Grief takes many forms. While we often associate it with the loss of a loved one, it can occur when you experience almost any type of loss. That includes things like losing a job, having to move out of a family home, or even experiencing an “empty nest” for the first time.
As a parent, it’s your job to prepare your kids for the real world, and you know they’ll eventually move out on their own to pursue their dreams. But, that doesn’t always make it easier when that day finally arrives.
So, what can you do to cope when your kids move out? How can you deal with being an empty nester for the first time?
Give Yourself Time
There’s no ideal timeline when it comes to grief. While it’s important to keep moving forward and work through the various stages of grief, don’t let anyone pressure you into doing so within a certain timeframe.
Allow yourself to feel. Emotions will always demand to be felt, so it’s okay to let them come forward. You don’t need to pretend like it’s not bothering you or that you’re completely okay with the change. The sooner you accept your feelings, the sooner you can really start healing.
Lean On Your Support System
It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. When your kids leave home, it can feel like they’re taking a piece of you with them. Now, more than ever, it’s necessary to lean on your support system.
That includes your spouse or significant other, family members, and friends. You can also find support by reaching out to other empty nesters who might be experiencing the same thing. Even if you don’t want to talk to others in person, there are plenty of support groups and forums online. By chatting with other people who have had a hard time dealing with their kids leaving, you can gain insight into what’s helped them. You can also start to see a light at the end of the tunnel and know there’s hope to feel happy again.
Redefine Your Identity
As a parent, it’s very easy to root your identity in your children from the moment they’re born. Now that they’re out of the house, it’s time to find your own identity again. That might include thinking about the things you enjoyed before your kids were born. Or, you could seek out new hobbies and interests.
It’s not always easy to step into a new lifestyle. But, reclaiming your identity or rediscovering who you are (and who you want to be) can make a big difference in how you feel. It will give you something to look forward to. You can enjoy new experiences and might even discover things about yourself you never realized before.
You might not be thinking about your own well-being as much as you should when your child moves out. But, self-care is so important when you’re dealing with empty nest grief.
Just because your grown child has moved out doesn’t mean they won’t still need your love, support, and help. As the old saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. By taking good care of yourself, you’ll be able to meet those needs.
More importantly, however, you’ll feel better on a daily basis. Things like getting enough sleep, staying active, and eating a healthy diet are all great ways to practice self-care.
Finally, if you’re really struggling with the “loss” of your child as they move out, don’t hesitate to reach out for help from a professional. People deal with grief differently, and if you’re having a hard time moving forward, a therapist can often help.
Begin Grief and Loss Counseling in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Online in Arizona
If you would like to learn how grief counseling can help you process through the pain and loss of experiencing empty nest please reach out. Our team of therapists would be honored to support you. We are happy to offer services from our Phoenix, AZ-based practice and across the state with online therapy. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:
Start Empty Nest Grief Therapy with Crossroads Counseling
Our offices are located throughout the valley with counseling centers located in Phoenix, Anthem, and Scottsdale. Call us at 623-680-3486,text 623-688-5115, or email email@example.com. We offer a complimentary 20-minute phone consultation to answer your questions and better understand how we can help you.