For many, aging comes with facing the reality that your kids are no longer living at home. While some people enjoy this time, others may feel a little out of sorts. I know when my girls, Kelly and Katie, left the house, Jeff and I had to figure out what the new normal in our life would be like. The good news is that you can take advantage of the extra time and quiet to refocus on yourself!
Here are some ways to take advantage of being an empty nester:
Create a routine. With no school games or events to go to, no big dinners to prepare, etc., a routine can help you stay focused and have purpose. My routine is usually a morning workout, work for most of the day, then make dinner or go out to eat with Jeff. I like to meal plan ahead, so I know what to buy and what we will be having, as that offers a sense of planning that I enjoy. Find a routine that works for you and gives you balance!
Go on dates. Now that you have more free time, take advantage of that by dating your partner - or your friends! I make it a point to have lunch or dinner with my friends or sisters at least once a week, and Jeff and I love to find new restaurants to try, or go check out new areas around us. It's fun to have something to look forward to that you can put on a calendar and count down the days! I am big proponent of saying YES to new adventures, especially as I get older, so give it a try!
Pick up a new hobby. Whether you want to try a new form of exercise such as hiking, want to learn to play Pickleball or throw pottery, want to read more books or learn a new language - it's all out there! Look at your local community offerings for all sorts of options when it comes to arts and sports; start a bookclub with some friends; find an online course to learn almost anything...the possibilities are endless when it comes to a hobby!
Volunteer. If you have the luxury of spare time, consider volunteering. It provides such a wonderful experience for those you are helping and YOU! Write down five things that are important to you, then search for local volunteer opportunities around one or two of them.
Travel. Having extra time to explore areas you haven't been to - or revisiting those you love - is such a joy. And it doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming! Pick a park within your area you have never been to, and go visit. Then find a place within your state you always wanted to take a day trip to. Put these on your calendar, then do them! You won't regret the experience, and you will create lasting memories!!
Finally - keep in touch with your kids, if you have children. Schedule video or phone chats, meet in person if you are able to, send letters and care packages. It will help you transition into enjoying your kids' adulthood and independence, while still being a family unit.
Let's live FIT, HAPPY, and HEALTHY - together!