I’m one of the people who never really thought that there was any truth to Empty Nest Syndrome (ENS). Turns out that ENS is quite real for many of us. There are different degrees and symptoms attributed to this label, and many ways to reframe or heal from it. While commonly associated with a child leaving for college, ENS can show up in a wide range of other life situations. Through my Intuitive Energy Coaching practice, I have discovered that ENS surfaces for a myriad of reasons.
What is ENS anyway? In a nutshell, it is a term used to categorize feelings when there is a loss or significant change to one’s life that includes the absence of someone close. The routine of life is upset, one may have more time on hand, new coping mechanisms for life may be needed, or there might be greater daily challenges to be faced without that person’s presence. The feelings that typically coincide with ENS are worry, grief, sadness, anxiety, depression, hopelessness, frustration, and fear. A common characteristic of ENS is the greater the lack of satisfaction in one’s life, the greater the degree of ENS. For example, using the college example, if a parent has their own identity wrapped up in their child for 18 years - putting the “self on the shelf” as I call it - that parent will most likely experience a greater loss or void when the child leaves home.
Why do we experience ENS? When there is a significant change to one’s life a void is often created. This emotional transition gets magnified because life is “different” now, and one pays closer attention to what/who caused this void. And because where your attention goes energy flows, the person experiencing this new void tends to focus on what is wrong with their life as opposed to what is right. Here are some other examples of ENS, beyond the stereotypical child going off to college.
- Dropping a pet at the sitter for a few days or longer
- Worrying about the death/loss of a long term partner
- Ending of a long-term friendship
- Death of a partner
- Divorced parents seeing their child go to the ex’s
- Change in living situation with partner/roommate
Empty Nest Syndrome is totally normal, whether your child is off to college, or you miss your pet after a few days. What we focus on expands from an energetic perspective, so it’s important to work through ENS and create a new environment for yourself. Using the examples listed above you can: anticipate the reunion with your pet, talk to your partner about your fear, honor the good times in your friendship, talk about your grief, reframe the time without your children, and choose to feel empowered living on your own. And, if your child is going off to college, decide to keep in touch in a way that honors each other’s boundaries. You can also start a new hobby, find a support group, volunteer, travel, reconnect with your partner, keep in better touch with family/friends, create a side hustle, get back into shape, or journal to name a few. Most importantly: start creating new, meaningful experiences, and memories and look toward your future with momentum!
To Your Freedom!