Are you experiencing Empty Nest Syndrome?

Are you experiencing Empty Nest Syndrome? Have your children left home recently or perhaps COVID19 has meant that they are unable to return home as planned.

The natural transition period of children growing up, leading more independent lives and leaving the family home, can cause many parents to experience many different feelings. Sadness, loneliness, loss of purpose and meaning, and anxiety over a child’s welfare, just to name a few. This phenomenon has come to be known as ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’.

This is not a clinical disorder or diagnosis, but common feelings and experiences for parents during this time. This can include a sense of loss/change of identity, a lack of purpose and loneliness. It can also stir up emotions around grief and loss.

What you can do?
Just because your children have moved out of home doesn’t mean you can’t see them or communicate with them. If you haven’t already, familiarise yourself with online video apps such Zoom and/or Messenger and make a regular time for video calls if you’re unable to see each other in person.

The following five tips and strategies may also help alleviate uncomfortable or unsettling emotions and help to create a useful distraction:

  • Focus on your needs and putting yourself first
  • If you are in relationship, use this as a time to rekindle your relationship – make plans, book a date night or catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while
  • Engage in hobbies and life-long learning – start that project you have been putting off since you became a parent
  • Get involved in your community or become more active in your neighbourhood
  • Schedule regular times for catching up with family either online or in person.

Importantly, understand that whatever you are feeling or experiencing is a natural response to change. Talking about it with close friends or loved is a great place to start. If you are feeling overwhelmed or you think you need support, we recommend getting help early.

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