As a parent, you may have been dreading or eagerly planning for the day when your children leave your home. Empty nest syndrome is one that many parents experience every day. However, your experience with having an empty nest doesn’t have to be a negative one. More and more parents are finding ways to make the most of this new stage in their lives and there’s nothing wrong with celebrating.

One of the first steps towards dealing with an empty nest is to let Nature take its course. Allow yourself to emote freely, whether the feelings are good or bad. You are human after all and there is nothing wrong with taking some time to yourself to reflect and let the idea sink in that you’ve now got an empty house. However, you’ll want to do your best to not let your emotions rule you. You may be feeling a bit sad or depressed after the first week but if you’re still feeling this way after the first few weeks or a month, then you’ve got to make some serious changes to bring you out of your funk.

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Once the initial shock has worn off, start making plans. Get together with your significant other and figure out what you both want to do that you weren’t able to do before when the kids were home. Maybe you’ll finally be able to renovate and redecorate now that you have rooms that aren’t being used. This is a great project for you and your significant other to work on together. Remodeling your home can also signal the start of a new stage in your lives. Now that you don’t have extra mouths to feed, you can save up some money and take a vacation. Getting away for a week or two is a wonderful way for you to do something you enjoy – not to mention that you’ll no longer have to deal with finding a babysitter.

Find a new hobby to pursue. Or if you have a ton of hobbies that you put on the backburner, bring them out and tackle them with renewed vigor. You’ve now got all the time in the world to do things that you want to do and you’ll be on nobody else’s schedule but your own. Think of it as a rightfully deserved reward for the years of time and effort you put into parenting and raising your kids. Another way to enjoy your empty nest is to invite over other parents that are in the same boat as you. Host a brunch put together a fancy dinner or plan an outing with another couple. It’s always helpful to have the company of people that can relate to your situation. The possibilities for enjoying your newly empty nest are endless so make the most of it while you can.

In the end, if you’re still having trouble grasping the idea that your children won’t be returning home, remind yourself that you did a great job raising them. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. Replace those feelings of sadness and loss with pride and joy and you’ll look forward to creating new memories in your home for many more years to come.