AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Thousands of parents across the country have helped the last of their children move out of the home and on to a new chapter. This now leaves them as empty nesters.
If all goes according to the plan they will flourish intellectually/ emotionally/ socially reveling in their newfound independence. Isn’t that is what all of your hard work the last 18-20 years was for?
Transitions are challenging and it takes time for a new normal to happen. Change can also be exciting—not only a new chapter for your kids but a new chapter for you as an adult as well.
7 tips to help with the transition:
- Self-Compassion: which comprises mindfulness/common humanity/ self-kindness. It’s okay to feel sad and to do things to comfort yourself (walk with dogs, call a friend, go to the spa, begin to use the gym membership, etc.)
- Gratitude: feeling grateful for what you have will always lift a mood. Raising your kids to have the capability and motivation to forge a new chapter is a job well done for parents.
- Prioritize Positivity: sometimes we as humans have a bias to the negative and will linger in adverse thoughts. It is helpful to engage in regular activities that make us feel good. Also, having the time to do things with friends, spouse, and other family members can be freeing.
- Reach out: good relationships are the biggest determinant for happiness in our more mature years. Get with other friends/family who are also empty nesters and plan dinner, movies, other activities.
- Exercise: can be one of the greatest benefits to mental health. Getting into an exercise habit can ward off other things that might not be healthy for you when you have time on your hands (watching excessive TV, overeating, etc.)
- Mindfulness: pay attention to the present moment and experiences. Rather than longing for the days when the kids were little, focus on their successes, where they are at, and anticipating the next visit.
- Be Compassionate: acts of kindness are good for others but also good for us. You have had a lot of years caring for your kids and choosing to show kindness/compassion to strangers has benefits (reduced stress, more resilience, and feeling of happiness).
Parenting Challenge: If you are struggling with the transition from a house full of kids to the quiet, make an effort to incorporate a healthy activity to take its place. If you experience a nagging, lingering feeling of being down or depressed it may be time to seek professional help.