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Overcoming Empty Nest Syndrome

Photo of a person holding a bird's nest. Overcoming Empty Nest Syndrome means learning how to cope after your children move out of the family home. Refind happiness with Couple Therapy For Empty Nesters in NC and VA.

Do you struggle with empty nest syndrome? Adjusting to an empty house can be one of life’s most challenging stages to navigate. Learn 5 ways to cope with feelings of loneliness and embrace this new chapter.

“The days are long and the years are short”. If you’re in a season that seems to be lasting just a little too long, this may seem cliché. However, the reality is that raising children is a constant ebb and flow as your children develop, grow, and establish their independence. 

Your role as a parent is always adjusting to the life stage that your children are in, the adjustment to an empty house can sometimes be the most difficult role stage to navigate. 

Dropping off your youngest child at college can bring up feelings of grief. A survey revealed that, on average, parents take three months to adjust to an empty house. It’s common to feel a sense of loss and anxiety – what’s called the empty nest syndrome.

If your identity has been found in being a mother or father for the last 18 years, what will your identity be now that your child is less dependent? Or perhaps you feel a sense of relief and are baffled as your spouse withdraws. These are all common reactions. The following tips can help you navigate this new stage.

5 Ways to Overcome Empty Nest Syndrome

1. Remember That You Are Still A Parent

Your child has spread their wings and is seeking to establish themselves apart from their family for the first time. That in no way takes away or diminishes your role as a parent. Your child still needs you. Be present and available for your child as they require your support. Although your role may evolve with each new season, it remains an enduring presence in their life.

2. Check In With Your Spouse

Ask your spouse how they are processing the transition. What were their expectations of starting this new season? How are they playing out? Each person will process and experience this season in different ways and at different times. Set aside specific times that you can connect and discuss how things are going. 

3. Find A New Purpose

Think back to when your schedule was full of practices and appointments. What were the things that you wanted to do if only you had the time?  Volunteer for something that you are passionate about or get a part-time job. 

These tips can serve as a great start to navigating this new season. However, sometimes feelings of anxiety and depression persist. That is perfectly normal.

Seeking therapy can be a healthy next step for you and your spouse to find healing in transition and adjust to life with an empty nest. Consider scheduling with Dr. Kinga Gudor or Cynthia Gaskins to start your journey today.

To find professional support and gain further insights into managing empty nest syndrome, contact us.

Kinga Gudor, PhD

Kinga Gudor, PhD

Kinga is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with more than 15 years of experience. She specializes in couples therapy and working with individuals from a multicultural background.

Learn more about Kinga
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