February 4th, 2011

Five Tips to Overcoming Empty Nest Syndrome for Women Over 50

My stepson is grown and on his own now, so I’ve got a good idea what it’s like for women over 50 who are dealing with an empty nest.  Suddenly you’re not an on-call mom anymore, and you suddenly realize just how much time you have now that you’re not doing the driving, packing the lunches, making the dinners, and doing all of the other tasks involved in raising a child.

Congratulations!  You’ve raised a healthy productive adult!  Now, your next 50 years are all about you.

But how do you overcome that feeling of being at loose ends?  Here are 5 tips that helped me:

1.     Don’t just fill your time without first thinking about how you want to fill your time.  Women who are over 50 are used to being busy.  But retiring into our second lives is about the quality of the things we choose to do, not the quantity.  And by “quality, I mean activities that take care of our health, boost our finances, and give us joy.

2.     Spend some time with yourself daydreaming about the things you wanted to be and do when you grew up.  That’s right—I know you’re over 50 now, but it’s time to revisit some of those childhood dreams.  Which ones still excite you?  Those are the kinds of things that you can build your next 50 years around.

3.     Likewise, I suggest coming up with a bucket list—a list of experiences you want to have before you “kick the bucket.  Is it time you saw the Louvre or maybe tried skydiving?  Make your list and start planning to make it happen!

4.     If your empty nest is too big, why not sell it?  A total chance of scenery in a new home can shake us out of old habits faster than just about anything I know.  And you can use the money you save on housing to make your dreams and your bucket list come true.

5.     From today on, consider spending an extra hour every day just pampering yourself, whatever that means for you.  Don’t think you have the time?  Just add up the amount of time you spent on parenting-related tasks when your child was a teen.  Yes, you have the time . . .

Women over 50 today have more possibilities for our lives than any women before us.  It can be hard, though, to remember who we were before we were mothers and to cherish that person.  Take time to discover who you are, just you, and you’ll be on your way to enjoying your 50s—and more!

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