When your children leave home, parents may feel sadness, loneliness, and emptiness. Does this situation sound familiar? Waving goodbye to your last child, you begin the long drive home. The emotions and reality of your empty nest set in during the next few weeks.
How can you put your life back together and learn to cope with the stress of empty nest syndrome? Ignoring the problem is not the answer. Check out these solutions designed to get you back on track toward the next chapter of your life.
Empty Nest Solutions
Be proactive, not reactive.
Prepare for the feelings before they come. Learn to experience a sense of power and control in your own life. By facing the situation straight on without compromising your feelings, you choose not to avoid the pain, the confusion, and change, but to deal with it healthily. This is a time of adventure, discovery, and creativity.
Use loneliness as an opportunity to develop your Self
Now that the children are gone, there may be only two of you in the house. But don’t be alarmed! This is how you began this family all those years ago. Make a date with your spouse or partner once a week that takes place outside of the house. Play music in the background each day, be creative with your talents and abilities and find a reason to laugh each day. It only takes five minutes of laughter to improve vascular function!
Enumerable possibilities lie before you. Studies show that pet ownership lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Sharing your new empty nest with a four-footed friend can also ward off depression. Enroll in that cooking class or pottery seminar you’ve always wanted to take. Read the books you have been putting off for years. Enrich your mind by attending a classical music concert or a lecture. What about a career change or volunteer work? You will meet new people that will change your life. There are countless ways you can develop your Self when your kids leave the nest. Make sure you have a group of friends to support you in this transformation of your life.
Choose crisis or rebirth
The empty nest period can become a crisis or a glorious time of rebirth. Honest self-evaluation and assessment is the first step on that path toward rebirth. Conduct a simple inventory of your life, mental, physical and spiritual.
Get a journal and start writing. Answer these questions: What is the state of my mental health? Do I live with anxiety, depression, anger, fear, or shame? Can I improve my mental health by reading, joining a group or seeing a counselor? Get a therapist and enjoy the personal growth.
Take off your clothes and stand naked before the mirror. What do you see? How do you feel? Do you need to begin a different exercise program or learn more about nutrition? Try something new like Pilates, Tai Chi, or Yoga. Are there medical tests you have been putting off? Are you taking a multi-vitamin, drinking green tea and eating healthy foods?
Ask yourself about your spiritual life. Are you regularly experiencing a deep connection with your Source? If not, why not? Have you outgrown your religion or church? Should you learn about other theologies or spiritualities? Are there spiritual practices that you do each day to stay connected?
Create a new marriage for your new life
Many marriages are frail, bruised or fractured by the time the nest is empty. During the empty nest phase, the divorce rate rises 16 percent for married parents. The empty nest, however, can be an opportunity to create a new relationship.
Plan a vacation to someplace you have always wanted to go together. Learn what each of you likes and dislike—movies, food, programs, vacation spots, sports, spirituality, and religion. Review the home chores, list them all, and make a fresh decision about who will do what in this new marriage. My husband now does the laundry, vacuuming, dishes and began cooking! Get to know each other all over again.
With no children in the house, you can play again. Shower together, watch movies on the couch or find a hobby to share together. Sex can become the best during the empty nest.
Live Your Intentional Life®
The empty nest is an opportunity for you to spend the rest of your days living your intentional life®. Your other roles in life have taken a back seat to “your life.” Begin an exciting plan for the rest of your life. How long do you both want to work? Where do you want to reside in retirement? Where do you want to travel? What will your financial needs be for both of you? Discover how you can create the rest of your life organized around the purpose you were born. Flow into “your authentic life.”
This is your life, and you can choose to plan a new life beyond your wildest dreams. Live an intentional life®.