Strategies for Easing Stress & Embracing Change

The transition to an EMPTY NEST can be a time of mixed emotions, and worry is often at the forefront. Concerns about your children’s well-being, your own future, and the changes in daily routines can create significant stress. However, it’s possible to manage this worry and find a new sense of balance and purpose. It requires a different lens to get used to this new normal.


Raising awareness around ‘empty nesting’ is the first step. While the phrase has a somewhat negative connotation, ‘empty nesting’ can be a rich time of self-discovery and enhancing relationships. It’s normal to feel anxious or concerned during this significant life change. Feeling worried is a natural response. You can experience these emotions without judgment. Express your feelings and discuss your worries with a trusted friend, partner, or therapist. Sometimes, simply voicing your concerns can provide relief because it externalizes the emotions. Scripting your concerns can also help you process and understand them better. It can also serve as a way to track your emotional progress.


Maintaining a healthy relationship with your children can alleviate much of the worry associated with an empty nest. You now have what is termed an ‘peer relationship’ with your adult children. Establish a routine for regular check-ins through phone calls, texts, or video chats. Respect their independence, but ensure they know you’re always there for support. Plan visits that work for both you and your children. Ensure these visits are balanced and do not interfere with their new routines. Encourage your children to make their own decisions and solve problems independently. Trust in their ability to manage their lives while offering guidance when needed.


Taking care of your own physical and mental health is crucial in managing worry. Prioritize self-care to build resilience against stress. Regular exercise can boost your mood and reduce anxiety. Find a fitness routine that you enjoy, such as yoga, walking, or swimming. Eating nutritious meals can improve your overall well-being. Consider experimenting with new healthy recipes. Practice mindfulness, meditation, or deep-breathing exercises to calm your mind. These techniques can help you stay present and reduce anxiety.

Transitioning to an empty nest is a significant life change


The empty nest phase provides an opportunity to rediscover interests and passions that may have been set aside while raising. Revisit activities that you once enjoyed, such as painting, gardening, or reading. Take up a new hobby or skill that you’ve always wanted to try. This could be anything from learning a musical instrument to cooking classes. Giving back to the community can be incredibly fulfilling and provide a sense of purpose.


Reconnecting with your partner to improve intimacy

With your children out of the house, you can focus more on your relationship with your partner. This can be a time of rediscovery and deepening your bond. Share your thoughts and feelings with your partner. Honest communication is key to understanding each other’s needs during this transition. Plan activities that you both enjoy, such as weekend getaways, date nights, or even simple daily routines like cooking dinner together. Discover new hobbies or interests that you can enjoy as a couple. Whether it’s hiking, dancing, or traveling, finding common ground can enhance your relationship.

Seek Professional Help

If worry becomes overwhelming and starts to impact your daily life, seeking professional is often very beneficial. Therapists can provide a different point of view and strategies to manage anxiety and stress because they aren’t emotionally connected to the situation. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy can be particularly effective in managing anxiety and worry by challenging and replacing unhelpful thoughts in order to create a new perspective.
Joining a support group for empty nesters can provide a sense of community and shared experiences. Hearing others’ stories and coping strategies can be reassuring. Knowing you are not alone at this point in your life can also be very reassuring.

Create a Vision for Your Future

Planning for the future can help shift your focus from worry to excitement about new possibilities. Create a positive and inspiring vision. Use this period to set personal goals. These could be related to career advancement, fitness, learning new skills, or even starting a new business. If you’ve always dreamed of traveling, now may be the perfect time. Plan trips to new places, whether they are far-off destinations or local spots you’ve never explored. Take courses, attend workshops, or join clubs that align with your interests. This can be a great way to meet new people and expand your horizons.

Embrace this new normal with optimism & resilience to discover the opportunities it offers for personal growth & renewed fulfillment.

Authored by,

Lisa Schiro MS LCPC
Founder & CEO of K-Counseling & Anxiety Treatment LLC
Boise, Idaho