When your kids leave the nest, you can experience both relief and sadness at the same time. While it’s nice to have some free time back and to rediscover your life partner, it can also be tough to adjust to the idea of no longer being a daily active parent or being responsible for someone else’s well-being under your roof. Here are three tips to help you enjoy life as an empty nester and cherish this new chapter in your life.
1) Ditch the guilt, feel proud of your accomplishment!
The first step to enjoying life as an empty nester is to ditch the feeling of guilt. You’ve worked hard raising your kids and now it’s time to focus more back on yourself. Instead of feeling guilty about taking some time for yourself, give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve gone a long way! You deserve it! You should feel proud of what you have accomplished. As an empty nester, you are free to do whatever you want without worrying about anyone else’s opinion. Take that vacation with your partner that you’ve been wanting to take or finally go camping with friends without having to take anyone else’s needs into consideration (except maybe which tent you want to buy for yourself!).
2) Keep it simple
You don’t need a degree in rocket science to have fun. In fact, you might find that the things that made you happy when you were younger are still the things that make you happy now. You just need to figure out what those things are, maybe re-discover them and then do them! Life is about balance and knowing how much energy we want to put into it, so maybe start with something low-key. Try volunteering at your local animal shelter or walking your neighbour’s dog every day after work or your regular activity. These tasks will feel like a great accomplishment and it will also give you time to clear your head while giving back to the community.
Then, if these things aren’t enough, then start making time for yourself: no one can be all of those things at once – parent, spouse, friend, coworker… So if something falls by the wayside because there isn’t enough time – or even if it just doesn’t seem like fun anymore – that’s okay! Just peel back to what really works for you.
3) Fill your time with meaningful activities – for you!
You’ve finally reached the stage in life where your children have flown the nest. For many parents, this can be a bittersweet time. On one hand, you no longer have to worry about shuttling your kids to and from soccer practice or making sure they do their homework. But on the other hand, you might feel a little lost without them. It’s easy to spend so much of your life focusing on raising your children that you forget what it feels like to live life outside of the parenting role. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make up for lost time once the kids are gone. Some meaningful activities can be:
- Re-discover your hobbies: Find something new to occupy your time with. Whether it’s learning how to knit, painting with watercolours, or catching up on reading–it’ll help keep your mind active.
- Stay in touch with friends: One common complaint of empty nesters is feeling isolated from friends who are still juggling family responsibilities. Try finding different ways to stay connected, even if it means simply texting or emailing instead of meeting face-to-face every week.
- Volunteer: Volunteering gives you something meaningful to work towards and offers opportunities for new experiences both within the organisation and out in the world at large.
Rightsize Your Home – The Empty Nester’s Guide to a Stress-Free Downsize
For all the top tips and more, including case studies from successful downsizers, download the book here.
Shifting Your Mindset – Understanding The RIGHT TIME, Moving Roadblocks, And How To Be READY For Your DOWNSIZE
This online course for empty nesters is designed as the first step of a 3-part program focusing on improving your mindset and can be completed independently or as a pre-requisite to Part 2 and Part 3 for the full ‘Rightsize Your Home’ program.
Part 1: Shifting Your Mindset will help you understand where you are currently at and help you move through any overwhelming thoughts that may be stopping you from moving forward. Also, you will begin to plan and feel more excited about your next chapter!
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