When faced with a big life change, such as empty nesting or relocation, it’s quite common to feel unsure of who you are in this new place. Either your new place in life or new place where you live. This uncertainty is both normal and uncomfortable. It also makes this new chapter an ideal time to focus on yourself and what you want. I’m focusing here on empty nesting, although if you moved, this will benefit you, too.
Empty nesting is emotionally overwhelming, filled with grief, frustration and fear. Finding the motivation to leave your former “mom” life behind and fight through indifference and ambivalence can leave you feeling stuck instead of a sense of freedom.
My husband and I became empty nesters 6 months ago. While my process was bumpy, there were 3 things that eased the transition. Below is the 3-part process that helped me move from the center of my kid’s life to the heart of my own and feel like myself again faster.
Start by unplugging.
Unplugging from social media is a gift of more time. More time to focus on you. The longer you unplug, the better your ability to hear your inner voice. The voice that’s going to let you in on what it is YOU want.
The time to unplug is different for everyone. It depends on your current phone habits, ranging from a few hours to a full week or more to reach your most inspired, focused self. When you quiet the noise and distractions, it becomes easier to go inward, connect and listen.
Unplugging also prevents the inevitable scrolling through the lives of our friends and strangers. Yes, social media can be inspirational. But it’s not at all helpful once we start comparing our lives and homes to those of others. So, when you unplug, your voice, your intuition, will be able to guide you towards what you want more easily.
Think about your why.
Empty nesting is a time for discovering renewed purpose. But before figuring out your purpose, it’s helpful to figure out your why. Why do you feel stuck?
Aside from not feeling sure of who you are outside of mom, here are other reasons you might feel stuck. More free time is suddenly available and you might not be sure how to fill it. It’s possible you can’t quite visualize what this stage is going to look like and you’re used to having a plan. It’s been so long since you’re felt like your best self that you don’t really know what you’re passionate about that doesn’t involve your family.
Whatever your reason, I want to repeat how normal it is to feel stuck in the midst of transition. You’re opening yourself up to something new while the unknowns of what lies ahead can cause fear and anxiety.
Give yourself some space to figure out why you feel stuck. And when you discover your why, you’re also opening yourself up to discovering what it is you need most.
Journal for Clarity
Journaling is a favorite way to work through my emotions and challenges, and figure out what I want. Writing connects us directly to our thoughts, and inner knowing. Writing by hand helps us slow down our thoughts. Which also gives us more time for observations, and helps to create a calmer environment, reducing stress and frustration.
What you write isn’t always going to make sense. The important thing is to write without judgement. I set a timer and aim for 10 minutes to start. Lean into your emotions. Acknowledging your feelings in detail helps you work through them. Journaling will also improve your overall mood.
Make this a part of your daily routine to gain much needed clarity about what you want, as well as help keep your memory sharp, too. Journal prompts can be found here.
Do 3 Things Every Day.
Getting unstuck and feeling like yourself again requires action. Action that gets you out of your comfort zone, too.
To start, create a master “to do” list. I make a new list weekly to keep it cleaner. My list includes fun activities and outings that add joy as well as errands and chores.
Once you have a list, chose 3 things that you want or need to do. There will be days when you don’t get much done, and others that are more productive. Be kind to yourself, and accept the up and downs as a natural part of this process. Include 1 thing you enjoy each day, too.
As a big enthusiast for place attachment, also known as loving where you live, I like to include exploring a new place every week or two.
In order to get out of this overwhelm and embrace this new chapter, it’s crucial to keep moving forward, proactively. As an accountability partner and coach, I’m asking:
What steps will you take to get started?
And what 3 things will you do tomorrow?
Ask a friend who can motivate you to try new things and get out of your comfort zone to be your accountability partner. Or if you need support, I’m a coach, encourager and excellent accountability partner. Click here for more information.