From picking up an old hobby to traveling around the world, you can now focus on all the things you wanted to do.
After a significant part of your life has been dedicated to bringing up your kids, it is only natural for you to feel a void after they leave. This is known as the 'empty nest syndrome', referring to the sense of sadness and loss parents feel after the last child leaves the house. This new life without them may feel strange, but there are ways in which you can transform this into a brand new exciting phase of your life. And this is one that is dedicated to you.
It may be difficult to fight off the urge to continually check-in on your children, but it's time to make peace with it and trust that they know what they are doing. Gradually decrease your involvement and let them figure it out on their own. While it's not wrong to look up your child, the constant monitoring of them is. This could range from checking their social media updates to calling them every day and obsessively worrying about them. Doing this, will not allow you to move on with your life explains Amy Morin, a psychotherapist.
After years spent looking after everyone else, it is time to look after yourself, to find yourself once again. Whether it is finding new hobbies, changing your style, or making time for any old passion you may have given up on, you will be able to get over the void faster by concentrating on yourself. "We all need time to do things that are just for ourselves. It is not that we are being selfish. It is investing in yourself so that you can come back and care for your family in a refreshed and invigorated way," says Dr. Magdalena Battles, psychologist.
With the kids taking away most of your attention, your other relationships have been on the backburner for a while now. This is the right time to connect with your partner and friends once again. There are new things to do, new places to explore, and new conversations to have.
Of all the roles you have played in your life, being a parent has been one of your most significant ones. With that being less significant now, it's up to you as to what new role you want to take on. Perhaps it's time to get out there and explore what else you can be and the world is not without opportunities. "It is always essential to replace meaningful aspects of our lives in one way or the other when we lose them, even if the loss itself is normative—such as when dealing with an empty nest. We, therefore, need to identify possible new roles and interests to explore and we must consider existing ones we might be able to expand," says Dr. Guy Wench.
For many, looking after their family has been their main purpose. With most of the responsibilities gone, the feeling of having nothing to look forward to can get stronger. By finding new challenges to overcome and new goals to achieve, you can find your purpose once again. Be it winning a baking contest or traveling to locations you had only dreamed about, this is the time you can do all of that.