How to Cope with an Empty Nest

Parents can send their love via college care packages.

College Care Packages, Room Remodeling, Hobbies, and More!

Don’t let anyone tell you differently: empty nest syndrome is real, even if it isn’t an official clinical diagnosis.

Empty nest syndrome is that feeling of grief, sadness, or loss you feel when all your kids leave home, either to go to college, or off down their own paths as working adults. You’ve been working toward this for about 18 years, but it’s still bittersweet to know your kids are all grown up, and you got them there! 

Everyone deals with an empty nest in different ways, but in general, it’s best to stay busy to distract yourself from the emotions you might have. Try these six ways to cope with an empty nest, so you’ll feel better, faster.

Remodel your kids’ old rooms.

Becoming an empty nester means you suddenly have extra space in your home that you didn’t have before. You might feel sad if those empty spaces look much the same as they did when your children lived at home with you.

A great way to cope with an empty nest is to remodel or renovate those bedrooms into useful spaces for your new way of living. You might turn a kid’s bedroom into a guest room. Maybe you’d like a space dedicated to crafts. Perhaps a formal study would suit you. No matter what you do with the room, adding a little paint and furnishing it in a way that you love will help you get past the hurt you feel when your children have recently moved out.

Take up a new hobby.

Without kids at home, you might have more time to do things that interest you. There’s less laundry, cooking, and cleaning to do, for example, so you have more free time now than ever before. 

When you become an empty nester, taking up a new hobby can busy your hands and mind, and give you something new to enjoy. The possibilities are never-ending when it comes to hobbies, and you can learn about them for free because of the millions of videos on the internet ready to guide you through the steps of your new pastime. 

Not sure where to begin? Consider woodworking, embroidery, puzzles, collecting, painting, bookbinding, or floral arranging, for starters. Check out your local library’s activity listings for special interest group meetings, or on apps like Next Door, to see if a neighbor has a similar interest as you do.

Volunteer with an organization you support.

Much like with new hobbies to fill your free time, volunteering also can enrich your days. Research local organizations with missions you care about–or maybe you already donate to one–and ask them where you could best help them. 

Local organizations like soup kitchens need help preparing and serving food. Charity thrift shops love having someone to sort, price, and merchandise new donations. Animal shelters always need dog walkers, feeders, and kennel cleaners. You might also find your church or other religious groups are looking for committee members to put together special events or help with services.

Use video chat to stay connected.

Technology is absolutely amazing. Using just your smartphone or tablet, you can see your loved one, face-to-face, and talk to them using video chat services like Facebook Messenger or FaceTime. Plus, your adult child will love that you’re using new technology to stay in touch.

Schedule a dedicated time to talk to your children each week, so you never catch them at a bad time. Share what’s happening in your life, ask questions about theirs, and even take a virtual tour of their new homes or neighborhood, if you can’t visit. 

Seek support.

If you are still experiencing feelings of grief or loss well after your child has left your home, it may be time to seek support from outside your circle of friends or family. You might consider finding a therapist or counselor to talk about your emotions. 

There’s no shame in therapy; in fact, specially trained therapists can help you work through what you’re feeling using techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy, depending on which works best for you.

Send a college care package to show your love.

Spread the love by mailing a care package for college students to your student. It shows you’re thinking about them and still invested in their success. Not sure what to send in a college gift box? Most-requested items are things like microwave meals, non-perishable snacks, and school supplies. 

A college care package subscription service, like My College Crate, sends your students a new gift crate as often as once a month–or on whatever schedule you choose. It’s a money-saving option for you, too, since you don’t have to spend time and money purchasing unique items each month, waiting in line at the post office, or searching for the right-size box for shipping.

See our awesome care packages at My College Crate, and send one to your college kid today!