‘For all the things my hands have held, the best by far is you’ – Unknown
There is something rather conflictual about Autumn depending on whether you have kids who are preparing to leave the nest of your home. For me, Autumn, these days, brings back memories of transition and departures. The point about Autumn being that it marks the start of the new university year and many kids will be preparing to take up their degrees in September.
My daughter left London in Autumn two years ago to do her Masters degree in the South West of England. As she departed in the car with her belongings packed to the hilt I had a strong feeling that she wouldn’t return and, so, it has come to pass.
It’s completely normal to feel sad when children leave home, as it marks a significant transition in your life. Your emotions are a reflection of the deep bond and connection you’ve built with your children over the years. Here are a few things to consider as you navigate through this period of change:
- Acknowledge Your Feelings: It’s important to recognize and accept your feelings of sadness. It’s natural to experience a sense of loss when your children leave home. Give yourself permission to grieve and process your emotions.
- Stay Connected: Just because your children have left home doesn’t mean your relationship with them is over. Keep the lines of communication open, whether it’s through regular phone calls, video chats, or visits. This can help maintain a strong connection and alleviate some of the loneliness you might feel.
- Focus on Self-Care: Use this time to invest in yourself and your well-being. Engage in activities you enjoy, take up new hobbies, or revisit old ones. This can help you rediscover your own identity and interests.
- Build a Support Network: Reach out to friends, family members, or support groups who have gone through similar experiences. Sharing your feelings with others who understand can provide comfort and perspective.
- Create New Routines: With your children gone, your daily routines may change. Use this opportunity to establish new routines that cater to your interests and aspirations. This can help you embrace the positive aspects of this new phase in your life. But always remember that establishing new routines takes time so be kind to yourself if you only want to sit and procrastinate for the first few weeks after your child has gone.
- Set Goals: Consider setting new goals for yourself, whether they are related to personal growth, career, travel, or other areas of your life. Having goals to work towards can provide a sense of purpose and direction.
- Rekindle Relationships: Reconnect with your partner or spouse, if applicable. This could be a chance to strengthen your relationship and focus on your connection as a couple.
- Volunteer and Give Back: Engaging in volunteer work or community activities can provide a sense of fulfillment and help you channel your energy into something meaningful.
- Seek Professional Support: If your feelings of sadness become overwhelming and start to impact your daily life, consider seeking support from a mental health professional. They can provide guidance and coping strategies tailored to your situation. I sought help from a confidence coach who helped me rebuild myself.
Remember that change is a part of life, and while the departure of your children may bring sadness, it also opens up new opportunities for growth, self-discovery, and renewed relationships. It took me about 5 months to recover from the initial sting of sadness and discover my new opportunities. It will get better as it has for me.