These 10 tips on thriving in this next stage will motivate you to find fulfillment, validation, and your inner purpose as you transition to the Empty Nest years.
• Create a Vision Board
Create a vision board using that pile of old travel and design magazines and tear out images and words that inspire you, in one sitting, or over time. Create one and look at it often–your dreams can help you define and achieve your goals. Getting excited about something enjoyable about to happen produces positive thoughts and feelings, and can create joy equal to that of the experience itself.
- Write a Letter to Your Younger Self
What advice would you give yourself if you were in your 20s or 30s, knowing everything you know now? Slow down. Work harder. Follow your gut. Be persistent. Be present.
There are so many paths this advice could take. We can congratulate ourselves for doing a great job. Remind ourselves that there was greatness in us all along. Tell ourselves that we inspired others.
Think about a time when you were on top of your game. Bring back the senses, smells, sounds and sights, and colors. Imagine you’re having those feelings now. Give that feeling a name and visit that name frequently to transport you any time to a place of greatness. That’s where you will find your flow and get lost in an activity.
- Experiment with new activities
Even if COVID-19 has kept you home, try something new. Think about gardening, composting, an outdoor game, baking, photography, or knitting. Be sure to prime your environment for success. Keep sneakers by your bed and try running. Join a virtual women’s empowerment group focusing on an interesting activity. Meet people outside your current social network. Volunteering can be rewarding and can fill your days if you have a cause you feel passionate about. If employment is your end goal, going back to your previous career may make sense, or think about the connections you made through your volunteer positions. Many of these skills can be built upon, and parlayed into paying jobs.
- Don’t Jam Pack Your Day
Build intentional “be still” time into your day. Connect with yourself. Remember her? Sit, breathe, reflect. It’s okay not to do and go and do and go. Set aside time to be unproductive and listen to what your inner voice says, and what sounds and sights you connect with. It might surprise you how productive this time can actually be. Update a cozy space in your home and download a book to “transport” yourself to a new place and time. Keep a journal there. Any new thoughts that come up, write them down. Don’t judge them, just offload them.
- An Organized Home is an Organized Life
A great goal for those entering the Empty Nest years is to shed some of the clutter and make some more space in your life, mentally and physically. Now that you are at a new phase of your life, it is time to let go of some of the things that are tying you down to your past. That means going through closets, drawers, and to repurpose, donate, give away, and throw out what is not serving you anymore. These things might not reflect who you are anymore. Paring our things down and organizing the ones we have chosen to keep will give you a great sense of accomplishment and it will make you feel like you have the space in your Empty Nest to embrace your new goals.
Bring vacation joy into your life any time. The way you feel on vacation doesn’t mean you have to wait for that feeling. Simple things can recreate “that vacation feeling,” and the therapeutic value of this should not be underestimated. A fruity drink with an umbrella, the smell of spa eucalyptus, spices and teas from other countries. These small treats may transport you in your mind to a zen place. From there, anything is possible.
- Retail Therapy
Shopping can be therapeutic. Studies show that shopping not only makes people feel better short term, but that it can provide short momentary boosts of happiness.The feeling when you get home from the mall and unwrap your new purchases, or even when you open an Amazon box not remembering exactly what you ordered, is real.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money. Buying new plastic containers to organize closets and drawers can give you a great sense of accomplishment. Even buying fresh mascara and lipstick at the drugstore can give you an instant makeover – both physically and mentally.
Shopping itself can be a purposeful activity. It can clear your mind so that you can focus on a task you need to accomplish. It can relax and rejuvenate you.
- Build Your Team
Building a community of like-minded people looks different for everyone. Not everyone has the same people on their team. It doesn’t matter who plays on the team; what matters is that everyone on your team supports you. Your team could be family, friends, co-workers, neighbors–even people you have only met online.
When you develop a team of supporting players, you create a powerful alliance. Being part of a team offers a sense of strength and hope, and can lead you to find solutions.
Our teammates provide honest feedback without judging. Don’t forget to be a good teammate for others as well. It feels great to assist those we care about.
- Start a Real Conversation
It can be a verbal conversation with a non-judgmental coach or friend, or it can be a written conversation in a journal. The point is to express how you are truly, currently feeling. Be honest, open, and raw. Get permission to have this type of dialogue.
When you are unsettled or uncomfortable about a subject, it is natural to want to leave that place as quickly as possible. But actually, it’s ok, and probably even better, to feel uncomfortable because when addressed, it will help you break through to develop healthier and more meaningful relationships moving forward.
• Express Gratitude
Thank your friends and family for all they’ve done for you. Expressing gratitude can lead to wonderful places. Often the response in return is praise as well; listen to those responses, and don’t underestimate the power of what people see as your strengths. Stay open as others see you more clearly than you may see yourself.
We don’t stop often enough to tell people how we feel. Gratitude and praise can mean so much when dished out in meaningful dollops reflecting true feelings. So go ahead and thank your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors–the ones who have been supporting you. Let them know how they touch you, inspire you, and make you feel better about yourself.
Set aside some time in your day to review these Top 10 Tips to help you jumpstart your empty nest transition so that you can reimagine the next stage of your life.
Analyze how you feel by trying them, one by one.
Let me know in the comments below what new thoughts and feelings come to mind. The Empty Nest can be a great time of life if you start preparing now for that transition.