Empty nest syndrome is not a medical condition. Empty nest syndrome, on the other hand, is a phenomenon in which parents experience sadness and loss after their last child leaves home. Although you may actively encourage your children to become self-sufficient, the process of letting go can be painful. ENS is a significant life change that typically affects people between the ages of 40 and 50. Women are more susceptible to ENS than men. Every parent’s experience with empty nest syndrome will be unique. Typically, parents will experience empty nest syndrome symptoms for a few months while for others, it may last for a year, and still, for some, it will be for years.
Here are different ideas and activities that are recommended for empty nesters to engage in:
1. Keep in touch with Family
Strong family ties and supportive friends can assist you in dealing with life’s stresses. Friends and family can make you feel valued and included. They can provide perspectives that differ from what is going on inside your head.
2. Connect with Friends
Another exciting idea is to reach out to friends you’ve lost touch with or don’t see or speak with as much as you used to. You may even discover that some of them are in a similar situation to yours, with whom you can converse and exchange ideas. Ideally, prior to the last child’s moving out, you may have started connecting with them. This is one of the many ways how you can prepare for the empty nest that soon will happen to you.
3. Join a Club
Being a member of a club or society not only allows you to meet new people and make new friends but also provides you with a support network. Teammates and friends will be there to support you not only during training but also in dealing with personal issues.
4. Have Some Pets
Adopting or purchasing a pet is one of the best ways to eliminate ENS; it will provide you with companionship and security, as well as keep you busy playing and caring for them. Most people approve of having a dog, after all, they are considered to be man’s best friend.
5. Redecorate your home
Having your house to yourself does not have to be a bad thing. After checking with your children and allowing them to store or take anything they want from your home, reclaim all your space by giving your home a new makeover, removing and replacing anything that can help you relieve with your ENS.
6. Engage in Gardening
Gardening is one of the best ways to eliminate ENS; growing your own food keeps you busy and increases your daily physical activity in the garden, which is very healthy. You may also have your orchard or flower garden to lighten up the mood of your home.
7. Regular Walking
Walking on a regular basis keeps your body healthy and productive. 30 minutes of walking per day can help you achieve your weight loss and fitness goals. It’s also a relaxing and familiar form of exercise that can be done anywhere with no equipment and it’s a great active social activity.
8. Read Books
Reading books can be a productive pastime, it helps us gain more knowledge and increase comprehension and vocabulary. It prevents cognitive decline and removes stress. Choose a book that uplifts your mood and helps you keep a positive outlook on life.
9. Start Writing
It’s time to start writing. You never know who might be listening to what you have to say. This is the time when you have all your time to research everything about your book. If you like to write online, you can create a blog to deposit all the writing that suits your interest.
10. Go on a Vacation
Disrupt your daily pattern by going on a trip. Plan a vacation from time to time and work on your plan on a regular basis. Many studies show that breaking work patterns and engaging in occasional trips have physical and mental health benefits. Individuals who take time for vacation experiences less stress and lowers the possibility of heart disease. They project a positive outlook on life and possess strong motivation to reach their goals.
11. Try New Cuisines
Trying new foods will do more than just broaden your horizons; it will also help you eat healthier, introduce you to new cultures, and add more nutrients to your diet. Picky eaters, open your mind to the benefits of trying new foods.
12. Do Volunteer Works
Volunteering can boost your self-esteem, self-confidence, and overall life satisfaction. You are naturally satisfied because you are assisting others and the community. Volunteering can also provide you with a sense of accomplishment and identity.
13. Learn a Musical Instrument
Learning to play a musical instrument not only feeds and sustains the brain but also improves many other cognitive and physical aspects of the human body. Learning a musical instrument has been widely studied and proven to improve memory; it not only improves cognitive memory but also muscle memory. Perhaps before you prepare for an empty nest, you already know a certain musical instrument, so when the time comes that you already have plenty of time, you can rekindle your passion for music.
14. Join Camping Activities
Camping is enjoyable because it is an adventure. You are not only engaging with nature and wildlife, but you are also escaping the stress and bustle of city life. You’re making memories that will last a lifetime as you pitch tents, start the campfire, and learn about the world around you.
15. Do Painting or Rekindle Your Passion to Paint
When people paint something beautiful, they stimulate their creative minds while relieving mental strain. A low-stress level promotes a happier, healthier lifestyle and aids in the improvement of overall mental health.
16. Travel to Places
Traveling allows you to meet new people, learn new languages, explore different businesses, and gain an understanding of how everything works. Nothing can be learned until you experience it for yourself and traveling allows you to learn new things about life.
17. Deepen Your Spiritual Practice
Spirituality can assist people in developing a more optimistic outlook on life. To find a sense of community and support: Because spiritual traditions frequently involve organized religions or groups, joining such a group can be a valuable source of social support.
18. Get Creative
Learning who we are and how we fit into the rest of the world is an essential part of the human condition. Creativity allows for self-discovery and the sharing of a hidden side of ourselves. Bring out the creative side of you and do some crafts.
19. Start a Business
Running your own business allows you to earn more money than working for someone else. You benefit from your own efforts. Possibilities for learning will be involved in all aspects of your business as a business owner.
20. Relaxation and Self-care
If you don’t make time for relaxation, your body may begin to feel the negative effects of stress. While your body and mind can handle minor stress, chronic stress can have a negative impact on your overall health. Learning how to relax can help you deal with stress more effectively.
Why are these activities important?
- Promotes physical and mental health – Physical and mental health can both be improved by engaging in activities. Exercises like walking, running, or swimming, for instance, can support healthy weight maintenance, anxiety reduction, and cardiovascular health. Reading, solving puzzles, or learning a new skill are examples of mental activities that can keep the brain engaged and support mental health.
- Provides a sense of purpose – You might find a sense of direction and purpose in life by participating in activities. It can provide people a sense of purpose and success and replace the emptiness left by children moving away.
- Offers opportunities for social interaction – Engaging in activities can also present chances for interpersonal communication and community building. It can foster new friendships and aid in overcoming emotions of isolation and loneliness.
- Promotes personal growth – Trying new things can be a method to push oneself and encourage personal development. Also, it can aid in the development of new abilities, perspectives, and confidence.
- Adds fun and enjoyment in life – Participating in activities can make life more enjoyable. It can offer a way to try new things, pursue new interests, and have fun.
Signs and Symptoms
A Loss of Purpose
Your days used to be filled with birthday parties, playdates, parent-teacher conferences, soccer practice, piano lessons, and lessons. The stress of raising children is now a thing of the past. Your days could still seem a little vacant despite your friends, family, work, and other responsibilities.
The good news is that you can discover a new purpose in your life after a period of adjustment. This is especially true if you take use of your free time to start a new activity or take on a challenging task.
It’s normal to experience some grief as you adjust and come to grips with the realization that a part of your life has come to an end. Please keep in mind that a new chapter is starting in both your child’s and your own lives.
Frustration Over Lack of Control
You used to have a lot of influence over the schedule of your kids’ life, but that’s all changed today. You won’t be as informed about your child’s day as you formerly were now that they are living independently.
It might be upsetting to have little control over when your child attends school, works, dates, or hangs out with friends. You could also feel a bit left out when you don’t know the details of your child’s day-to-day schedule.
Keep in mind that this is an exciting moment for your child as they are using the skills you have taught them to start navigating their own lives. Strive to believe in their capacity to grow and learn on their own.
Know that it’s okay to cry while viewing depressing commercials or while driving. Because of your current emotional state, it’s not surprising that events or remarks that ordinarily wouldn’t bother you have a considerably bigger impact.
Let yourself to experience whatever emotions arise, and keep in mind that feelings are neither good nor bad. Instead, they serve as a reflection of the circumstances you are in.
It can be beneficial to allow uncomfortable feelings to run their natural course and pass more quickly by fully experiencing them for however long it takes for them to stop on their own.
Many couples put their relationship on hold to focus solely on raising their children while doing so. After the kids are grown and gone, your marriage may need some work if you’ve neglected it for years.
If all of your activities as a couple centered around the school and activities of your children, you might not know what to do with yourselves. The process of reestablishing contact can be a little difficult.
Also, some couples discover that their responses to having empty nests vary. The relationship may be more tense if one of you is adjusting better or enjoying life without children in the home more than the other. Set a goal to reconnect yourselves with living as a couple.
When you have been a parent for at least 18 years, this can be a frightening and difficult period. Be assured that as you become accustomed to a calmer home and a life that is more centered on your desires, the emotions you are currently experiencing will pass.
In summary, nearly every parent will become an empty nester and most of them are unprepared for the changes and emotions that come with it. Because we all arrive at this stage of life with a different mindset and set of expectations, we really don’t know how we’ll handle it until we’re in the thick of it but going through the ideas given above will give some light on this aspect.