• Christine Roslund, LMFT, CPC

Four Steps to Prepare Having an Empty Nest

Four Steps to Prepare for Having an Empty Nest

The time is almost here for your children to leave for college or their first job, and soon your nest will be empty. No one can predict what it is going to be like for you. It’s different for every person, and there is one thing you can count on: You are going to feel it. Changes are going to happen, and you are going to get through it one way or another. I’d prefer yoTheu get through it in a smoother way! Here are a few ideas about how you can make this transition as successful as possible.

  1. 1. Make sure you have good closure with your young adult(s) before they head off or back to college. Ways to do this could look a lot of different ways. For example, you may go away for a vacation or small trip to have some quality time together, if that’s feasible. You may just set up some local time to spend together. Request some uninterrupted time so you can share on a more personal level what you truly wish for them and what you want to happen at college or where they are off to. Set up an agreed frequency of contact you’d like to have. Let them know you are there for them if they need anything, and that you are very proud of them and know they are going to do great! This will make you feel good that you’re making yourself available in supporting them if they need it! Not to mention it is exactly what they need as they are flying the coop. It will set up appropriate expectations as to when and how much contact you will have.

  2. 2. Begin imagining how this transition is going to come about, the logistics:

  • Are you taking your young adult to college, or are they going on their own?

  • How are you going to feel in that moment?

  • What are you going to do right after you say good-bye to them?

  • Do you have support for yourself nearby if you need it? (Call a friend, or join an empty nest support group, etc.)

  • Know that whatever difficult feelings you are experiencing are normal and eventually are going to change and evolve. (Be compassionate with yourself by engaging in something that will make you feel nurtured.)

  • Imagine going home for the first time and starting to do what you've been wanting to do for a long time but haven't been able to because of not having enough time.

  1. 3. Start making a list of some new things you are going to bring into your life now. You may already have one, and if so, it’s time to get it out. You may want to start adding to it now. Put all of those things that you’ve been thinking that you’d love to check out once you had some time. Perhaps taking a yoga or art class, joining a group that really interests you, planning a trip, going back to school, reading books, joining a book club, or other things that bring you enjoyment.

  2. 4. Consider life coaching to figure out who you are now that your children have grown, to discover what your desires are, and to learn how you would like to set up the next stage of your life. Coaching is a very powerful way to dig deep into getting to know yourself again. When you get connected to your core self, this is how you can identify what will truly bring meaning and fulfillment in your life. Transitioning into the empty nest brings up of feelings, fear, confusion, identity crisis, and much more that coaching can help you sort out and set you on a path that feels right to you. This may be one of the biggest gifts you give yourself!

As the time nears, whether you are feeling nervous, sad, numb, or whatever else, know that it is going to feel strange and that you are going to be okay! Breathe through these feelings and start playing with some of these ideas that will make you start to feel better.

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