After a quarter century of focusing on what happens inside the four walls of your home, it's time to embrace the world outside. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Explore. Whether it's a weekend escape or a month-long adventure, travel is a terrific outlet, both solo and with your partner. What better reason to buy that zippy little sports car you've always dreamed of? Visit siblings and friends, and re-energize those relationships.
- Reconnect with work. Or start a second career, or even a new business venture. You've earned the right to be more selective at this stage of your life. The talents required to successfully run a house full of kids aren't all that different from managing a business. Don't underestimate how those skills translate to the workplace, if that's where you want to take them. One caveat: Beware of allowing work to become all-consuming. Don't let your job become an excuse to ignore your partner [source: Schmitz].
- Go back to school. Researchers agree that the more engaged we are mentally, the better our overall health. While online classes are fine, they don't bring the same sense of community as attending a class at your local community college or adult education center. You can go for something more cerebral, such as nutrition or medieval history or astrology, or something that's just for fun, like a dance class or scrapbooking.
Family dynamics can be complicated, and so is the impact of children leaving home. For more information, keep reading.
- Goyer, Amy. "Empty Nests Filled with Opportunities." AARP. Sept. 2, 2010 (may 17, 2011) http://www.aarp.org/relationships/parenting/info-09-2010/goyer_empty_nest.html
- Hall, Kathleen. "Five Solutions for Surviving the Empty Nest Syndrome." The Woman's Connection. (May 19, 2011) http://www.womans-connection.com/ar_five_solutions_for_surviving_the_empty_nest_syndrome.htm
- Fifty is the New Forty. "Empty Nest: Syndrome or Serenity" (May 19, 2011) http://www.fiftyisthenewforty.net/family/empty-nest/
- McGraw, Phil. "Parenting, Empty Nest." DrPhil.com. (May 19, 2011) http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/105
- Psychology Today. "Empty Nest Syndrome." March 4, 2009 (May 19, 2011) http://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/empty-nest-syndrome
- Rosenthal, Joshua. "Living a Fulfilling Life After the Kids Leave Home." WomenOf.com. (May 18, 2011) http://www.womenof.com/Living_a_Fulfilling_Life_After_the_Kids_Leave_Home-Article.aspx
- Schmitz, Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz. "Five Strategies for Dealing with the Empty Nest Syndrome." Psychology Today. Oct. 7, 2010 (May 18, 2011) http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/building-great-marriages/201010/five-strategies-dealing-the-empty-nest-syndrome
- Shah, Dhanishta. "Dealing With Empty Nest Syndrome." Complete Wellbeing. May 22, 2009 (May 18, 2011). http://completewellbeing.com/article/living-in-an-empty-nest/
- Sherman, Amy. "After the Kids Leave, What Next?" EzineArticles. (May 19, 2011) http://ezinearticles.com/?After-the-Kids-Leave,-What-Next?&id=2642186
- TwoOfUs.org. "Reconnecting with Your Spouse after the Kids Leave." National Healthy Marriage Resource Center. (May 18, 2011) http://www.twoofus.org/educational-content/articles/reconnecting-with-your-spouse/index.aspx