You’ve let the ‘birdies fly away from the nest’ and you are now what is known as an ‘empty nester’. You look around and think “What am I supposed to do with this extra time that I now have?”
This extra time used to be filled with carpool driving, soccer games, school PTO events, etc. Now that the kid(s) are off on their own — either at school or living on their own, you realize that you have gained some extra hours each week.
The first thing to consider is your new life balance. Like many new empty nesters, you probably have a job that takes up a good portion of your time. Or, you could have been a stay-at-home parent and considering your next focus. Here are some suggestions of things to do as an empty nester. Maybe one or two of these following suggestions will help you to ‘re-balance’ your life… hopefully, putting ‘YOU’ a bit more front and center.
12 Things to Do as an Empty Nester
1 Learn a new skill.
Learning a new skill is one of the best ways to activate your brain. The new skill could be speaking a new language, cooking, baking, sewing, etc. It doesn’t matter what it is. That fact that it brings you excitement and joy should be the main goal.
2 Reconnect with friends.
Friends often fall to the wayside when we are busy with raising children. If your friends are not in the same school district or don’t have children, the connection may get severed. Once the children are gone and you have more time, it is time to reach back out to them and reconnect. A lunch date or glass of wine with an old friend can help stir forgotten memories and dreams that you once had at an earlier age. It may be the stimulus that you need to kick start this ‘next chapter’ of your life.
If you are a single parent, you probably had limited time to consider any new relationships with the kids at home. Now that the house is empty, it is time to mingle IRL (in real life) or on a web based dating app.
If you and your spouse are becoming empty nesters together, then it is time to ‘make time’ for each other again. When was the last time you went out on a ‘date’ with your spouse?!?
Whether you are single or a married couple, it might be time to add romance back to your life.
4 Plan a trip to someplace new.
As they say, “There’s a whole world out there!” And it is high time to explore it. And as an empty nester, you might just have the time to go. It could be a transformative experience in Kathmandu or it could be a weekend getaway to the mountains. What matters most is to put yourself in a new locale to help to put you in a new mindset. Bon voyage!
Nothing fills the heart and soul more than helping others. Now that you are an empty nester with a little more time in your life, it might be time to give some of that time to a cause that you feel strongly about. Give time to a local food bank or help out at an animal shelter. You don’t have to go far from home to find the need for your time.
6 Get into physical shape.
Let’s admit it, we can always get into better physical shape. With the extra time that you now have as an empty nester, you could start a walking routine with a friend or neighbor. You don’t need to join the local gym to start getting healthier. Just consider doing ONE thing each day to help to develop stamina and balance. If you do want to dedicate more time to your health, getting a personal trainer is one of the best options.
7 Get into financial shape.
With some of the free time that you have gained, it could be a very good idea to plan your financial future. You are probably 15-20 years maximum from retirement age, which means you should be determining what works best for your retirement planning. Set an appointment with a financial advisor and discuss your current and future financial needs.
8 Get organized.
Becoming an empty nester is the best time for that major ‘spring cleaning’. The garage and storage closets are probably filled with a mixed bag of kids gear. At some point, they should take it or it should be donated to the Salvation Army. The kitchen may be an area ready for re-organization now that you don’t have a ‘troop’ of mouths to feed. The kitchen island and the counter surfaces are probably in need of a decluttering. It’s time to channel your best “Marie Kondo” and get to it.
9 Redecorate your home.
Maybe the house need is greater than a declutter. Maybe the feel of the house needs an updating. Now might be the time to do that bathroom renovation or kitchen rebuild. If you have the money and you have time, this can help you to feel that you are truly starting a new phase of your life.
Writing might be an outlet for several things. According to Journey-Cloud, writing down your feelings helps you to “brain-dump” your anxieties, frustrations and pains in a journal. This might help you, especially if this transition period into your next life phase is producing some anxiety.
The writing activity can also provide a creative outlet. You never know, you might have a novel buried deep inside of you that is dying to come out.
11 Adopt a pet.
You’ve got a lot of love still inside you to share. If grandchildren have not come into your life, a ‘fur baby’ might just do the trick. You can shower love upon a new kitten or puppy. Dog walks provide great exercise and socializing opportunities as well.
12 Chill and read a new book.
At a bare minimum, it might just be time for you to curl up with a book that you have always wanted to read. With kids around the house, this activity might have been hard to do. But now you have the time — so, make the cup of tea or coffee, grab a soft throw, and curl up on the sofa with that book.
We hope that one or more of these suggestions inspire you to embrace your new, free time, and make the most of it. Let us know if you have any other ideas that we can add to this list.