances that led you here.

It’s important not to look at the return as a step back but more as a new opportunity in an area you know well. This should help provide the basis for your homecoming, and in many ways going back to where you know will be more straightforward than finding yourself in a strange town.

Moving Back to Your Parents 

Returning home may even mean moving back into the paternal home. Usually, with some rare exceptions, this is simply for practical reasons and not because you’ve chosen to move back home. Obviously, this can lead to feelings of failure, but it need not be as traumatic as you might at first think.

To start with, use this time to develop a new connection with your parents; this is especially relevant if you’ve been away for a while and don’t have the best level of contact up to your return.

On the plus side, this may be a good way to save money that can be put towards a new start in your hometown. The return might bring back memories of your youth, which can lead to potentially problematic associations and thoughts, but it’s important to remember you are a different person now, older and wiser. 

Take the time to sit and talk with your parents and let them know your plans. For instance, if this is only a short-term situation, tell them you have plans to find a new apartment and also try to resolve any past issues that date back to years ago.

Others May Not Have Moved On, But You Have

It’s very understandable that some people in your hometown may still see you as you were or might even be very much stuck in their own ‘past’, but that doesn’t mean that you haven’t evolved and grown.

Don’t get frustrated by people and situations that put you firmly in the past; remember the distance you’ve moved (be that emotional or otherwise) from who you were, and don’t take things to heart. 

You are not the teenager they still think that you are. 

Change Can Be Frightening, But Change Is Good

Some people who move back to their hometown are depressed at how little has changed; this is mainly because they may internalize that lack of movement and feel that it is somehow an illustration of a lack of development on a personal level.

Others may return to an area they thought they knew well only to feel like a tourist in their own hometown. Both types of emotions are justified, and you need to address them in differing ways. 

Maybe there are fewer people from your childhood, but that might be a blessing in disguise. Those that are still in the local area can help you adjust to how the place has changed.

Take Your Time, Ease Yourself In

Going home represents any number of possible concerns and anxieties, but it’s important to deal with these in your own way. Take on board the advice of friends and family but ease yourself in; there’s no need to complicate the situation by rushing. 

Let your return be as organic as possible, and always remember, while the hometown you are returning to may be the same as it always was, you have grown and are more than capable of taking on any challenge and opportunity that awaits you.