The time will eventually come that your children-turned-adults will leave home. Soon after college, they will go off and find their own fortunes. This leaves most parents a feeling of loneliness bordering on depression. Are you experiencing the same emotions now?
The Empty Nest Syndrome
The empty nest syndrome is not a diagnosed disease, but it is the result of a heightened feeling of being left behind. The house feels large and empty, and parents feel lost due to these sudden changes. This feeling of sadness can make parents vulnerable to alcoholism, marital conflicts and identity crisis, which can ultimately lead to depression.
This is usually a temporary condition until you can adjust to your new status. In the meantime, you have to adjust to your perceived loss and move forward. The truth is that empty nesters have an opportunity to enjoy yourselves in your new role.
Your children are no longer teenagers; they are now adults with their own lives. This change may take some time to sink in, but there are steps you can take to move into your new situation.
Coping in an Empty House
The following are some ways you can adapt to an empty house.
- Accept change. – For most of your adult life, you have focused on the needs of your children. You cooked, shopped, did the laundry and kept their schedules. These responsibilities are now theirs to take, and you should be proud that your children are now independent adults.
- Sort and organize stuff. – Growing up, your kids had a lot of clothes, toys, books and many other things, which you are probably keeping in the attic or basement now. Now is the time to sort them out, and decide which ones to donate to charities, sell in a garage sale or throw in the trash. Tap the help of professionals offering home organization services in sorting through your children’s old belongings.
- Communicate. – Try to keep in touch with your children to alleviate the sadness that you feel. Besides phone calls and text messaging, you can make use of online chat platforms to keep each other constantly updated in your lives.
- Spend more time with your spouse. – With your house empty of children, there is more than enough time to connect with your spouse. A recent study showed that empty nesters have more intimacy compared to couples with kids still living at home. When the children leave home to take a life of their own, it is also time for the parents to take more time together.
- Find time of your own. – While your kids were growing up, you spent most of your time taking care of their needs. Once they leave, you now have more time for yourselves. Aside from giving more attention to your spouse, you can also pursue your own interests, may it be gardening or baking.
Empty nesters have the opportunity to do a lot of things, including spending more quality time with your spouse. With the children gone, you can also organize your house according to your own likes and preferences.