Love, Family

5 Ways To Beat Empty-Nest Syndrome

empty nest

With your children finally off to college, are you faced with an empty nest for the first time? With a newly quiet house and kids far away, your newfound freedom may be throwing you for a loop. This new time in your life may be forcing you to face some unexpected feelings. Will life be boring and empty now that everyone's gone? It certainly shouldn't be! Now that you have a lot more time to yourself, you should look at your empty nest as an opportunity to do everything you always wanted but never had time to do. We spoke with Dr. Carin Rubenstein, Ph.D. in social/personality psychology and the author of "Beyond The Mommy Years," about handling a new empty nest.

"Empty Nest Syndrome is the idea that women are devastated, depressed and in despair when their children leave home, unable to fill the void that their children leave behind. But mothers who feel this way are a small minority, usually women who are already suffering from depression, about one in 10, according to the research I describe in my book, 'Beyond the Mommy Years.' Most mothers feel a sense of loss when their children leave, of course, but that grief rarely lasts longer than a year or so," Rubenstein says. 

Dr. Rubestein suggests investing your newfound time in new and exciting ways. "Figure out who you are, other than a mother. What else gives your life meaning? Answer this question to fashion a new identity for yourself. Revive your marriage, go on dates, talk to each other, plan outings that you'll both enjoy, have fun together. If you enjoy your career, then concentrate on expanding it. If not, look for a second-act job that will revamp and re-inspire your work life. Rediscover the women who matter to you, be they sisters, neighbors or old pals. Get together on a regular basis to see movies, discuss books or shop. Give back; do good outside your home by refocusing your nurturing impulses elsewhere," Rubenstein says. Fox News iMag: Denise Richards: Explaining Charlie's Addiction To Her Kids

Here are some more tips from iMag on spicing up your empty nest.

1. Get a Pet
Whether a dog, cat, fish or hamster, a pet can be your new best friend. Newly added responsibilities that come along with owning a pet will close those empty, lonely gaps and bring happiness into your life. And while pets can be on the expensive side, you can avoid spending a lot by adopting from the ASPCA. You'll spice up your empty nest while doing a good deed. For just $100 you can give an unwanted pet a new, loving home.

2. Travel, travel, travel
Ever since you've had kids you might have felt that you never had the time to travel or go to half the places you wanted to. Put your finger on a globe, spin and go! You can go with your husband or girlfriends or maybe you're an extrovert who loves to meet new people. You can find numerous travel groups online. Leave that empty feeling at home, and you'll have the time of your life while making amazing, new experiences.

For more tips on how to spice up an empty nest, visit Fox News iMag: 5 Ways To Spice Up An Empty Nest

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This article was originally published at Fox News. Reprinted with permission from the author.