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Top tips for parents to embrace their empty nests

It’s a sensitive time for parents all over the world; an emotional concoction of joy, pride, anxiety, and loss – yes, we’re talking about your kids leaving to go to university. The transition from being a full-time parent to waking up in an empty home can be a mentally challenging experience, but you are not alone.

‘Empty nest syndrome’ is a common phenomenon felt by parents when their children leave home for the first time, leading to feelings of sadness, emptiness, and loneliness. In fact, 50% of UK parents have admitted to experiencing it during their lives. So, with such a common issue affecting parents and guardians up and down the nation, how can we overcome these negative feelings, and embrace the new beginning that an empty nest brings?

Well, checking out our top five tips below is a great start…

Start a new hobby 👨🏽‍🎨

Parenting can be a busy time, so now that you have more free hours in the day, you can prioritise rekindling your passions and exploring new interests. Use your empty nest as an opportunity to reconnect with old pastimes, or discover fun activities that will bring you joy – such as joining a local club or taking up a new hobby that has always intrigued you. Whether it’s painting, playing a musical instrument, hiking, or cooking – taking up new hobbies will not only help to fill your newly available time productively, but will also help to provide a sense of fulfilment and excitement.

Embrace technology 📱

Distance is no longer a barrier to staying connected with your children, thanks to the wonders of modern technology. Regular video calls, texting, and social media can help to bridge the gap between you and your child, improving communication and interactions with each other, no matter the physical distance. Why not try planning virtual family dinners, game nights, or movie marathons to maintain a strong bond with your child, even from afar. You could even send them a cinema style snack care package to enjoy ‘together’. If you need a little help understanding the lingo your child has picked up from university, check out our Gen-Z slang guide.

Work on your self-care 🧘🏿‍♀️

Transitioning to an empty nest offers the rare opportunity to prioritise your own well-being. You can use this time to focus on self-care, and improve your physical, mental, and emotional health. Engage in regular exercise, adopt a healthy diet, practice mindfulness or meditation, and seek support from friends or support groups. Prioritising self-care will not only enhance your overall well-being, but will also empower you to embrace your newly found independence wholeheartedly.

Get social 🥂

With your kids away at university, now is a better time than ever to get social! Joining local community groups, volunteering, or attending clubs will help you to meet like-minded individuals, broadening your social circle and providing opportunities to make lifelong friends. Connecting with others who are going through similar life transitions can be particularly helpful, as you can offer each other support and understanding.

Level up ⬆️

Although it can be daunting, the empty nest phase is actually an excellent opportunity to invest in levelling up your personal and professional development. Consider pursuing further education, attending workshops or seminars, or exploring new career opportunities that might spark some much-needed motivation.

Whilst facing empty nest syndrome can be a challenging and emotional experience, it also marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your life. By following our five top tips, you can begin to overcome the feelings of loss and emptiness, and instead embrace this time as an opportunity for self-discovery, personal growth, and the pursuit of newly found happiness. Remember, if you are struggling with empty nest syndrome, there are organisations and support groups that can help.