When the kids are home, it seems like you never have time for yourself. But when you finally do have that time, the empty house can start to feel lonely, and parents forget to focus on themselves. Whether it’s your first kid or your last, having them leave home is still emotional. Here are five ways to help you love the next chapter, instead of fearing it.
1. Set a weekly call. Be it a Skype call or just a quick chat with the kids, get into a routine of communication with them without being clingy. They’ll be missing you just as much, but even if they’re homesick, they won’t want their mom or dad calling them 5 times a day. Healthy communication when they’re away will open the lines for honesty and long-distance bonding.
2. Find hobbies. Don’t just hang out at home and mope about how your babies are all grown up. Stay positive and readjust to your new life and freedom, taking advantage of it. Do everything you wanted to when you didn’t have any time for it. Sail on the Amalfi Coast, start your own business, or learn a new language!
3. Work out. Taking that new Zumba class or going for a run will up confidence and endorphins as well as helping you let go of that Empty Nest Syndrome. Apart from adding years to your life and toning up your body, being naturally healthy and stress free will turn that negative or sad energy into uplifted productivity and inspiration.
4. Reconnect with your spouse, or if you’re single, jump into the dating pool and enjoy yourself! You might even meet another empty nester. Focusing on romantic relationships will help you take the focus off your kids, and help you take off your parent hat. Savor this new stage in your relationship, or getting to know new people on a weekly date night.
5. Accept support and hang with fellow empty nesters. Talk about feelings with friends and family that have been through it. Having a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on can help immensely.
6. Similarly, join a support group. Having someone that empathizes with your experience can help you feel more understood. Transition into your new life phase with new friends who relate to you, along with the old ones that know you well.
7. Identify with the different roles in your life. Yes, you might have been a mother and wear this title proudly, but what other roles do you play in life as daughter, spouse, employee, or a neighbor? With more time on your hands you can fulfill these other roles that may have been neglected.
8. Get comfortable with self-care. This might mean taking a daily morning hike, taking a luxurious bubble bath, or treating yourself to fancy coffee at that cafe down the street. Reconnect with yourself and give yourself the gifts you deserve.
9. Take on a challenge. Pushing yourself past your comfort zone can help you show yourself that you make it through the emotional transition of being an empty nester. This could be a professional challenge, completing a marathon, or redesigning a room in your house.
10. Plan a vacation. The energy of family vacations vs a solo one or romantic trip shifts the focus from others to you. What’s a place you’ve always wanted to go but never could with the kids? Explore the new freedom of your life in a new place – moping around the house will just fill your mind with nostalgia and make you miss the kids even more.