Coping with an Empty Nest

Whether your child has just joined the military, left for college, or simply moved out of your house, you are probably dealing with “Empty Nest Syndrome”.  It is easier explained as the time in your life when your youngest child has come of age and has moved out of your house.  This can leave you with feelings of sadness, guilt, uselessness, and more.

You’ve probably centered your life around your child(ren), attending school functions and sporting events as well as having your child’s friends at your house off and on for many years.  So how do you cope?

First, realize you are experiencing the pain of having an empty nest.  Your primary role in life for decades, and maybe even longer, was that of “Mom” or “Dad”, and that has now been quickly removed from your world.  Now you’re alone with your spouse and you wonder who that person really is now.

The best thing to do is to recognize your feelings and realize there are many things you can do to make use of your time that had previously been filled to the top.  Find a hobby, such as painting or playing bingo.  Learn how to do something new.  Take a cooking class or spend time reading all those novels you’ve heard about, or even started reading, but never had time to finish.  Reconnect with your spouse.  Write in a journal or notebook.  When you write about your feelings and your plans, you may find it’s very therapeutic to record your thoughts on paper.  Finally, travel or take those day trips you’ve been wanting to take but never had time to do.  Do these things with and without your spouse.

Nobody can be totally prepared for the emotions that will follow having an empty nest.  It’s important to start thinking about what you will do before that dreaded day comes.  If you have some knowledge of coping skills, it will be an easier road for you.  Talk to other people who have experienced the empty nest and find out what they did to pass the time and to quell loneliness in their lives.

If the empty nest gets too overwhelming for you to handle, you may want to reach out and let the professionals at the Relationship Center of Orange County help you.  Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

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