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Coping With The Void of Empty Nest Syndrome - You Can Do It!
If you've read my previous hubs on this subject, you'll know that Empty Nest Syndrome is created by a loss of a source that fulfilled you and met all of your basic human needs. When our all of our basic needs are fulfilled from one source (i.e: your kids), you become dependent on that source to be there forever, even if you only know that on a subconscious level.
So when that source is torn away from you by the natural process of growing up, you will often find yourself depressed until you fill that void and find another source or several sources to fulfill your needs in a positive way.
How to Find Ways to Fulfill Your Needs
Your kids provided you with certainty, variety, significance, connection, growth and contribution. All six of your most basic psychological needs. When something meets at least three of your needs, you are instantly addicted to that thing or person. When you find yourself without your source of fulfillment, it can often feel just as bad as the loss of any other addiction such as drugs, alcohol, a parent or job that you love. Because it feels so overwhelming, it's often hard to look up and see that there are plenty of other sources that you can accept love from, and fulfill your needs.
Yet, once you start looking for those alternative sources, like you're doing now, they start to appear, giving you the chance to find fulfillment in newer and exciting ways, shrinking that void down until it's bursting with bliss and happiness.
Whether you have a loving partner who's hurting as much as you are, or your single and now have the opportunity to find a new partner, I seriously suggest that your partner become your first source of fulfillment.
Romantic relationships are another Top 6 Need Provider, and with the kids gone, it's a great opportunity to focus on each other, especially in terms of new chances for growth, variety and contribution.
How many ways can you think of to use your extra love energy to love your partner and enjoy new adventures with them now that your offspring-free?
Our furry kin are very special in that they are one of the few beings on this earth that can provide a you with a level of fulfillment only a few steps away from how your kids fulfilled your needs. Our pets love us regardless of our race, gender, age, attitude or economic status. They lovingly welcome us home and are glad to help with anything you have in mind.
More than that, they need you. Domesticated animals were bred to be dependent on us for survival, so that they would forever be interlocked in our love. They give us certainty, variety, significance, connection, contribution and growth. All six of our needs.
And, if you already own a pet, or you know someone who does, then you'll know what I mean when I say that animal companions are our "furry children", which makes them great candidates for you to love, and to provide you with a source of love yourself.
Being able to contribute is a special need that you now have a chance to focus on, which is something most people don't get to do, and one great way to do that, is to volunteer. It could be for anything. Helping the homeless, teaching kids with disabilities, after-school activities, teaching, community gardens, meals on wheels, fundraising. There is no lack of volunteering opportunities and tons of ways you can find fulfillment through contribution.
If you have the resources, traveling can be a great way to increase your well-being, and decrease your empty nest blues. Traveling fulfills your need for variety, significance, connection and growth. If you toss in some voluntourism, you also fulfill your need for contribution and certainty, thus providing yourself with all the needs your children fulfilled for you and effectively zapping those nester blues.