When children grow up and leave for college, their parents often feel lonely, anxious and depressed. This condition is known as empty nest syndrome. It is more common in mothers (especially housewives), but fathers can experience it, too. How to cope with empty nest syndrome?
Keep in touch with your child(ren). If you keep in contact with your kids, you will feel less anxious about their welfare. You need to schedule regular phone calls and/or Skype sessions to keep each other updated about your lives. And don't underestimate messaging: texting and IMing each other random things is a good way to show that you care.
Spend more time with your spouse. Some people might feel uncomfortable around their spouse when their children leave for college. They've been craving for some alone time for years and now they have it, but they don't know what to do with all this time. Focus on your relationship with the partner, find some common activities that both you and your spouse like and rekindle your old flame.
Find a new hobby or two. Even if you enjoy spending time with your spouse, spending all your free time together can be overwhelming. You need some time to yourself and a hobby to fill this time. Just think about it: now you can read all the books you've been wanting to read (or even write your own), learn a foreign language, take up a new sport.
Take up volunteering. Not only does volunteering help fill your free time, it also combats depression, increases your self-esteem and helps you meet new people. Besides, it is good to give back to your community.
Adopt a pet. If you feel a strong need to take care of someone, you can adopt a pet. Filling the empty nest with pets is a common coping technique. Although animals are not able to replace humans, they can become your friends and make you feel better.
Build a support system. If you are having a difficult time handling empty nest syndrome, seek support from your closest friends and family. And remember that your husband or wife is your number one supporter, just like you are theirs.
Consult with a psychologist. If your depression doesn't go away no matter what you try, you should consider seeing a psychologist. There is nothing wrong in asking for help when you need it.
Don't make hasty decisions. If you want to redecorate your child's bedroom or sell your old house and move into a smaller one, wait until you feel you've gotten over empty nest syndrome. If you make big decisions when you are feeling vulnerable and depressed, you may regret afterwards. It's a good time to make plans for the future, but don't rush to fulfill these plans.
Find a healthy balance. Make sure that your new hobby or new pet don't outweigh more important aspects of your life, such as relationship with your spouse and friends, your job, etc. You need to prioritize and make sure that you are living a full and healthy life.
- How to Organize a Family Reunion, 6 Tips for Living With a Boomerang Kid