You spent all those years dreaming of the time when you’d finally be free of kids and have the house to yourself. Well, that time has finally arrived, but perhaps you’re not enjoying your new life as much as you thought you would. You might be suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome!
In the past, your kids were a huge part of your life. Now, you’re going to have to find something else to do with that time!
Make the most of your post-child years with these strategies:
1. Schedule time to speak with your children. It’s not too difficult to stay in touch these days. Between the phone and a multitude of phone apps and online services, it’s easy to both speak and see your child frequently. Set a time to talk at least once a week.
2. Reconnect with your spouse. There’s a good chance your spouse and you have lost touch with each other to some extent over the last couple of decades. Kids can do that to a marriage. There’s only so much time and energy to go around. You now have the time to rediscover each other again.
3. Plan your free time. Part of the reason for Empty Nest Syndrome is free time without a purpose. Make some plans to use that free time. In the past, you could just plant yourself in front of the TV and enjoy a little break. You have too much free time for that now. Do something useful or enjoyable with it.
4. Get a hobby. It’s the perfect time to pursue a hobby. You have the time to explore an interest you’ve been neglecting. What have you always wanted to do, but lacked the time? Here’s your chance to do something about it.
5. Focus your attention on something meaningful. A hobby is something fun, but it might not be that meaningful in the grand scheme of things. Raising kids is meaningful. You might need to find a suitable replacement. Maybe you’re passionate about helping the homeless or saving the whales. A few hours a week doing something important might help to fill the void you’re feeling.
6. Set a few goals. A couple of exciting goals can be an effective way to focus your mind on something other than the fact that your children are gone. What would you like to accomplish over the next two months? How about the next five years? You’d better get started!
7. Join a support group. If you’re really struggling, there are support groups that can help. It might be worth your time to check one out.
8. Rediscover yourself. You’ve probably spent most of the last 20-plus years worrying about work, your kids, and taking care of your home. You’ve barely had any time for yourself. It’s time to rediscover yourself.
- Keep a daily journal.
- Think about your values.
- What else would you like to accomplish in your life?
- What is important to you?
9. Give yourself time. It can take some time to deal with the fact that your children are gone. Be patient with yourself and realize that it’s a process. Give yourself enough time to reconstruct your life.
10. Reach out to your friends. There’s a chance you’ve been neglecting your friends. Pick up the phone and ask someone out to dinner. Begin the process of rebuilding your social network.
Empty nest syndrome is a common occurrence in those adults whose last child has recently left home. But empty nest syndrome can be a positive sign. It’s a sign that you’re at a point in your life where you have the free time and financial resources to enjoy yourself and create a new life.
This can be a new beginning for you. Be sure to take full advantage of it!