When the time comes for your children to move out of the house, it can sometimes leave parents feeling as if a part of their identity and sense of purpose has left with them. Even though the symptoms of Empty Nest Syndrome are not clinically diagnosed, there are a number of things parents can do to combat and cope with the transition.
Learn what it is like to have free time again! Here are 10 ways empty nesters can transition from a busy household to a simpler schedule.
1. Bon Voyage!
Since your schedule is no longer tied down by your children’s school calendar or extra curricular activities, booking that flight to Paris or a cruise to the Bahamas has never been easier! Since you have no one’s schedule to consult but your own, especially if you are retired, you are able to enjoy a new adventure at a moments notice!
2. Reconnect With Your Other Half.
When it comes to raising a family, schedules can be chaotic and alone time with your significant other can be hard to come by. Now that your children are out of the house, spend some of that uninterrupted time reconnecting with each other. If you are finding that you are a little out of sync, some of the best ways to feel connected again are to implement a weekly date night, plan a trip, or enjoy a favorite hobby together.
If you are a single parent, chances are your child always came first. Now it is time to put yourself first! With your children out of the house, this extra time will allow you to expand your connections and can open up your life to new friendships or romantic interests.
3. Revisit Your Friendships.
Besides reconnecting with your spouse, it is also important to reinvest in friendships. Find those friends that you may have lost touch with over the years while you were raising your family and schedule a time to get together to catch up. You may also be able to reconnect with friends who have recently become empty nesters and can learn how they coped with the transition. To ensure that you do not lose touch again, make it a point to schedule a dinner together once a month, form a book club, or plan a group traveling excursion.
4. Expand Your Space.
One of the hardest things for some parents is trying to figure out what to do with their child’s room after they move out. To make this part of the transition easier, figure out how your child feels about their room before they move out. If they are okay with the space being converted into something different, packing up the room together can be a very special moment between you and your child. If there are items your child wants to keep, but you don’t have room for, research self storage facilities in your area and find a facility that will best suit your storage needs.
If your house now seems too big, downsizing to something smaller and more manageable may be something empty nesters will want to consider. Now is the time to buy that swanky condo you always dreamed about or relocate to a different area that will be a better fit for your new lifestyle.
5. Explore Your Interests.
Before having a family, were you a great golfer, painter, or gardener? Now that you have more of those quiet moments you secretly craved while your children were at home, grab your gardening gloves or paint brush and dedicate your extra time to a hobby you once loved, but didn’t have time for.
6. Go Back to School.
Since you will not be having to help your children with their homework or have to monitor their progress in the classroom, you could enroll in a few classes of your own. If going to college or furthering your existing degree is something you have always wanted to do, now is the time! Enroll today and advance your current skill set or learn something new!
7. Volunteer Your Extra Time.
Volunteers and the helping hand they provide within their community is always appreciated. If you are looking to fill some of your extra time, consider looking for a community group or organization that is in need. If you have a special skill set such as photography, writing, teaching, or gardening, consider looking for a position that would allow you to execute projects using the skills you enjoy.
8. Set Goals For Yourself.
Since soccer practices, dance recitals, graduations, and other activities your children participated in no longer make up the majority of your schedule, this is your time to do things you have always wanted to do, but never had the time for. Sign up for that 10k you have always wanted to cross off your bucket list, perfect your favorite yoga pose or work toward advancing your skill set at work.
9. Invest in Your Health.
Ever since your children were born, you have put their needs ahead of your own. Make yourself a priority again! With your children out of the house, now is the time to invest in yourself and your health. By creating an exercise regime that works for your new child-free schedule, you will be able to not only find a new activity you love, you will also benefit physically and mentally from your new routine. Whether it is just a quick jog around the block or a 12-mile bike ride, studies have shown that exercise does improve your mood and overall well-being.
10. Be Proud of Your Milestone Moment!
One of the best ways to ease the emotional transition of being an empty nester is to reflect on everything that your family accomplished while your children were living at home. Raising a family is not easy and the accomplishment should be celebrated! By reflecting on what they have already accomplished, you can be confident that your children will know what it takes to continue on the road to success. Your children will also find comfort in knowing that they still have their number one cheerleader rooting for them!