How to deal with empty nest syndrome

When you’re raising your kids, you have days when you think, “I can’t wait until they go off to college!” Oh, but once they leave and the reality sets in that even if they do come back, it will only be for Christmas holidays and summer breaks, a whole new kind of feeling comes over you. For the past 17-18 years, your world has been consumed with providing your children with the tools that they need to live on their own…and now they’re out there actually doing it.

Now you’re left wondering what to do with the inexplicable void that’s inside of you.

Welcome to what is known as the empty nest syndrome. It’s perfectly normal and believe it or not, it will pass. All you need to do is put some plans in place as you embrace what is not just a new season for your son or daughter, but for you and your life as well. Here is how to copy with empty nest syndrome.

Give yourself time to grieve. One of the hardest things in life is not just adjusting to change, but accepting that it’s inevitable. You were in the habit of taking care of your child in a certain way, one that had a certain kind of routine, for almost two decades of your entire life. It’s OK to give yourself the time and space to miss that.

Take a vacation. If there’s anyone that deserves a little rest and relaxation, it would be you. Before trying to figure out what’s next for your life, make the time (and effort) to take a much needed vacation. Just a week (at the least) of you sitting back and enjoying making yourself a priority for a change.

Make a plan. Once you’ve gotten a bit of space to clear your mind, it’s then time to make a plan. After all, just because your child is off starting a new season of their life, that doesn’t mean that your world has come to an end. This is a wonderful time for both of you to try some different things; to prepare for the next stage that is to come.

Think about going (back) to school. OK, this isn’t a way for you to semi-stalk your kids while they’re attending class. This is a way to tend to a possible dream of your own that may have been deferred. There are a lot of people that either didn’t go to college or didn’t finish because they had a family. If you’ve wanted to take some college courses or even get an online MBA marketing degree, this would be an ideal time to do it. Remember, Colonel Harland Sanders was 40 when he first started frying up chicken for what became the KFC franchise. It’s never too late to start what you never got to finish!

Focus on the other facets of your life. Several of you may have heard of the “gray divorce”. It’s the staggering rate of people who divorce later in life. Some of this is due to the fact that so much energy was put into raising children that once they left the home, the parents realized that they grew apart and no longer have much in common. Once your children are away at college, this is the time to get back to focusing on your needs, your spouse’s needs and some of the quality time that should be shared with your other family members and friends. It’s hard to watch your children officially begin their own life, but the good news is that the transition is easier when you nurture areas of your own that may have been neglected while you were taking care of them. It’s not just their time to soar…it’s yours too!

I hope these tips can help you to answer the question of how do I deal with empty nest syndrome.


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