Middle age woes are hard enough to deal with, but throw in empty nest syndrome and it is a recipe for potential depression.
Psychologists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston say not to look at it as an ending, but as the beginning of a new stage in life with more time to travel, develop new hobbies, rediscover forgotten dreams and get to know your spouse all over again.
“Parents have channeled all of their energy into their children for so long they may not know what to do with their time once they leave,” said Dr. James Bray, associate professor of family and community medicine at Baylor.
Empty nest syndrome often leads to divorce, but parents shouldn’t assume that leaving your spouse will make the unhappiness go away.
“Marriage takes time and energy, so make the effort to get reacquainted,” Bray said.
Talk with friends to re-evaluate goals and take note of some lifelong dreams you haven’t had time to accomplish, said Bray. There may be more time to take dance classes, travel, exercise or go back to college to retool skills.
The empty nest transition usually lasts six months to a year, depending on how well parents can adjust to their newly found freedom.