The graduation season is here! While watching your high school senior walk across the stage to get their diploma brings you great pride, it can also give you a feeling of loneliness. You’ve been there for them since the day they were born, changed their diapers, stayed up with them while they were sick-- now they’re leaving for college.
“You may not be sure of what to do with the free time on your hands. Chances are the last several years were spent driving them to sporting games or music rehearsals. While some may find this exciting, others find it overwhelming and sad.” said WellSpan Behavioral Health Clinical Director, Candace Rutherford.
These are completely normal reactions to this life stage change for new “empty nesters”. Here are some things to try to move to next phase in your life:
- Get Exercise. Anytime you exercise it releases endorphins (the happy hormones) to the brain. While you’re at the gym, you may find a new friend to help you through the recent change in your life. Getting into shape will also help as you get older. Regular fitness activities can help maintain bone density and prevent other disease as you age.
- Find New Interests. Think about the things you wanted to do before you had kids. Now is the opportunity to do them. Take some classes, go back to work or school, start volunteering, go on a trip, or learn how to paint.
- Take time for relationships. Now that your kids are off on their own, take the time to reconnect with your spouse or partner. If you’re a single parent, now may be the time to explore dating.
- Pick up the Phone. Remember while your child is at school, they haven’t vanished from your life. Set up a calling routine and check in with them to see how everything is going.