It’s that time of year when young ones are stretching their wings and preparing to move on.
They may be starting school for the first time, moving onto ‘big’ school, or indeed leaving home to start Uni, college, or even a real job!
Whatever the reason, it’s hard for us to adapt to these big changes and see them growing up too fast.
Here’s how I tried to deal with empty nest syndrome (I hope they might help you too):
Acknowledge your feelings
Accept that you can’t make Empty Nest Syndrome go away. These feelings are valid and real.
You have spent years nurturing, supporting, cooking, cleaning, and clearing up after your little angels and now they don’t need you in the same way anymore. That is a huge adjustment to make for starters.
I felt really bereft when my eldest first left home for Uni, and I kept laying the dinner table for all five of us before realising he wasn’t here and getting upset (again). My other kids laughed at me and told me to a grip.
The joys of family banter!
Give yourself permission to be sad, tearful, thoughtful, reflective. Make some time and be kind to yourself. Whatever you are experiencing is not going to last forever.
Do something new
There should be a little more space in your life with your responsibilities shifting. What might you decide to do?
Is there a hobby or craft that you have neglected for too long?
Perhaps there is a new skill or experience you would like to try?
What about taking up a new sport or joining a club to play a sport that’s been neglected for a while?
Start baking or cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Chocolate always helps – here’s some inspiration.
Take on a challenge
There are many opportunities to join challenges. They might relate to health, fitness, personal growth, or mindset. You might decide to support a charity and take part in an organised event.
I offer a free 6-day challenge called Creating Magic – where you focus on you for a change and find out how to bring some sparkle into your life.
Think about starting your own business. This can be something on the side, earning from a hobby or craft, or something more serious. Having my own business to focus on during these times has been genuinely helpful. Being my own boss also means if I’m struggling and need time out, I can take it.
This is the ultimate for a great challenge and distraction!
Plan your trip
This is just for you with the older ones, heading away from home. Obviously, they need some time to settle in, but get a date in the diary when you can visit and take them out for dinner, buy a huge food shop, do the heaving pile of washing up and a huge load of washing for them!
It really helps to have visits planned. We have really enjoyed exploring new locations in the UK as part of this process.
It’s good to talk
A cuppa or a glass of wine with friends and family is definitely a help. They may be experiencing similar feelings to you if they have children of the same age. Don’t forget to reflect on the opportunities and achievements of your children. They will have worked hard to achieve a place at Uni in really difficult circumstances. Maybe heading to a new school without all the usual visits and reassurances.
Here’s to our kids and their super resilience – they are amazing!
I once met a lady at a craft fair, she had gone out and bought a job lot of scarves, so she could spend her evenings selling them and not sitting at home sad that her children had left. She told me that it felt like her arm had been cut off. I think I can totally relate to that. You do feel like something is missing. When they come and go, you experience that time and again, but it does get a little easier and if they are happy, then you are allowed to be too.
If you have some top tips to add, please pop over to my Facebook page to share.
Best of luck.