It’s worth reinventing yourself after your kids leave and you are empty nesting. It’s your chance to rediscover yourself. This is a big transition, often accompanied by a loss of purpose, sadness, anxiety and even depression.
When your kids leave the family home, it’s normal to feel grief, emptiness, fear and worry. They still need your help, love, reassurance and encouragement. But it’s normal to feel left out and unsure about how to proceed.
While it’s time to begin to relinquish control, it’s hard to know how much to back off. You want them to problem solve for themselves. That will help them feel self-confident in their ability to move into adulthood.
Let Go Of The Old And Start Reinventing Yourself
Letting go of what was so that you can begin reinventing yourself, making way for the new, is full of ups and downs. You will always be their Mom or Dad, but soon you will no longer be parenting them. This is your young adults chance to take what you’ve taught them and, often through trial and error, figure things out for themselves.
It’s time to keep your expectations and opinions to yourself. Instead, vent to a friend, your spouse, therapist or trusted relative. If you can let go of expressing your opinions, you can become a safe place for your kids to be around.
College age kids need privacy and space. This is part of becoming more independent and finding out who they are. This shows them that you trust their judgement and decision-making ability. When they feel trusted, they become independent and comfortable with themselves.
When your kids leave home, they learn a lot about what kind of person they want to be and what they want to do with their life. This is a big adjustment for you, too, since there are so many unknowns.
Giving your kid privacy and trust lets them know you believe in them and trust them to make good choices. If they need you more, let them know that they can always ask you.
Reinventing Yourself Helps You Find A New Purpose In Life
Reinventing yourself by finding a new purpose in life, other than parenting, reduces anxiety, stress and depression. Maintaining a sense of purpose in midlife can even predict greater physical well-being.
Keep moving! Start walking, hiking, doing yoga, playing tennis, bike riding, dancing, gardening or anything else that gets you going. Exercise is a great antidote to depression.
Volunteering is a great way to feel a sense of purpose. It gets you out and around people. Loneliness and social isolation can lead to depression and unhappiness. If you volunteer, you can take the focus off of yourself and give back to your community.
Tell yourself you’ve done a good job as a parent and now it’s time for your kids to struggle on their own and for you to start reinventing yourself. Research shows that women over 50 are among the happiest and most content! In general, older age is associated with greater happiness. So, there is life after your children leave home!
Do Something New!
It’s time for you to do some of the things you’ve always wanted to do, but never had time for! Travel, take a road trip with your spouse or a friend or travel group. Do something new! This can really change your mindset.
Take up something creative. Try cooking, painting, calligraphy, knitting, pottery, woodworking, sewing, chess, bridge, sculpting or photography. Start writing, keeping a journal or writing a blog.
Listen to motivational podcasts, or any podcast for that matter! Continue educating yourself. Improve your self-care, health and relaxation. Begin meditating with a group.
Invite someone to dinner, build a new relationship with your kids. Strengthen your marriage, nurture friendships. You can even decorate the house or de-clutter.
There are so many ways to go about reinventing yourself. It’s important to start somewhere and take action. Don’t be afraid to try several things and stop doing what you don’t like. You never know when you will try something and it will be exactly the right thing It can be hard to get used to fewer responsibilities. You may be surprised by how much more relaxed you are!
If you are still feeling like you can’t start reinventing yourself, you may need to talk to a therapist. This will uncover the underlying issues that are holding you back. Neurofeedback and EMDR are very good therapies that can help get you out of a rut.
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