5 helpful strategies for coping with “empty nest syndrome”

By HarperLees

When your children move away to go to university, buy their first home, or embark on other adventures, it can be an emotional and stressful time. It’s a big change for everyone in the family, so it’s natural to need some time to adapt to your new circumstances. Coping with empty nest syndrome can cause you to experience some worry or anxiety about your child’s wellbeing or restlessness caused by the ceasing of the routines you have grown used to.

Though it can be upsetting to no longer have your children at home with you, there are ways to embrace empty nest syndrome. Below are five activities or strategies that could help you to feel confident and excited about this new chapter of your life.

1. Revisit the hobbies and interests that you used to enjoy before you had children

When you have children, you usually have a lot less free time to pursue your own hobbies and interests. Now that your children are grown up and have flown the nest, it’s time to rediscover those interests that used to bring you joy.

Whether that’s team sports, crafts, travelling, or learning something new, take the time to reflect on the hobbies that you miss. These are the activities that could provide you with renewed purpose and a way to really enjoy the additional free time you now have to dedicate to your own wellbeing.

2. Reconnect with your friends

One of the feelings you might experience when your children leave home is loneliness, so it’s important to build a support network around you. Your friends can provide vital support and encouragement throughout big life changes, so this could be a great time to organise a day out together to catch up and exchange stories.

You could also grow your circle of friends, now that you have more free time. There are lots of networking groups and clubs you could join to meet new people and connect over shared passions or interests. So, keep an eye out for one that appeals to you and make the brave step of joining a meeting – you never know who you could meet.

3. Take up a new hobby or learn a new skill

As you enter a new chapter of your life, you might feel drawn to try something new, whether that’s a new hobby or learning something new. Your local area will likely have many opportunities for you to join a course or a club, and some may even offer a free taster session so that you can see whether you like it before committing.

As well as the skills or knowledge you’ll acquire from doing this, it could also help you to boost your confidence and meet new like-minded people in your area. These are all important parts of taking care of your health and wellbeing.

4. Take care of yourself and your wellbeing

While new hobbies and friendship groups can provide you with a way to spend your time, it’s important to also spend time taking care of yourself. You might have grown used to putting your needs below those of your children, but now that you have more time for yourself, make sure you are not neglecting your own wellbeing.

Regular exercise, eating well, and getting enough good-quality sleep are just some of the ways you can ensure you stay fit and healthy to enjoy your free time.

5. Update your financial plan

After your children have moved out, you may find that you have a little more disposable income each month, as you have fewer people using energy and groceries in the home. Used wisely, this could allow you to make more progress towards your financial goals – for example, contributing more towards your pension or saving up for a dream holiday you have been wanting to take for many years.

Looking at your new circumstances with optimism can help you to view this life change as an exciting opportunity for your whole family. Your financial planner can help you identify the most sensible way to use the new disposable income you now have so you can achieve your goals.

Get in touch

If your circumstances have recently changed, such as your children leaving home, please contact us to learn more about how we can help you to manage the financial implications of this change.

You can email us at info@harperlees.co.uk or call 01277 350560. We’ll be very happy to help.

Please note

This article is for information only. All contents are based on our understanding of HMRC legislation, which is subject to change.

A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55 (57 from April 2028). The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual  circumstances. Thresholds, percentage rates, and tax legislation may change in subsequent Finance Acts.