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How to Deal With Being Homesick

“When she wants to know why this is all happening, I just say, ‘It’s the virus and we’re keeping you safe,’” Ms. Bell said.

G. Vasquez, who asked to be identified by his first initial because he is an undocumented immigrant, left Guatemala when he was 29, traveling by land for a month to reach the United States — a trip that would take just five hours by plane for someone who can freely cross international borders. Today, he lives with his wife and children in Western New York, working on a dairy farm. He said New York is home, even though he doesn’t feel “fully adapted” to living in the United States, and greatly misses his parents and extended family. Until immigration laws change, he is unable to visit them or allow his children to see their grandparents in person. He copes by focusing on what his children will gain.

“It is sad, and I feel happy at the same time,” he said through an interpreter. “They are growing up here, and back home they wouldn’t have the opportunities that they have here, so thank God I’m actually able to see them take this opportunity.”

Mr. Vasquez emphasizes the trade-off in leaving his family to live and work somewhere he can earn and save money. Life is harder in Guatemala, he said, and here many of his fellow farmworkers sing and whistle through long days — through work that often comes without benefits. “They never complain,” he said.

Christina Koch, a NASA astronaut, said her first space mission, from March 2019 to February 2020, was extended while she was living at the International Space Station, setting the record for the longest time in spaceflight for a woman, at 328 days. For the most part, she was able to ward off homesickness while up above Earth, she said, partly by reframing her sense of longing.

“You have to leave home to understand home,” Ms. Koch said. Focusing on what she would gain by being far away “helped me to stay tied to the place that I may have had to leave in order to go and do these exploration missions.”

She also said that instead of focusing on what she missed, she would find “something that I had in the moment that I may never have again and just focus over and over again on what that was.” This was easy in space, she said, because looking down on Earth, “you know it’s all still down there. It’s also waiting for you. Nothing’s going anywhere.”

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