Parents – a word that encompasses a universe for their children. A parent’s love for their child begins long before they are born. The bonding, care, and love begin during the first stage of conception and increase forever. Bringing a child into this beautiful world is the beginning of infinite responsibilities to create a better human being.
The whole life of the parents revolves around their children. Children are the main goals of their life. To raise them to be successful and a happy independent person. Basically, it is the natural order of things in life. Parents nurture their children until they can navigate the world on their own. Children mature and can live independently; they learn to try new things and take risks to achieve their personal and professional obligations.
It takes roughly two decades to teach children right from wrong. But if compared to this responsibility, the most challenging part for any mother or father is when their child grows up and flies the nest. As a result, parents may experience the dreaded – empty nest syndrome.
Let us delve into knowing what exactly empty nest syndrome is.
Once your children have left home and ventured out into the world, you will experience a sense of emptiness, grief, and dread. This feeling or psychological condition is known as the empty nest syndrome.
You could think of it as an adjustment disorder, similar to losing a life partner, getting divorced, losing a job, or moving to a new city.
But at this juncture, note that not all parents experience this empty nest syndrome feeling. But those parents who do so often have a bittersweet feeling. It is a mixture of melancholy with the fascination of finally having some time for yourself.
What are the symptoms of this Syndrome?
Before we get to know the symptoms of empty nest syndrome, remember that not everyone would experience it in the same way. One parent can be fine, while the other is having difficulties. Especially in most cases, mothers – who are the primary caretakers feel the emptiness more compared to a father.
Other symptoms of empty nest syndrome include restlessness, loneliness, irritability, sadness, anguish, social isolation, loss of purpose, endless worry and guilt, mental distress, boredom, etc.
This emotional experience; can be noticed in both parents. However, a few things may differ based on gender. While, in some cases, women tend to be at risk of experiencing social withdrawal and being depressed, men may turn alcoholic.
Empty Nest Syndrome: What Causes It?
The reason for empty nest syndrome differs from parent to parent. Parents are constantly worried about their child’s well-being and safety. They worry that their children may have difficulty adjusting to a new environment and managing everything. For many years, parents may feel uncomfortable as they lose the sense of control and parental responsibility.
Parents feel an eerie silence at home. They feel the loss of enthusiasm and joy as they feel a gap in their lives.
What are the Consequences of Having an Empty Nest Syndrome?
The impact of Empty nest syndrome may work well for some, while for others, it may result in a negative outcome. Some parents may feel a profound sense of loss, making them more vulnerable to alcoholism, depression, marital conflicts, and identity crises.
Those; who are; positively affected may experience less responsibility, fewer daily chores, fewer family conflicts, and several other advantages. Parents may see this as a new opportunity to reconnect with their children, rekindle interests that they previously did not have time for, and improve the quality of their marriage.
How to Deal with Empty Nest Syndrome
Now, coming to the section on how to deal with ENS. First and foremost, empty nest syndrome is not something to be ashamed of. We human beings are biologically wired to nurture and protect our offspring. So, of course, we will feel diminished and out of sorts when they fly off the nest.
That being said, this should not stop us from seeking concrete steps to move forward in life. Now is the perfect moment to indulge yourself. Opt for a class, learn new things, volunteer at some NGOs, try gardening, painting, dancing, etc.
Laugh more, invest in yourself, exercise and meditate, and do what you have ignored in the past due to time constraints. Think of practical ways to maintain the connection with your children, can be a video call, texting, etc. Discover this option.
The point is – just like your child – go ahead and find a new meaning to your life. Finally, keep in mind that this, too, shall pass.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the physical effects of Empty Nest Syndrome?
Some common symptoms and signs to identify Empty nest syndrome are anxiety, lack of control, depression, loss of purpose, loneliness, etc.
How Do You Manage Empty Nest Syndrome?
Coping with empty nest syndrome can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Pursue hobbies, rekindle romance, learn to love your new nest, go for a holiday, and plan for the upcoming transition.
How long can Empty Nest Last?
Again this may vary from person to person. But, on average, the duration is around two months. Some parents may even take a longer period, like a few years.
The Takeaway Message
Approximately more than 18 years of being a parent, ENS can be an emotional and scary time of your life. Be rest assured that as a parent, you have done your job. Now, it is time to enjoy your life minus the responsibilities with all the opportunities and freedom it can provide. The feelings that you are experiencing at present; will slowly fade; as you get accustomed to a new quieter nest.
Encircle yourself with friends and family who understand your feelings. Empty nest syndrome is a challenging experience. Bear in mind that this situation will not last indefinitely.
Surround yourself with others who know what you’re going through. Empty nest syndrome is a challenging condition to deal with. Keep in mind that this circumstance isn’t going to persist forever. You’ll soon be anticipating the start of a new chapter in your life.
But if the symptoms of anxiety or depression persist for long, then it is vital to seek out professional help. Speak with psychologists and psychiatrists to ensure that you get the support you need when you need it. When ENS becomes too much for you to handle, and you are experiencing symptoms like insomnia, problems concentrating, changes in appetite, or suicidal thoughts, it’s time to contact the best psychologist in Hyderabad at TruHap.
Contact us to get the best diagnosis, assessment, and treatment. With our help, you can overcome these symptoms and happily begin a new chapter in your life.