Whether you’re ready or not, your kids will eventually move out and start their own lives. This can be a great change for the parents and the adult children. Though it’s normal to feel a little sad by this occasion, there are numerous benefits to consider. Here are a few perks of an empty nest.
According to a study from the University of Missouri-Columbia, an empty nest can lead to changes in parent-child relationships. In the study, mothers and fathers reported differences in “independence/maturity of the child, closeness/openness in the relationship, contact/time spent together and changes in role patterns.” This can cause many parents to experience stress, sadness, and loss of identity. But while being separated from your children for the first time can be stressful, there are benefits to consider like having a cleaner house, less family drama, fewer responsibilities, and more money in your pocket.
Here are four perks of an empty nest to look forward to:
Time to get healthy
One benefit of an empty nest is having time to focus on your health. Only one in five American adults get enough exercise, and these numbers get worse as Americans get older (from one in six for American adults in their 50s to one in seven for American adults over 65 years-old). But recently older Americans have been exercising more. In 1998, only six percent of older Americans were routinely exercising, now it’s up to 16 percent. So, use this new stage in your life to focus on your health. Try new healthy foods, make time for exercises that you can do with your spouse, and be sure to get more sleep.
Time for travel
Now that you have free time on your hands, take the opportunity to travel. According to the U.S. Travel Association, mature travelers make up the majority of leisure travelers (36 percent). In fact the average age of leisure travelers is 47.5 years old. Need a few travel ideas? Orbitz has suggested Santa Fe, New Mexico; Quebec City, Canada; Savannah, Georgia; and Aspen, Colorado. If these suggestions aren’t for you, consider traveling to a destination on your bucket list.
Time for romance
An empty nest can give you an opportunity to rekindle the romance in your relationship. An empty nest can also exacerbate martial problems and lead to rocky relationships. In fact, studies show that “gray divorces,” divorces between couples over 50-years-old have been increasing since 1990. In 1990, one in 10 people 50-years-old or over got divorces, in 2009 it was one in four. So, take this time to reinvest in your relationship. Make time for dates, special anniversaries, and greater intimacy.
Time for friendships
Free time on your social calendar means you have more time to spend with your friends, or making new friends. As a parent you may have found yourself primarily socializing with people is your children’s social circle, like their coaches, advisors, or the parents of your children’s friends. Now take the time to socialize with your friends, or make new ones. Volunteering, educational classes at a local community college, engaging with neighbors, and social media are just a few suggestions from experts.