Tips for Thriving as an Empty Nester

You’ve spent a good part of your life with kids running around the house and, as they got older, maybe slamming doors. There were probably summers that you were counting down the days until school would start again. But now the kids have gone and you’re seeking out advice for empty nesters because, well—it’s been kind of quiet lately. So now what?


There are plenty of hobbies for empty nesters to delve into. And other ways to occupy your time or fill your space so your home doesn’t feel so empty. Use these tips for empty nesters to help you navigate the new changes happening in your life.


Tip # 1 for Empty Nesters: Cope With the New Change

The most obvious advice for empty nesters might be to—you know, just deal with it. But that’s not exactly what we mean by “cope.” Coping with change sometimes means just accepting new, and sometimes uncomfortable feelings. But being uncomfortable with something doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Thus, the acceptance part. It’s good to just accept feelings sometimes without seeing them as either good or bad. Just let yourself have whatever feelings you are feeling.


Dealing with this discomfort will be a good starting place to have a conversation with yourself about what you want and what you feel like you need. Chances are that you’ve been pretty busy taking care of other people. It’s your turn to take care of yourself now, and exploring tips for empty nesters is probably a great place to start.


Tip # 2 for Empty Nesters: Embrace Hobbies


You might have decided a few years ago that you’re just not a hobby type of person. But you’d be surprised by how those sorts of things can change. Exploring hobbies for empty nesters might seem a little on the nose for you, but that might all be wrapped up in your perception of “hobbies.”


Instead, try asking yourself what type of things you like to do or talk about. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with your kids or partner about a specific topic that they just didn’t seem interested in talking about? What if you could find a group of people that would be excited to talk about those things? And you don’t have to limit yourself to a certain type of hobby. Maybe you like painting, or gardening, or playing golf. But maybe you like something a bit more unique—like short-term investments. The great thing about the internet is that it can connect you to all sorts of people. And if you can’t find a group that shares your interests, you can always start your own MeetUp or Facebook Group. If you’re interested in something, chances are there’s at least one other person out there that’s interested in it too.


And meet-up groups don’t always have to involve a book club or knitting group. You might even find an empty-nesters group whose main things in common are being empty nesters and having a preference for good food.


Tip # 3 for Empty Nesters: Set New Goals

You’ve been so focused on certain goals for the past several years, you might have forgotten setting them in the first place. But if you’re feeling like an empty nester right now, chances are that’s because you did set goals, you did have a plan, and you achieved it. That’s pretty incredible of you, don’t you think?


But it’s time to stop looking at your home as an “empty nest” or yourself as an empty nester. You’re a recently liberated adult that has achieved some of the biggest plans you ever set out for yourself and now it’s time to create a new plan. That’s exciting! But what will your new plan be?


Our advice for empty nesters is to set both short and long-term goals. Put together a schedule for yourself that helps you achieve some of those short-term goals, like taking a daily walk at the same time every day. This type of short-term goal is good to have because it’s easily achievable and it will give you some structure to your day. Think of short-term goals as commitments to yourself. Things that you owe yourself. And be careful to honor that time.


Create some sacred time and don’t let others interfere in it. You’ve probably done this for others in the past without realizing it (making sure you showed up without fail at all of those after-school practices or to countless work meetings). Doing this for yourself will give you a sense of independence and make it easier for you to learn how to care for yourself when you need to. No matter how bad a day seems, honor your commitments to yourself.


You’ll also want to set long-term goals. Is there a place that you’ve always wanted to travel to? Start saving up funds and create targets along the way. For example, once you’ve saved up a specific amount, you’ll start booking tickets. And later, you might start finding a hotel. Then maybe some travel clothes that will have you feeling smart.


Seeking out advice for empty nesters is a good step to self-care and hopefully, these specific tips for empty nesters will get you to stop considering yourself an empty nester altogether. Welcome to your new independence. The world is your oyster again, how are you going to crack it?



Contributed to Your Home blog

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Published 10.15.21

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