Don't Let Empty Nest Syndrome Become
Your New Normal
If you are a mom whose life revolved around taking care of your children and they're all now grown and out the house, then you probably have experienced empty nest syndrome. It's defined as feelings of loneliness and depression that may cause a sense of insignificance or meaninglessness; making it extremely difficult for many of us to adjust to having more free time. However, it's also an excellent opportunity to focus on taking care of yourself - doing things you enjoy, and focusing on your health and wellness.
Whether you are a corporate career woman, entrepreneur or stay at home mom, it's easy to lose sight of who you were before the responsibility of parenting in the home. You were once always busy and on the go taking kids to school, sporting activities and events, dance classes...the list goes on and on. The point is that when you have kids around all day every day it's easy to get into a routine where being active becomes part of your daily life; but now that they're grown up and out of the house, that's when life changes dramatically. You may have more time on your hands than ever before—but now that they're gone, it feels like there's much less reason to get up off the couch. On top of that, perimenopause/menopause can cause hormonal changes in your body that make it even harder for some women to get motivated when their children aren't around anymore.
There are two times when parenting is the most difficult. When the baby first arrives at home and when the adult first leaves home. - Jennifer Quinn
As a empty nester, it's easy to fall into a sedentary routine of sitting on the couch watching TV or sitting at your desk or kitchen table on your laptop all day long. You know you should take action to be more active but do not have the motivation, discipline, or willpower to generate any real momentum and may have gotten comfortable making excuses for it.
Trust Me, you're NOT alone! Empty nest syndrome is a natural form of grief that many moms (even dads) will experience after their children leave. However, with time and commitment, you can work through it and get back to being active and healthy again! Here are five strategies to help you get started:
#1 - Identify your WHY!
Yes, I know you've heard this a thousand times but it's the core foundation for understanding and clarity on your personal reason and ultimately your decision for change. Start by making a list of all the reasons why you need and want to be more active and healthier. Be specific. Don't just say
"I want to lose weight" instead state "I need to incorporate more daily movement because my doctor stated that my bodyweight is the cause of my knee pain" or "I need to make healthier food choices and be more active because high blood pressure runs in my family and I want to set a healthy example for my grandchildren.
*Remember your WHY is your driving force and power*
#2 - Make a commitment to yourself!
You have to make an active decision to commit to getting back into good habits. You can't just say "I'm going to start working out" and expect it to happen—you have to set SMART goals, actively plan your workouts, schedule them in advance and follow through with them. The same goes for eating healthier, drinking water and other life changes that you're making. Always remember, if you don't do it for yourself, then who will?
#3 - Be intentional and consistent!
Make an appointment with yourself every day, at the same time and place, where you'll do something active (even if it's stretching for 10-20 minutes a day). Personally, I like to workout 6am in the morning and I do mindful stretching or yoga as part of my evening routine around 9pm. If you have a specific time and place for your scheduled movement/exercise, it's easier to plan around it and make it happen. This will also set up a routine that will become natural over time.
#4 - Don't overthink it or wait until you feel like working out: just do it!
Motivation and willpower are great, but they're not always reliable. If you wait for motivation or willpower to strike, it might never come. Instead, focus on changing behaviors and building good habits into your daily routine so that movement and exercise becomes a part of your life without having to think about it as much as possible. Also, plan little ways to move throughout the day. Whether you work remotely or at the office, get up move or walk around for 10 minutes every hour. Go outside and get some fresh air, and most importantly stop, pause and breathe.
#5 - Get creative!
Find something new and fun that you can do with your friends, by yourself or both! The best way to get motivated is by doing things you love or that you're passionate about. If you don't have anything in mind, research new hobbies that might be interesting to you. You could also join a community where people share similar interests and activities. If you're feeling really unmotivated and still need some help getting started, make a list of things that inspire you. Maybe there's a book that makes your heart race with excitement; maybe there's an artist whose work resonates with what's inside of you; maybe there's a song that always gets you pumped for the day ahead. The point is: once we start paying attention to what inspires us, it becomes easier to find that spark again and again—and then use it as fuel for our own creativity!
So, don't let empty nest syndrome be your new normal. Take the first step to find new ways to motivate and inspire yourself to be more active and healthy. Now put it into action - follow the above tips to help you get back on track and start taking care of YOU!
Are you really living your BEST Life?
This daily guided journal/workbook will help you create a healthy mindset for your inner and outer reality. You'll learn how to break unhealthy habits and replace them with empowering ones. You'll discover your own identity, develop positive self-thinking, and make holistic improvements in every area of your life!