After you’ve spent nearly two decades equipping your children with the skills they need to succeed in life, it may come as a shock when your kids leave the nest, and you suddenly have some extra time to yourself. And though you may feel a sense of accomplishment and relief once your teenagers fly the coop, it’s also common to experience prolonged grief followed by symptoms of depression and loneliness — a condition known as empty nest syndrome. These symptoms tend to last for about three months, but for some parents, they can linger for months or years.
While coping with an empty nest can be a challenge, it could also be a time to rediscover yourself, your interests, and your personal relationships. Check out these suggestions from InsurCali to learn how to fill the void and thrive when your kids leave home.
Travel the World
When you’re busy raising children and helping them to succeed in school, it’s difficult to find the time and money to travel as a family. You can really only travel during summer, winter, or spring break, and you may not have the budget to visit the places on your travel bucket list. Once your kids leave the nest, however, it’s an excellent time to travel the world with your spouse, partner, friends, or whoever else.
Reward yourself for many years of parenting by planning a trip to destinations like Antarctica or Turks and Caicos. While visiting your travel destination, you can enjoy activities such as scuba diving, hiking, kayaking, or simply lounging on the beach. Travel promotes positive mental health, making it a great option for those experiencing empty nest syndrome.
Enroll in a College Degree Program
Whether you’ve been eager to change careers or you had to put your education on hold while raising your family, becoming an empty-nester is a great time to study something new or finish the college degree you started years ago. Online degree programs are available in fields such as business, healthcare, and liberal arts, making it easy to further your education while tackling other activities on your empty-nester bucket list.
Give this a view to learn more about online degree programs and the courses you’ll be required to take while working toward your college diploma. Business degrees, for instance, include courses on topics such as accounting, communications, and management — while healthcare degrees cover topics like anatomy and biology. Whatever your age may be, it’s never too late to pursue your dream career.
Declutter Your Home to Make Room for Creative Hobbies
From cleaning out your teen’s bedroom to decluttering other parts of your home, becoming an empty-nester could be a great time to make some extra space for creative hobbies like pottery making, calligraphy, woodworking, knitting, and indoor gardening. By decluttering your home and getting rid of the things you no longer need, you could make space for an art studio, workshop, home gym, or greenhouse.
Decluttering your living space could also help to ease the transition from full-time parent to empty-nester. Plus, this is a crucial step if you plan on downsizing your home in the future.
Rekindle Your Marriage
Adjusting to life as an empty-nester can be a difficult process for some, but couples can use this time to rekindle their relationship after so many years of putting parenting before their marriage. Bonding over new activities, traveling together, and opening up about their feelings can all help couples to strengthen their relationships and ease feelings such as sadness, loneliness, and grief when their children leave home.
You Can Thrive as an Empty-Nester
It’s normal to feel a bit sad when your children leave the nest, but there are so many different ways to fill the void and reconnect with the person you were before you became a parent. From traveling the world or going back to school to decluttering your home and rekindling your marriage, it’s very possible to thrive as an empty-nester. You’ve taken care of your children for so long, and now it’s time to put the focus back on yourself!
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© Hazel Bridges
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