Finding yourself after the empty nest is challenging. The nest is now empty what do you do?
Have your children left home recently to go to college or live independent lives? Are you feeling distressed, sad, and lonely as a result?
Do you feel like your life has lost its meaning? If you answered yes to all these questions, then you might be suffering from the empty nest syndrome.
What Is The Empty Nest Syndrome?
The empty nest syndrome refers to feelings of loneliness and grief that parents might feel after their children leave home for the first time. The empty nest is not a clinical condition.
When children are young, parents encourage them to make something of themselves and be independent. This means that they have to go to college or live far away from home.
Although you might encourage your children to be independent, letting go is easier said than done.
Imagine the walks by quiet and empty bedrooms or dinners without your child. Quite scary, right?
It is normal to get anxious and grief when your child leaves home, considering that you dedicated your whole life to them.
That said, this syndrome can also be experienced by:
- Spouses who lose their partner through death or divorce.
- Retiring seniors.
- Women going through menopause.
The most common signs and symptoms of the empty nest are:
- Feeling a loss of meaning in your life
- Being sadder than usual after a life-changing event that requires you to change your living arrangements
- Avoiding social activities that you once found enjoyable
- Excessive weight gain or weight loss
If you are experiencing these signs and symptoms after a life changing event, read on to find out how to overcome the empty nest.
Why Do Couples Divorce When They Are Empty Nesters?
A research study conducted in 2015 by the National Centre for Family and Marriage indicates that couples who are older than 50 years are twice as likely to divorce.
In 2015 as in 1990. Sociologists have linked these high divorce rates to the empty nest syndrome.
Usually, children of most couples aged 50 years and above have left or are about to leave home. Couples who are in this age bracket have lived together with their children for most of their lives.
They co-exist and make decisions with their children in mind but once the children leave, what’s left?
Some couples end up realizing that their kids are the glue that held them together. In their absence, marital problems that went unaddressed in the past begin to glare.
When getting married, most people do not have divorce in their minds.
Therefore, if you are an empty nester dealing with, or thinking about divorce, we’ll walk you through what you can do to cope with the stress that comes with divorce.
Hobbies For Empty Nesters
It is said that a hobby a day keeps the doldrums away. Finding a hobby as you undergo the empty nest will make your life more enjoyable.
Also, it will help you discover or rediscover other aspects of life that you loved before you had children, and allow you to explore them.
A great hobby can turn into a passion, leading to a more exciting and fulfilling life. Here are some of the best hobbies for empty nesters.
Hobbies For Empty Nest Couples
Do you and your significant other suspects that you have the empty nest syndrome? Here are some of the hobbies that you can take up as a couple to make your lives less lonely:
What are some of the places that you and your partner dreamed of exploring together when you were younger?
Now that all your children have left, this is the perfect opportunity to explore those places.
Traveling with your partner is enjoyable because you get to see sites through each other’s eyes.
Besides, traveling helps to clear your minds and remind you why you fell in love with each other, and consequently, rekindles your old flames.
Most importantly, traveling will remove you from the home environment. A new environment will allow you to make peace with the fact that your children have left, in a less lonely setting.
One of the best things about travelling with your partner during the empty nest is that you get to make memories that you can both cherish forever.
Take A Ceramics Class
Ceramics classes not only make great dates. They also allow you to focus your energy on creative designs that you’ll have a lot of fun creating.
Besides, you’ll be happy to see your partner get their hands dirty while creating entirely new mugs and dishes for you to take home.
You can work on various pieces together as a couple. Make sure that you and your partner take all your creations home.
In doing so, you’ll always see them and remember the brilliant time you had creating them.
Moreover, you can have a good laugh every time you see the creations that are not all that attractive.
Go To The Gym
Letting yourself go is every easy when you are stressed up. Thus, encouraging each other to stay fit during stressful times is important.
Going to the gym regularly is one of the best ways to deal with stress.
Exercise helps to reduce stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in one’s body.
Additionally, it stimulates the production of endorphins, which boost mood and act as natural pain killers.
If you are worried or anxious because your children are about to leave or have left home, try exercising more.
Even better, go to the gym with your partner so that they can also reap the awesome benefits of exercising.
Hobbies For Empty Nest Single Parents
The empty nest syndrome is likely to hit single-parent families worse than two-parent families.
The relationship between a single parent and their child is much more different from that of two parents.
In single-parent families, parents and children tend to rely on each other heavily. They provide emotional and physical support for each other.
Moreover, single parents tend to include their children in decision making more than two parents. Thus, when children leave, it might be much more difficult for them.
If you are a single parent empty nester, here are some of the hobbies that might help you recover your joy:
If you spent most of your years helping and volunteering at your child’s school, devote your time to causes in your community.
Volunteering is an inexpensive way to get out of the house. It is especially a great hobby if your child just left for college and you are pressed for money.
Through volunteering, you get to meet other people who have experienced the empty nest or are experiencing it.
You can share your experience with such people and believe me, you will feel much better after talking it out. You can volunteer to:
- Help in your local library
- Cook and serve food to the homeless
- Help in civic group
- Clean up your local area
- Work in the museum or any other historical organization
Thus, starting a blog is a brilliant idea during the empty nest.
There are tons of people out there going through the pain and stress of watching their children leave.
Such people might derive inspiration from your blog. Besides, you can exchange coping tips in the comments section.
While expressive writing is a great hobby for single parent empty nesters, it might not always work.
It fails to work of you are dealing with severe mental health challenges such as PTSD or major depression.
Business Ideas For Empty Nesters
It is not advisable to use work as a coping mechanism during stress as you might end up suffering burnout, leading to more stress.
However, you can turn your hobby or passion into a money-making opportunity and derive lots of satisfaction from it.
A successful business might help you fill the gap left by your children. Some of the best business ideas for empty nesters include:
Pet Grooming And Boarding
Now that you have no children to take care of, how about you help other people take care of their pets?
If you love to trim and wash pets, this is the perfect business idea.
You can also include a boarding service for people who want to entrust their pets to you while they are away.
If baking is your long-life dream and you have perfected the art of baking, you can own a bakery.
This will allow you to share in-demand as well as family recipes with your customers. Though a bakery requires hard work, it can be incredibly rewarding. If you don’t like it as a business you can pick it up as a hobby.
Other businesses that are perfect for empty nesters are:
- Car wash
- Lawn and gardening services
- Food and ice cream trucks
- Thrift shops
- Tutoring service
- Flower shop
- Gift card shop
- Micro brewery
It is advisable to find a hobby that you are passionate about during the empty nest. Some empty nesters turn their hobbies into jobs, which leads to a more fulfilling life.
Once you have beaten the empty nest syndrome, you can begin an empty nester catering service.
When children go off to college, adults find it hard to cook. You can cater and deliver healthy foods to such parents and share with them some of the tips that helped you overcome this syndrome.