Advice for adjusting to an empty nest
No matter what type of parent you are or how busy and full your days are, a child leaving home for university or to start a job somewhere else is a huge adjustment. This is a new stage of life for many parents irrespective of how independent your children have been up until this point.
There is plenty of advice available as well as some helpful support groups for those who are struggling with feelings of loss or are unable to adjust to the change. Read on for the most commonly provided advice online and for links to more help.
Acknowledge how you feel
Empty nest syndrome is not something that only stay-at-home mothers and single child parents feel. The feelings of loss may come as a shock to many but accepting that your feelings are real and valid are a good way to start processing the change.
Talk it out
Its useful to chat with others who are dealing with the same changes in their lives and that includes your very own family. If your child has siblings, take the opportunity to chat to them about how they are coping too. Opening up communication and validating personal responses can be helpful as you all realise that you are in it together. familylives.org.uk have an advice page and access to counsellors if you would prefer someone a little further away from home.
Make plans with your child
If your child has gone to uni, they’ll likely be back for their first holiday. Plan something you can both look forward to when they come home. In the shorter term, set a day and time each week to call them so you can both keep a little time aside for it. It will be reassuring to have something in the diary and is a helpful reminder that they are not so far away.
Do something fun for yourself
If you suddenly have a lot more free time now start something new. There is often something we all want to do but never have time for, whether its joining a book club, getting a regular massage, studying further or taking up running. Now is your chance to get in some of that ‘me time’.
Work on your other relationships
Is there more you can do to fulfil other relationships. Whether its with your partner, other children, friends or wider family. We are often too busy to spend as much time with others and we would like so this might be a great opportunity to enjoy more time with others.
Some useful websites for anyone who needs additional support are:
Familylives has a great section on supporting parents though this tough time as well as access to counsellors.
Emptynestmamas is a social media support group
youngminds.org.uk If you are concerned about your child adjusting to the change