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What Exactly is Empty Nest Syndrome?

Oct 10, 2007
Empty Nest Syndrome is a feeling of great loss or sadness when a child leaves home to go to college or just to get out on their own.

If you are the child's mother or mother figure, you may experience a true sense of loss, loneliness or even worthlessness. You may feel your job is over (its not!) and you child doesn't need you anymore. (They do!)

For some, not being involved in your child's everyday life and this is not just for mothers, but father too, may create a temporary identity crisis. You may find yourself depressed or anxious experiencing unaccountable tears or simply being highly emotional. You may wonder who you are and what are you worth, if not as a parent.

Believe it or not, this can truly be a significant and positive transition and period of growth for you!

Here are 5 secrets to ensure a healthy new life for you, without that much work:

1. Renew your marriage vows; if not literally then figuratively. It just might be time to remember why you are together and all the wonderful times you had before kids. Do a date night. Join a dance club or some activity that you both enjoy and can do as a couple. Now is the perfect time to re-create your partnership and enjoy the life you both deserve, together, without children. Ask your partner, set a plan together. How will you use this time together? Single? No problem! What can you do to enhance the relationships you do have, now that you have the time? Write it down. Now follow through.

2. Relish the time alone. You now have that peace and quiet that you have been wanting. Remember when they played their music too loud, their friends were too noisy and you wondered if there would ever be peace again? Well, there is, right now! What are you going to do? Read? Knit? Paint? How will you use your quiet time? Make a list.

3. Reignite or begin new friendships. Solitary pursuits are great, but you need people in your life also. Think about the friendships that might have gotten put on the back burner while you were raising your children. Contact them! Tell them you are much more available and wanting to renew the friendship you once had. You also might want to add new friends to the mix. Get yourself out there. Socialize. Sign up for classes. Learn a new language or learn more about computers. Classes are a great way to do something you love and meet new people at the same time. How are you going to branch out now? Make a list.

4. Broaden your horizons. Make your world bigger. When was your last
trip or vacation? You don't have to go around the world, just get out of town. Expand your world view. Pick a place and go. Explore. Your children are making their world bigger just by leaving home. Now it's your turn. Where are you going?

5. Find something meaningful and of value. Raising your children has been a full time job. It's certainly been meaningful for both of you. Now they are gone and you need to replace that, you need another way to do your special work. What are your strengths? What are your skills? How can you use these to help others? Whether it's through church, community, or more global, your gifts are needed. What are your special gifts? How are you going to us them?

Life is a journey. Not only are your children embarking on one, but so are you. Take a look at the big picture of your life. Having your children go off to lead their own lives is just one small piece. Consider this time of your life a step forward, a step in the right direction. You now have your very own life, so go lead it!
About the Author
Kim Kirmmse Toth is a certified life coach. She works with baby boomers on the many transitions faced including the non-financial side of retirement planning. She may be contacted at: kim@myretirementbydesign.com or at her website: http://www.myretirementbydesign.com
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