As your children grow up and leave the nest, it’s natural to feel a sense of sadness and loss. Your once-bustling home is now quiet and empty, and it can be a difficult adjustment. But, it’s important to remember that this is a normal part of your mom journey and there are ways to cope with the sadness. Here are some of my top tips for dealing with empty nest sadness:
- Acknowledge your feelings and give yourself time to grieve. There’s a concept in dialectical behavior therapy that I love called ‘wise mind’. It’s defined as a state with both emotion and logic held in the same space: not too hot and not too cold. With empty nesting, it’s okay to feel sad and to take some time to adjust to the new normal. You also want to try to add some ‘cool’ logical thinking to the emotional heat. Surrounding yourself with supportive people who understand what you’re going through and allow yourself to lean on them for support might help you with this.
- Find new ways to fill the void left by your children. Embarking on your empty nest adventure is hard, of course, but try focusing on the ‘adventure’ part. You can develop new hobbies, try volunteering, traveling, or joining a new group or club. You might pick up meditation. Finding activities and interests that bring you joy and fulfillment can help to alleviate the sadness and bring you more happiness.
- Maintain a strong relationship with your now-grown children. Keep in touch and make plans to visit or have them visit you. Let them know you’re still there for them, even if you’re a bit farther away. It’s important to remember that just because they’ve left the nest, your relationship with them doesn’t have to end! It’s just a new chapter.
- Refocus on your relationship with your partner and/or your good friends. Pour more time and attention into the relationships with the people you love. Be purposeful about making plans, take up new hobbies together, or go on a trip.
- Remember that this is a new chapter in your life and it’s okay to embrace it. Embrace the freedom and flexibility that comes with an empty nest and look forward to new experiences and adventures.
- If you find you are struggling with your mental health during this time, consider looking for a therapist to help.
Dealing with empty nest sadness can be difficult, but there are things you can do to cope as you transition into this next phase of life. With time, a good support network, and a focus on new activities and relationships, you can enjoy the next chapter!
If you need some support, please do not hesitate to reach out!