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Dealing With Empty Nest Syndrome

By Paul Rothbart

Being a parent is a roller coaster ride. For 18 or so years, you experience continuous cycles of joy and frustration. There are many moments of pride, some that put you at your wit's end, and worry is your constant companion. You may occasionally look ahead to the day that the little darlings move out on their own. Until the day it happens. 

Your last child moves out and you realize that you miss them all. Empty nest syndrome is one of life's biggest and most difficult transitions. You may feel old, lonely, and downright depressed. It's challenging, but there are ways to get through it and go on with your new life.

Have an Identity Other Than Parent

One of the problems many people experience when their children move out is a loss of identity. You've been a parent, perhaps your more important role. It's easy to feel useless and unfulfilled when you are not caring for your children hands-on, day after day. It's important to develop and embrace other roles. Reconnect with your significant other. You now have time for those activities and trips you've always wanted to take. You can join clubs, learn a new sport, and spend more time with friends old and new. Take up a hobby or even start a business. You need to see yourself as a vital human being with multiple purposes. It is also important to remember that you are still a parent. You will always be older, wiser, and more experienced than your kids. They still need you and you will always be there for them.

See a Therapist

The feelings of loneliness and depression brought on by empty nest syndrome can be severe. Reach out for help. Regular sessions with a good therapist can help you deal with the transition and adjust to your new lifestyle. Empty nest syndrome is a form of grief and can lead to alcoholism, drug abuse, or chronic depression. Don't hesitate to seek the treatment you need.

Join a Support Group

When in the throes of grief, it's always helpful to know you are not alone. Connecting with other parents who are suffering from empty nest syndrome gives you a group of sympathetic people who know exactly how you feel. Sharing feelings and methods of overcoming grief is beneficial to the process of moving on. You may even make some new friends to spend some of your newly acquired free time.

Parenting is a long-term venture that becomes ingrained as a core piece of you. When the kids grow up and head out into the world, the grief can be hard to overcome. Follow these tips to ease into your new life, still cherishing your now-adult children while enjoying life on our terms.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Baltimore, Md.

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