Mindset

Kids All Grown Up? 10 Simple Ways to Turn Empty Nest Boredom into Bliss

 
Nest
 

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My daughter went to her Dad’s house last summer.

She didn’t go off to Paris for a fabulous summer internship away from home. She didn’t pack her bags and head to college. She didn’t even get married and start building her life yet. 

My little 10-year-old left for one summer…

… and it killed me on the inside. 

It was my first summer without her, and up until the moment she left, I bubbled with excitement over how productive I’d be. 

I’d be able to write that book I’ve been thinking about for years.

I’d work harder at my 9-to-5 job. 

I’d even start dating again. I would have sooo much time to myself! 

Then she left and reality hit. 

My time was no longer structured around  when she woke up in the morning, when she went-to and came home from school, when she needed dinner and her bedtime routine.

I started to wake up… whenever I felt like it. Dinners became grapes, cheese and wine in front of the TV. I visited friends houses and couch surfed for weeks. I over-worked at my 9-to-5 because I had no inspiration to stop working. I drank too much on the weekends. 

Until finally, one weekend I found myself hanging on the door of my friends car, throwing up in the middle of the street, and then subsequently sleeping on her couch until 4pm the next evening when I realized…. 

I was never going to finish that book, be more productive, or date. There was no time to do the things that mattered because the one thing my entire life centered around was gone. 

My Daughter gave my life meaning. 

Without her… who am I? 

It wasn’t until I spent time with some women in their 50’s who told me that I was suffering from some acute version of empty nest syndrome. 

What is empty nest syndrome?

Empty nest syndrome happens when your adult children leave the house and you, as a parent, feel empty inside. Your little birdies are all grown up. They’ve flown away to build lives and families of their own. Your little nest that was once filled with children is empty and you’re left to figure out what’s next. 

How Do I Know I’m suffering from empty nest syndrome? 

I started to experience all of these signs without noticing. You can experience these at any time of your life so you may not immediately think about empty nest syndrome when you’re in the moment. 

  1. Anxiety: You worry about your child(ren) and what will your days look like without them.

  2. Depression: You lose clarity on your values and desires. 

  3. Loss of Confidence: You’re in a new phase of your life, experiencing change

  4. Loneliness: Your number 1 fan and friend has left your home. It’s normal to feel super lonely.

What causes empty nest depression?

I didn’t realize that my daughter and my identity were interchangeable. I lived to serve her, play with her, entertain her, teach her, protect her and be a good example for her. 

Without my daughter, I lost my identity and my purpose. My value system took a major disruption - because my daughter was my #1 priority. Without her, I didn’t know what my values were so I said yes to every bad idea, took part in every indulgence and became a person who I didn’t recognize. 

Many people experience this to a higher degree because when your children are actually leaving the home for good, it often comes at a time where your aging body is changing, you may be retiring, or your aging parents may need more care and attention. All of the change in your life can accelerate your lack of clarity and exacerbate those feelings of anxiety around your life. 

How To Thrive When Kids Are Gone

If you haven’t prepared yourself for empty nest syndrome and it’s smacking you in the face now that you have nothing to do with your time other than worry about your adult children. Then it’s time to start focusing your energy elsewhere.

1. Make a list of the positives

Keep things simple with a short list of the positive things in your life. Before your mind drives you crazy with all of the things going wrong, make sure you have a  clear idea of what’s going really well to keep you level headed during the difficult times. 

Maybe you have a spouse that loves and supports you, friends who adore you, or a career that’s going very well. Keep that list handy to reflect on during your challenging moments.

2. Rebuild your home the way you envisioned it

The moment your children move out of the house is a great time to think about how you’d like to change up your space. With all of the change happening, your child’s room can feel frozen in time and a space where you go to reflect on their childhood (and torture yourself with missing them even more). 

Maybe you’ll want to put a fresh coat of paint on a few walls, re-organize closets, create a home office or exercise space. You don’t necessarily have to change your children’s room, but make sure that you have some space that you are excited to come home to.

3. Join a group focused on your hobbies

These days there are lots of opportunities to join fun hobby groups. Check out local facebook pages for upcoming activities. Go to your local craft store and find the class schedule. Call up a friend who you know has the same hobbies and start your own group. Check local church bulletins to find volunteer opportunities.

If you aren’t really sure which hobbies you’re really interested in, then it’s time to try something new and find out what YOU actually like to do in your spare time.

4. Make some new friends (or call up your old ones). 

Connecting with old friends is always enjoyable. Years of raising kids and working often leaves little time left for friends. Head out for coffee, dinner or WINE!

Invite a co-worker out who you’ve never spent time with outside of the office. Join a new hobby group and meet some new people.

5. Actively participate in your community. 

Join a book club. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or your local library. Get involved with your local church. Help out at a near by elementary school. There are plenty of activities to get involved in. Try a few out and see which one suits you best.

6. Prioritize your significant other (or meeting one).

Our partners often don’t get much of our time either. Plan a date night out. Or a movie night in. Take up ballroom dancing. Anything to spend time together and get a chance to talk and connect.

If you’re single, join a singles group to meet new people. Have a friend set you up on a date. Start getting to know some new people until you find one who you want to stick with.



7. Try Something New

Maybe you always thought it would be fun to learn to paint or to take a pottery class. Maybe you like to read and have wanted to join a book club but haven’t had much time to get books crossed off your list. This is a great time to try something new.

You’ll find out if it’s a hobby you want to stick with. And you’ll probably meet some cool people in the process.

If you’re not sure what you want to try, Pinterest is just waiting to share a million ideas with you.

8. Manage your finances. 

You may be thinking more about retirement now that you don’t have kids in the house. This is a great time to sit down with a financial planner and discuss your retirement goals. Perhaps your ready to start thinking about downsizing your house or maybe you want to cut back on your spending to speed up that retirement date.

Keep your partner involved in the conversation too. Time to nerd out with a good spreadsheet and make sure your money is invested in the right places and giving you maximum returns.

9. Seek to understand yourself without kids.

There’s no doubt about it - you’re a brand new person (or your about to be). You now have no restraints on your time based on a child’s demanding schedule and you’re free to do whatever you want to do with those hours. 

What do you want to do with your time? 

You didn’t have enough time to ponder this before because every moment your child finds you alone they have yet another request. With them safe, secure and out of the house, it’s time to ask yourself the hard questions. 

What do you want to do with your time? What do you enjoy doing with your time?

Not what’s expected of you or what would your job, friends, or family want from you… but what do YOU want from you. 

What do you want your life to be about? 

Who are you? 

If you don’t spend some time discovering who you are, you could easily find yourself drifting into whatever situation that presents itself. The only way to make sure you’re living the life you want is to define the life you want. 

10. Work on rebuilding your confidence. 

One of the hardest things to understand is how a woman who has written two books, raised a child, secured several degrees, landed jobs at top agencies, speaks with confidence in a boardroom feels like crap at home when she has no one to make a sandwich for. 

It happens, my friend. As a parent, I didn’t realize I equated my worth with my ability to serve my child. With my child gone, I didn’t have a stable definition of my own value. 

If you’re like me, you may have to re-establish your worth in your own eyes to regain your confidence. Remind yourself of all the amazing things you have done, the people you’ve impacted and the growth you’ve endured over the entire course of your life. 


Ready To Take Action Right Now? 

  1. Accept your feelings.

  2. Make a list of the hobbies you never had time for when your children were young. 

  3. Take one action that will help you start working towards that hobby.


Watching a child leave your home can be difficult because the foundation of your life is changing. Where you once were subjected to your child’s schedule, you’ll now be free to create your own. Rebuilding your life and finding other things to do with your time is 100% up to you.

What fun and purposeful things will you do with all your newfound free time?


Ready To Accomplish Your Greatest Goals? 

  1. Cut soul-sucking activities from your life to create a purposeful future you LOVE in 10 days with the FREE Prioritize Me, Guilt-Free journal prompts.  

  2. Take a FREE personal development class on CreativeLive

  3. Design your dream life with purpose and intention with Self, YES!, our signature vision board course.

Ready To Create Your Five Year Vision?

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Download this FREE Five-Year Vision Workbook to design your future with happiness, purpose and intention.

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Chantl

About Chantl

Chantl founded Thrive Lounge to give women the kick in the pants they need (lovingly, of course) to uncomplicate their goals, stop making excuses, get productive and start living the life they always wanted. Her book, Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams, gives women a step-by-step guide to create, plan and achieve their grandest goals.


Six Simple Steps To Quieting Your Mind and Finding Inner Peace

 
Peace
 

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Have you ever had that nagging feeling that keeps you up at night, ruminating over what went wrong and how you could’ve done something differently, made a smarter decision, or had the right come-back line. 

You replay the moment over in your head and you can’t get your mind off of it. 

We’ve all been there.

How do I regain my peace of mind after a moment of weakness, failure, frustration or loneliness?


What is Peace Of Mind? 

It’s exactly as it sounds. When you have peace of mind, you move throughout your life without shame, doubt or guilt. You accept where you are in your life today. Your mind is quiet and calm. 


Why is Peace of Mind Important? 

Through peace of mind you can have more confidence in your abilities. You can trust yourself to make decisions that are in your best interest. You don’t take action out of fear or pain. You don’t negate or diminish your worth in the presence of others. You don’t connect your worth to any one point in time. You don’t feel uneasy going through life. 


When Do You Need To Use Peace of Mind Tools? 

These tools come in handy when you’ve recently experienced a moment of regret, shame, or pain. At these times in your life, it’s easy to blame yourself for your situation and worry about what could happen as a result of your misgivings. 

Peace of mind tools pull you out of that moment quicker so that you can regain confidence in yourself and your decisions.


Where Can You Find Peace of Mind? 

Two factors contribute to your ability to find peace of mind: time and distance. 

You can wait for enough time to pass where the pain of your mistake weakens and you’ve had more experience throughout life. 

An example of this is heartbreak. The first day of a breakup can seem impossible to get over. You replay every last conversation in your mind, wondering if you could’ve said something different or done something different to make things right. After a while, you think about the situation less as time goes by. You get used to the idea of being without that person and start to create new routines.

You can distance yourself (and your worth) from your pain intentionally, and create that space between the pain purposefully. 

Breakup is great example here as well. You can intentionally do things with your time to ensure you’re not thinking about your past love. You can spend more time with friends, pick up a new hobby or start dating again. All of these things distance your mind from the situation and help you find peace in your daily life.


How To Create Peace of Mind (Even When Everything’s Gone Wrong)

Self Forgiveness 

Yes, the first thing you have to do once shit hits the fan is forgive yourself for your part in this moment. 

You will make mistakes, bad decisions and (sometimes) you’ll be super selfish or too giving in a way that you later regret. Rather than blame yourself in this moment, accept that you’ve done something you’re not proud of. 

You take the first step in forgiving yourself the moment you accept, forgive and love yourself for all the choices you’ve made (not just the good ones).

Remember the Past

As much as you replay this moment in your head, you would think it’s the first time you’ve experienced this. However, it’s likely not. 

Thinking about the last time you suffered through a similar experience helps to remind you what happens next. 

For example, during my last heartbreak, I started to think I’d never find love because there’s something wrong with me. 

Then, I thought back to past relationships and what happened when they came to an end. I always found love again. That fact gave me the confidence that I didn’t choose wrong, there’s nothing wrong with me, I’m not incapable of long-lasting love. I’m simply ready to find love again. :) 


Own Your Mistake

We all make mistakes, and the first thing you must do to achieve peace of mind with your decisions is to accept that your decisions lead to mistakes occurring. When you can pinpoint exactly what you did to create an event, you can dissect what feelings or emotions led you to making those decisions. 

Now that I’ve accepted that, I can think through ways I could’ve better served my personality and my needs. 


Focus on What You Can Control

If you’ve accepted that you made a mistake, then you’re ready to take full control of your actions next time around. You can write a list of things you did wrong and what you can do differently next time.  Many things are out of our control, but by focusing on what you can control, you’ll be sure to see better results moving forward.

Use an affirmation for when you’re beating yourself up

The mind is a tricky place to get trapped in. After a rough moment, it’s easy to get caught up in a negative loop where you think of every terrible outcome that could happen as a result of your mistake. 

Imagine you sent an email or text message you regret. You’ll think about the recipient’s response, their next possible actions and how that could impact your relationship over the next year. 

In these moments you can stop yourself from having anxiety about the future by bringing your mind back to the present with an affirmation or favorite quote. 

Related Content: If You Want to be Happy, Try Journaling

Reflect on Your Wins

No amount of reminders can negate the fact that the mistake happened and you feel bad for it. However, I’m willing to bet there were several times where you did something right and you have proof of that. 

Spend some time looking back at old emails, social media posts or cards from people that love and adore you. Throughout all of your mistakes there are times where you’ve done amazing things, helped people and made a positive impact on the world around you. Use those moments to get you through the tough times. 


Actions You Can Take RIGHT NOW: 

If you’re experiencing that uneasy feeling that you’re royally screwed up, take these simple steps to gain a bit of inner peace right now: 

  1. Find (or create) an affirmation that you can repeat when negative thoughts arise. 

  2. Find three positive examples of times that negate the mistake you’ve made. 

  3. Write down three things you can do differently in the future. 


You control your inner peace. It’s impossible to have inner peace all the time because, quite honestly, life freakin’ happens. Sometimes you will make a mistake that shakes your mindset. Sometimes your life will change in a definitive way that makes you question your abilities. Sometimes you’ll experience something that you replay in your mind over and over. 

You can always come back from those moments - and you can do it faster than you think.  

Comment below with one of your favorite ways to bring back your inner peace!


Ready To Accomplish Your Greatest Goals? 

  1. Cut soul-sucking activities from your life to create a purposeful future you LOVE in 10 days with the FREE Prioritize Me, Guilt-Free journal prompts.  

  2. Take a FREE personal development class on CreativeLive

  3. Design your dream life with purpose and intention with Self, YES!, our signature vision board course.

Ready To Create Your Five Year Vision?

Fiveyearvision

Download this FREE Five-Year Vision Workbook to design your future with happiness, purpose and intention.

Enter your email to subscribe to the newsletter + grab the freebie!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.


Chantl

About Chantl

Chantl founded Thrive Lounge to give women the kick in the pants they need (lovingly, of course) to uncomplicate their goals, stop making excuses, get productive and start living the life they always wanted. Her book, Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams, gives women a step-by-step guide to create, plan and achieve their grandest goals.


How To Rebuild Your Confidence After A Break Up

 
Breakup
 

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I gave him everything. 

I spent a year of my life becoming the person that he wanted me to be. I held the house-cleaner, care-giver of 3 kids, clothes-washer and primary servant roles in our little household. 

I wanted to be loved so I gave up every ounce of my personality in the hope that love would come. 

I let go of my desire to have a successful career, to help women, and express myself freely in an effort to serve his needs. My essence was him - his needs, his restaurants, his friends.  I even gave up the convertible I loved for the mom truck he wanted me to drive. (Yes, pathetic, I know.)

When we didn’t work out, I lost my sense of purpose. I didn’t know what I wanted. I couldn’t make my own decisions. I couldn’t trust myself with my future.

It was time to rebuild all the self-confidence that I had lost throughout that relationship.

What is Confidence? 

Confidence is believing in yourself and your ability to succeed. Having trust that you can figure things out and that you certainly can achieve your desires.

Why is self confidence important? 

Self confidence is what helps you make decisions, take risks, and deal with pressure in a healthy way. Having self confidence means you genuinely believe that you are smart enough, worthy enough of the highest levels of achievement and capable of making the right choices in your life.  

You need self-confidence to reach your full potential.


What happens when self confidence is low? 

Have you ever wanted to ask for a raise and talked yourself out of it? Feared speaking up when you knew you were right? Those are a few examples of what happens when you don’t have self confidence. 

Without self confidence, you’re unable to instill confidence in others because you speak with uncertainty. You don’t take risks because you truly believe you aren’t good enough. You might shy away from opportunities because you don’t believe your’re worthy. 

Without self confidence, you easily create a barrier between yourself and your highest potential. 

What does self confidence look like?

Can you answer an undeniable “yes!” to the following questions: 

  1. Do you feel like your opinions are valid and accepted? 

  2. Are you comfortable asking for things you want? 

  3. Are you comfortable asking for help? 

  4. Do you speak up when you have something to say?

  5. Do you say no when you don’t want to do something?


Can’t I Just Fake Self Confidence? 

You can fake self confidence on the outside by sitting up straight, wearing clothes that reflect confidence or using clear and concise language.

However, true self confidence starts within your mind. Your thoughts are what ultimately lead to the decisions you make to advocate for yourself, speak up in uncomfortable situations and feel great about the decisions you make. 

You cannot fake your thoughts. 


How To Regain Your Self Confidence

The good news is that self confidence is something you can re-build, no matter how little you have. (Trust me on this one.)

Here’s how I did it for myself and how you can, too. 

See the “good” in you 

The first thing you must do once you realize you’ve lost your self-confidence is understand the immense value you bring to this world.  There is only one YOU in this world, and no one else can fulfill your purpose the way that you can.

You were not created to serve your ex. You can start over. You were created for a larger purpose - even if you can’t see that right now. Let this break up be your clean slate to rebuild yourself exactly the way you want. 

Make a list of 10 ways you are strong, kind, compassionate, courageous. These could be large or small, recent or super old. You’ve made a contribution to the world somewhere in your life. Find that memory and use it to remind yourself just how amazing you can be. 

Understand your strengths 

There are things that you do better than anyone else you know. Maybe you’re an amazing cook, a brilliant writer or a great listener that people love talking to.

Identifying your strengths points you in the direction of the things you do well. These are the areas you need to focus on in your efforts to regain your confidence. 

When you gave up your confidence, you got too comfortable with losing. You lost every battle over where you were going for dinner and how you’d spend your time. You lost every argument, no matter how valid your point was. You lost every effort to be your true self.

 Now is your time to “stack the deck” in your favor by living in your strengths zone as much as possible. The more time you can spend catering to your strengths, the more you get to experience winning. 

Accept Your Flaws

Let’s be honest, we all really do have flaws. You’ve likely used them as the reason why you can’t be successful. 

“I’m an introvert so I don’t make connections easily.”
“I don’t have the right educational background.”
“I’m not ______ enough.” (Fill in the blank with skinny/beautiful/young/old/other)

We all have some flaw that we can point to in an effort to make excuses for our inability to reach our goals. The only flaw you really have is lack of self confidence that despite that freakin’ flaw you can still reach your dreams. 

Write down your flaw and give yourself one reason that flaw is a non-factor in your success. For example “I’m an introvert so the connections I make are deep, trusting and reciprocal.”


Negative thoughts will happen, deal with them in a healthy way

“No one will ever love me for… me. I’m too broken.” 

This was my favorite line.  It’s hard to prevent negative thoughts from coming in but we all have a choice on how we handle them. We can either dwell on them or replace them with something positive. For my situation, it could be “I’m lovable just the way that I am and I won’t settle for anything less.”

Make a short list of affirmations. Write them on the bathroom mirror, keep a list in your phone, write them in a journal. Where ever a good place is for you to read them to yourself when those negative thoughts start to creep in.

Related Content: 10 Quotes Guaranteed to Inspire a Kick-Ass Day

Work hard 

One of the best ways to have confidence is to deserve it. The way you deserve your confidence is to earn it. You can earn confidence by working harder than anyone else you know. 

Do you remember a time where you’d studied or practiced something a million times and you walked into “the big game.” It could be a talk that you worked on for weeks, a test you were studying for or that presentation you researched for weeks to give to the big wigs.

After weeks of practice and repetition you knew in the bottom of your heart, without a doubt that you’d be successful. 

You can have confidence in your life the exact same way - through hard work. 

Live in accordance with your values 

You have to define what your values are in order to live by them. 

If you’ve spent some time living someone else’s values, this one might be tough because you’ll have to rediscover yourself. 

  1. Who are you working for everyday to support. 

  2. What motivates you to wake up every day? (Besides coffee.)

  3. Why are you going to your job?

  4. What activities and hobbies can you simply not live without?

 These questions will highlight your values. 


Trust your gut

You will know when you have confidence in yourself when you start to listen to that tiny voice inside you. 

Over the course of your relationship, you got used to silencing that voice. When that voice told you to leave, you stayed. When that voice told you to speak up, you refused. 

That voice, followed by the nagging feeling in the bottom of your stomach was your gut and your strongest source of intuition. To regain your confidence you have to trust that voice, follow it and act on it. 

Because you were right all along. You will be right in the future. You simply need the confidence to believe that feeling. 

Take Action

There’s no better time than today to get started rebuilding your confidence. 

  1. Write down three values that you live by. 

  2. Write down five things you are the best at.

  3. Write down one personal weakness and one reason why that weakness won’t impact your life. 


Having confidence starts with your mind. As soon as you understand your values and your needs, you can start to make decisions that align with that vision of who you are. Every decision you make in alignment with your values builds your confidence even more. 

Comment below and tell us what you are going to do next to boost your confidence.


Ready To Accomplish Your Greatest Goals? 

  1. Cut soul-sucking activities from your life to create a purposeful future you LOVE in 10 days with the FREE Prioritize Me, Guilt Free journal prompts.  

  2. Take a FREE personal development class on CreativeLive

  3. Get clarity on your goals and the strategies to reach them with the ebook Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams.

Ready To Create Your Five Year Vision?

Fiveyearvision

Download this FREE Five-Year Vision Workbook to design your future with happiness, purpose and intention.

Enter your email to subscribe to the newsletter + grab the freebie!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.


Chantl.jpg

About Chantl

Chantl founded Thrive Lounge to give women the kick in the pants they need (lovingly, of course) to uncomplicate their goals, stop making excuses, get productive and start living the life they always wanted. Her book, Goal Doing: Practical Advice For Goal Setting, Action Planning and Achieving Your Dreams, gives women a step-by-step guide to create, plan and achieve their grandest goals.