I’m embracing life as an empty nester and sharing my helpful tips. Now is the time to reinvent yourself and your relationships!
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Eight Helpful Empty Nester Tips – How to Embrace Your New Life Without the Kids
I admit that living in an empty nest was uncomfortable at first. I wasn’t prepared for how quiet the house would be. And I didn’t realize how oddly free my time would feel. Suddenly, I had time to just focus on my husband and me.
When you spend a few decades as a parent and your identity has been as being someone’s mother, this new life stage is unfamiliar. It can be sad, scary, and exciting. I’ll admit that I have experienced all three emotions. You may think it is silly, but I still miss the back-to-school hoopla. When my daughter left for college, just the sight of little ones getting on a school bus would make me tear up.
I’m going to share with you eight helpful empty nest tips that I’ve learned along the way. I hope my experience will help you out too– whether you are a new empty nester or well into your journey.
My Empty Nester Tips
Adopt a Pet
One of the best things we did as empty nesters was to adopt our little Buddy from a Maltese Rescue Group. Now our home is a busier and happier place!
Buddy fills our home with love and laughter. When we are away, we miss him so much and we are no longer coming home to an empty house. I’ve often said that Buddy is the dog who rescued me. Now my husband and I know all the other dog owners in our neighborhood because Buddy is Mr. Social. Life is better with a rescue pet!
Buddy is my constant companion as I work at home. He will jump in my lap and nudge my arm, wanting to go outside. He helps me to break up my day and get outside for some fresh air. I recommend adopting a dog from your local pet rescue or shelter.
When you adopt from a rescue group, they can match the dog’s personality with yours. Typically, the dogs have spent time in a home environment being cared for and evaluated and the rescue group will do its best to make a successful love connection.
Keep Your Sense of Humor – Laugh a Lot!
Keeping your sense of humor is even more important as you reinvent your life together as empty nesters. And honestly, there is so much to laugh about when it comes to getting older! I would like to think that we are more grateful and less likely to get upset about insignificant things too.
Go on Dates
Now that you have more time, try to go out together at least once a month. We take turns picking places the other person will like. It can be as simple as a favorite restaurant or a movie night.
In the beginning, it was a bit awkward when we did not have the day-to-day activities of the kids to discuss. We had to work at getting back to the basics of who we were as a couple of BK (before kids). I would like to think that we have grown closer together as we navigate this life stage. Getting out of the house for a date takes some effort but it makes spending meaningful time together more intentional.
One of our traditional simple dates is to go to local fairs and festivals. Now we can make choices based on our interests instead of entertaining the kids. It was different, yet fun!
Invest in Friendships
Now that you have more time, reconnect with friends. I’ve known my two besties since our kids were small. They love me unconditionally and I love them as much.
When my daughter was getting engaged and planning her wedding, there were some conversations that I could only have with my trusted confidants. They were both like my maids of honor. They helped me navigate a few minefields and I am looking forward to doing the same for them.
One of my girlfriends and I get together to walk for an hour at least three times a week. It provides a healthy outlet for us. My friends and I have volunteered together, taken classes together and tried new hobbies. When our kids were small, it was harder to carve out time for these activities. True friends are one of life’s greatest gifts.
Make New Memories
Since my kids have left the house, we have set out on quite a few adventures— I suggest you create your own as well.
My favorite memory we have made so far was our cruise to Alaska. This was our first big trip since both of our kids got married. We went dog-sledding on a glacier with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. It was amazing!
We discovered that we love cruising. It was wonderful to wake up each day in a new place. It is a great way to travel with others too because there is so much to do on the ship and in the ports that you can have as much together or alone time as you want.
Plan Things to Look Forward to!
We put a deposit down on another cruise for next spring. Now we can vacation when we want to and not when the kids are on vacation. The cost of the cruise is less in the spring and the destination will be less crowded too. Having something to look forward to helps with the motivation to take care of yourself.
Reinvent Yourself; Try Something New
Now is your time to enjoy who you are in this new phase of life. Try something new or revisit something you’ve always loved.
As a full-time blogger, I am traveling and meeting new people, and constantly pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Most of the time, I am networking with much younger people and it is so good for me. Working at home can be an isolating endeavor, and attending conferences is the best way I have found to grow and learn.
In addition to helping your community, volunteering can help you replace the emptiness left by the departure of your children. You might discover that now that you are an empty nester, you have more time and energy to dedicate to causes that are important to you.
Making new acquaintances that share your interests and values can be achieved through volunteering as well. You can volunteer at a local hospital, food bank, or animal shelter to help improve the lives of others while also getting a sense of contentment and purpose. Volunteering can also keep you active, involved, and connected to the world around you, which is crucial as you navigate through this new phase of your life.
Declutter So Your Kids Won’t Have To After You Are Gone
As an empty nester, removing the clutter in your home is a proactive step that you can do to make sure your kids won’t have to handle the overwhelming task of dealing with your belongings after you’re gone. Going through your things and determining which items you no longer use or need can be a good starting point. This can apply to things like clothing, furniture, and household items.
Organize important documents and sentimental items so these would be easy to find and access. Decluttering your home can also create a more comfortable and organized living space for yourself, which can enhance your overall quality of life.
Continue Your Education
As an empty nester, continuing your education can be a great way to explore new professional prospects while pursuing personal growth and learning. You can expand your knowledge by enrolling in a college or university program, going to workshops or seminars, or acquiring new skills through online courses.
Furthermore, continuing your education as an empty nester can be a rewarding way to stay active and connected to the world around you. You can also be an excellent role model for your children and grandchildren by continuing to learn and showing them that education is something you pursue throughout your life. There has never been a better moment to pursue your educational ambitions thanks to the abundance of resources that are available today.
Take Care of Your Health
As we age, it is incredibly important for us to take our health seriously. We need to get regular physicals and exams and make sure our doctors know our health history. If anything is out of the ordinary, we need to get it checked. We cannot take our health for granted. Nudge your partner to do the same. I admit that after looking after the health of my children for so many years, it felt strange to only focus on my husband and myself. This can involve regular exercise, a well-balanced diet, and frequent check-ups with medical professionals to monitor and manage any health concerns.
Also, it’s critical to maintain regular preventative care appointments for things like cancer screenings, vaccines, and dental exams. Maintaining social connections and managing stress are also beneficial for your general health and well-being. By taking a proactive approach to health, empty nesters can maintain their independence and continue to indulge in their favorite activities for many years to come!
Empty Nest – A Time for Reinvention
In addition to adjusting to a quieter home and the absence of the daily hustle and bustle of raising children, this can be a difficult transition. However, being an empty nester also presents many opportunities for self-discovery and personal growth. I hope these empty-nester tips give you a few ideas. This is a wonderful opportunity – take advantage of it and embrace the journey!
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