While the thought of a quiet house may seem appealing, having an empty nest can be a difficult transition for parents. Sadness can occur once a child leaves. This is called empty nest syndrome, which is the grief some parents or caregivers experience after a child leaves home for the first time.
However, research shows that you can enjoy being an empty nester, because it gives you a new lease on life. Here are five ways you can enjoy your empty nest:
- Start over with your spouse. Chances are you’ve put your mutual hobbies on hold while raising your kids. Now is the perfect time to enjoy those hobbies together again. For example, if you both enjoy hiking or going for walks, start a weekly hiking date.
- Reconnect with loved ones. Now that you have a little more time on your hands, you can spend more time with your loved ones. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while or have a coffee date with your sibling.
- Reignite the romance. An empty nest gives you the opportunity to rekindle your sex life with your spouse. Think back to the early days of your relationship and what attracted you to each other.
- Take on new hobbies. Re-energize your life with a new hobby. A hobby that involves physical activity is one good idea. Exercise decreases symptoms of depression and makes people happier—a surefire way to keep those feelings of empty nest syndrome at bay.
- Build a new relationship with your child. Look at the relationship you have with your child in a new light. While the quantity of time with your child may be limited, the quality of time can be more meaningful. Book a weekend trip together and explore new territory, or set Skype dates to catch up.
Being an empty nester means you’ve successfully raised your kids to leave the home and start life on their own. Applaud yourself for a job well done!
Learn more about The Christ Hospital Center for Health and Aging.