Many of us are much more at home in these times than we are used to. Yet there are people who usually already enjoy being at home intensely: the house sparrows. They know that being at home is not a punishment.
All appointments have been cancelled and we barely get out of the house anymore. Aware of how privileged I am to be able to work from home and – apart from groceries – not have to leave my house, I am not bored for a moment. I am in fact a real homebody.
According to Ad Vingerhoets, Professor of Emotions and Well-being, house sparrows only really feel good when they are at home. “They feel a strong connection with their home situation, physical environment or the routine they are in. It is often a club of people who find change difficult”
“Some people need a lot of control,” says the professor. “The loss of control is an important stress factor. Most of the control you have is where you are at home, at least there you know exactly how things are going. Things can happen in the rest of the world, and that tension and sensation is not appreciated by everyone”
According to Vingerhoets this is the other way around for some people. Ordinary life gives them far too few stimuli to become thrill seekers. They look for challenge in, for example, car racing, scuba diving or bungee jumping.
House sparrows get homesick quicker than adventurers. Vingerhoets: “You are to some extent in love with your house, or at least extremely attached to it. Just as you can become attached to a human being or to pets. It means that there is a certain reluctance or reluctance to leave your home, because you always feel that you are missing something or someone”
If you suffer from homesickness, according to Vingerhoets for the time being there are no psychological tricks that are proven to be effective. “You have to try to deal with them
“Being away from home can be normalised by preparing well. Even when you are away from home, you can still use routines to keep some habits the same. Or take something from home that you are attached to“
“Nowadays your home is much closer because you can (video) call each other.” But you also have to be careful with that, warns the professor.
“When a child calls: Mummy, I miss you, the mother also cries. Then the child thinks: I made mummy sad Thats even more reason to go home.”
“House sparrows have the image of being a bit boring,” continues Vingerhoets. “But they have a lot of imagination because they settle for adventures they get from books and films. Moreover, they are satisfied people who find peace in themselves more quickly”
“House sparrows can also be faithful friends; for them it is an outing to visit friends and family because it is usually in the same trusted place”
Nevertheless, according to the professor, we all need some kind of activation of the brain. “When there is too little activity you sleep, in the middle you function well and when there are too many stimuli you experience stress or panic. Some people experience this activation as early as at a visit to the campsite thirty kilometres away, others only at a bungee jump in New Zealand”
He finds it very understandable that everyone now works in the garden. “You make a virtue out of need.”
“The adventurers are having the hardest time now. They think they are very limited and they think that sitting at home all the time is unnecessary. They come up with all sorts of ideas they cant put into practice at the moment.” According to Vingerhoets it only makes it more difficult to digest the situation than when you think: Now its not fun, but we have to get through it
Still, according to Vingerhoets, even house sparrows wouldnt really be able to enjoy themselves if there were to be a general lockdown. “They too would like to go outside, especially in this weather
Everyone is different, emphasises the professor. “Some people like nothing better than to travel far away, others make trips by reading a nice story. In a way they miss things, but thats the consideration you make. Count your blessings in the things you do experience and like.”
Dont exert pressure
Although you prefer to share all your adventures with your friends, according to Professor Emotions and Well-being Ad Vingerhoets you will have to respect that your friend is a homebody. Above all, dont put too much pressure on them to let them do things they dont like. “You sometimes see this in families where grandma turns eighty and grandchildren want to celebrate in Spain, while grandma has never been abroad. You cant make a grandmother like that any more unhappy”