Finding Purpose as an Empty-Nester: How to Cope After Your Kids Move

Finding purpose as an empty nester can take a little time. After all, you’re still reeling from the end of an era—a time when you had a clearly defined role as a parent knew what they expected of you. Once your kids move out, things feel different. Your new role, with and without them, may not be immediately clear.

Plus, you’ll experience a whole range of emotions, from loss to elation. It’s all completely normal and part of the cliched “new chapter.”

So we’re here to help you navigate the empty nest and learn to cope with your new situation. Take a deep breath and keep reading to discover the practical strategies that will see you through.

introspective woman having coffee

CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn what it feels like to have an empty-nest, and strategies for coping with your new situation, including:

Empty Nest Syndrome: Steady Ways To Cope With Children Moving Out

As your children get older, it’s natural for them to want more independence and start moving out of the house. While this is a happy milestone in their lives, it can also be an emotional transition for you as they grow up and leave the nest. 

You might feel like there’s nothing left to hold on to and that life has passed you by. It doesn’t have to be that way, though! This blog post will show you how you can cope with empty nest syndrome so that your family won’t drift apart because of it.

Most importantly, these steps will help you find your purpose after the empty nest.

Schedule a Communication Routine

college girl on video conference

It’s essential to set up a routine that will allow you and your children to spend time together. Just because your child is moving out doesn’t mean you won’t communicate.

So, look for opportunities and schedule times for:

  • Phone calls
  • Texting
  • Regularly emails
  • Video conferencing
  • Sending cards and care packages
  • In-person visits

In addition, you’ll want to keep in touch to take an interest in their activities and let them know what’s going on in your life.

Try to find out how the kids are feeling. Are they excited about the opportunities ahead of them? Are they feeling overwhelmed?

Share your feelings, too.

A communication routine will help keep your children from becoming too disconnected. It will also help reassure you that they are doing well on their own.

Plus, it starts to establish your boundaries and define your roles as two mature adults. While you’ll always be a parent, you may step into being more of a confident or advisor (when asked) than a caregiver.

Remember, you’ve raised your children to know how to take care of themselves so you can relax and know that they will!

And if they need help, they’re a text or phone call away.

Try New Hobbies

woman with gloves planting flowers

No home is quieter than the one whose children have left home. The silence is deafening, as they say. Suddenly the chaos, banter, requests for help to find things, and steady stream of friends and groceries don’t seem so bad after all.

What was all-consuming is no more. And that is sad. Or maybe it’s liberating! Only you can decide.

Either way, you’ll want to redefine your life. Depending on your responsibilities to your significant other and aging parents, it’s pretty much a clean slate.

But finding other things you want to do with your time can be challenging. When your children move out of the house, you may think that there no longer is any point in getting outside or being active. In fact, you might be a little depressed.

But taking action is a good way through feelings of melancholy.

So try new hobbies that will help you adjust when your children have gone.

Hobbies for Empty-Nesters

A great way to stay active is through a hobby that you can do indoors or out. For example, you might enjoy:

  • Drawing
  • Gardening
  • Painting
  • Sewing
  • Traveling

and the list goes on! 

If you’re into fitness and like to stay active outside of your home, then try walking with a friend in nature or join a fitness class. It will add to your health and wellness achievements.

Of course, ensure you do not overexert yourself to the point of injury. 

You may even want to look into a wellness trend called intravenous therapy, in which a drip delivers vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other supplements directly to your bloodstream. If you’re into exercise,  a workout IV therapy program can help you keep pace and shape as you continue aging. 

Stay Busy as a Social Empty Nester

a group of middle-aged hikers

You’re not alone in feeling the vacuum of space within your home after the children have moved out. 

The trick is rather than focusing on what you’re missing, focus on what you do (finally) have: those cherished moments of peace, quiet, part-time work, or time with other family members or friends. 

This is a great time in your life to reach out to former schoolmates who are now out in their careers or volunteering in your community. You finally have time to meet up for that drink, take in a show, or maybe even do some traveling together.

Look for good opportunities to socialize with:

  • girlfriends
  • dates (if you’re single)
  • relatives
  • work friends
  • meetup or special interest groups
  • professional organizations

When you fill your time with other people, you’ll be building healthy connections and can do some fun things together!

Take Care of Yourself

woman getting massage

As important as it is to mingle with others, it’s also important to make time to take care of yourself.

After all, you may have been neglecting your own self-care while you were busy taking care of everyone else.

So, as you are finding purpose as an empty-nester, take a good hard look at your lifestyle and consider these questions:

  • Are you eating right?
  • Do you get a bit of exercise?
  • Can you take better care of your skin and nails?
  • Is it time for a new hairdo to embrace your gray?
  • Would a massage sooth your body and mind?
  • What about a wardrobe upgrade?
  • When was the last time you went to your doctor, eye-doctor, and dentist?
  • Could you benefit from meditation or some other inward journey?

Just because you’re empty nesting doesn’t mean you should stop taking care of yourself. In fact, the opposite is true – there is no better time than to redefine what it means to be you, because you can finally put yourself first!

Seek Out Support

woman holding hands

Suppose you feel like the empty nest has you feeling lonely, anxious, or depressed. You’re having a hard time finding purpose as an empty-nester.

So, you might want to keep a journal, because sometimes, just voicing your feelings on paper goes a long way to easing them.

But not always.

In that case, it’s essential to reach out for help from friends or family members who will be there for you. That may be your significant other or not. Look to someone who will be supportive or your feelings as you transition, maybe even someone who has been through it themselves.

If you’re not finding the emotional support you need within your immediate circle, consider joining a self-help group or seeking professional advice.

Think of the empty nest as an opportunity to connect in a heart-felt way while getting used to having less noise around the house. It doesn’t mean you have to adjust to these new circumstances all by yourself, so don’t go it alone.

Try To Remain Positive

woman meditating

Do your best to remain open-minded and optimistic about the situation. That is advice for any circumstance you face, but especially as you find yourself to be an empty-nester. 

That could mean you:

  • Write daily affirmations in your journal
  • Meditate or pray in gratitude
  • Plan activities you look forward to
  • Avoid toxic people who may bring you down
  • Embrace the outlook that anything is possible
  • Take actionable steps toward the future you envision

Remember, you’re not alone.

Many parents have gone through this before, so take comfort in knowing that it will eventually get easier with time. Give yourself the time you need to grieve and adjust, and then move full steam ahead into your new, carefree role.

Focus on creating a beautiful future while being present in the moment and all it offers. Because it’s not every day you get the chance to redefine your life.

Final Thoughts on Finding Purpose as an Empty-Nester

Finding purpose as an empty-nester can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to happen all at once. With these tips, you can get through the transition and feel more empowered as your children move out. Whether you are already an empty nester or becoming one soon, these strategies will make your life easier as you give birth to a whole new identity: your own!

Photo credits: Canva Pro

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