Here’s How To Deal With Empty Nest Syndrome

When children grow into adulthood and move out of the primary home, it can be a little too hard on parents. Some parents deal with the transition without much strain on their emotional and mental health. Others, however, develop what has become known as the empty nest syndrome. It describes the intense feelings of physical separation from kids and not knowing how to handle it. This syndrome may be more prevalent than people know, with 22.5 million empty nesters in the US. Apart from downsizing the home, here are some ways to deal with it.

  1. Take up a new hobby or career

Perhaps, all your adult life was spent raising kids and managing an active career simultaneously. Suddenly, it all ends, and you’re nearing retirement (or already have), and the kids have left home to live independent lives. It is easy to descend into an abyss of low self-confidence and loneliness. This is why experts say taking up a new hobby or career can be a healthy distraction for an empty nester. This allows you to keep your focus on another ‘baby’ or project and helps take your mind off unhealthy thoughts. 

Some empty nesters adopt hobbies they may have never tried as a diversionary tactic. For example, gardening, sculpturing, painting, and jumble solver games are handy for such people. A new career may be based on your talents and experience. These activities require a great deal of focus and a hands-on approach. They help empty nesters feel renewed self-empowerment and a sense of purpose. Moreover, because statistics indicate that empty-nesters are more prone to feeling lonely and depressed, these activities can boost their mental health.

  1. Reconnect with your partner

The last US census indicated that a disproportionate number of single parents are women. 80% of single-parent families are headed by women, increasing the percentage of female empty nesters. Indeed, this can be an opportunity to find love again if you’re up to it. Secondly, if you already have a spouse or partner, you may want to utilize this new life phase to reconnect with them.

The stress of raising children sometimes puts a strain on romantic relationships between couples – which is more reason to try to reconnect with each other when the kids are away. More importantly, reconnecting the spark or finding love again can help reduce the rate of depression and loneliness among empty nesters. There is evidence that these love reconnections help in more ways than one. According to a survey, 63% of empty nesters experience a renewed sense of commitment to each other. 

  1. Keep in touch with your children

Even though the kids are grown and out of the primary home, there are ways to stay in touch. Technology makes it possible to keep the filial relationship going. Physical distance does not mean you have to be emotionally distant. However, it would be best to avoid becoming a ‘helicopter parent.’

This term describes empty nesters who hover around their adult kids and feel a need to provide for their every need. Experts say this may be unhealthy for you as it makes you overly dependent on your adult children’s attention. Empty nest syndrome is a real phenomenon, but you can avoid it by adopting useful coping mechanisms.

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