Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Don't let loneliness make you feel sad

All parents are happy to see their children grow up and be independent. But, ironically, the fact that the kids are confident enough to venture out into the world on their own triggers sadness.

We are talking of "empty nest syndrome", which is not a disease but a feeling of loneliness, when the only child or the last of the children, leaves home for higher studies or on work. If we are not conscious of the symptoms, they can gnaw at our well-being.

(Even if you are not a parent, whose child has left home, there could be occasions when you feel lonely. So, you can carry on reading the post.)

When unchecked, some people turn cynical, sarcastic, and critical of anything and everything around them. Some others become short tempered and snap at every other person. In extreme cases, people could even turn to substance abuse like alcoholism.

What we should do

  • Accept the fact that the child had to relocate, and the consequent loneliness is an inevitability. 
  • There is nothing to feel sad about; instead we should find companionship. 
  • Speak on the phone to people who you are comfortable with, connect with such people on social media, emails etc.
  • Do some physical activity. Walk, run, exercises are good options. 
  • If you like cooking, get into the kitchen. 
  • Clean the house. 
  • Don’t put all clothes in the washing machine, wash some manually. 
  • Do some craft work, or paint. 
  • Do anything that involves the movement of your limbs.
  • Give your mind some work. Solve puzzles, read, write. Do something creative.
  • Do some good to people. No need to look around for opportunities; there are so many occasions in our daily routine, when someone needs some assistance. Be conscious of such opportunities, and reach out to them.

What we did

Our turn to face loneliness came when our son left home for another city for his post-graduation. Needless to say, the emptiness in our house is very palpable. Not just one person is not around, there is silence since we no longer hear the music my son plays on his mobile. The chit-chats, and the playful pranks are missing. And he isn’t with us now, for us to take care of.

One immediate thing, my wife and I did straightway was to ensure that we both had our weekly off day from work on the same day. (I have my off on Sunday and she had it on Wednesday.) She spoke to her boss, and got it moved to Sunday. 

We thought it was better for both to take off on a weekend rather than on Wednesday, because that will give us an opportunity to catch up with our friends, or attend some social functions, which we generally used to miss. So, now we have been meeting up with friends, watching some movies etc. 

Since we both are employed full time, we are occupied most of the waking hours. When we retire, we will have to seriously look around for something to be occupied with.

What are you doing?

  • Have you faced empty nest syndrome? 
  • Or do you know people who have facing this condition?
  • If you have been affected, how are you overcoming it?


20 comments:

  1. The empty nest has been something we've had to come to terms with too Pradeep - both our children moved to the city to study at university and then got jobs there, married and set up their homes. I miss them, but I also enjoy the freedom and the flexibility of not having so many people to cater to. The empty nest can be a great time of life - it's definitely all about your attitude and looking for the positives. And now we have Skype and free phone calls - so much easier than it was for our parents.

    Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I've shared this on my SM
    Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Leanne. Yes empty nest has its positives too. It's the way one looks at it, that matters.
      Thanks for sharing the post in your social network.

      Delete
  2. I had very different feelings while reading ur post. I am mom to a 3 year old boy and 10 month old gal. Whenever I crib to my sister about having no time for myself, she tells me I should cherish these times as when the kids will be on their own, I will crave to have this time back. When I read ur post, I understood she is so correct.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Shaivi, fully agree with you.
      In some ways, it might be hard times when kids are around, but the time we spend with them are so precious. They will simply not come back. Cherish every moment of it, Shaivi.
      Thanks a lot for dropping by and for your comments.

      Delete
  3. Our children are grown and have flown the nest, but we are lucky in that they all live within 10 miles of us, so we get to see them and the the grandchildren often. We have come to love the calm and freedom of an empty nest, but sure appreciate when they come to visit. I read your post on #MLSTL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Christie,
      Glad that the children are still around. The sunset years, too have their charm and advantages.
      Thanks a lot for dropping by.
      - Pradeep

      Delete
  4. Empty nest wasn't a problem for me. I think since it was husbands youngest who was the last to leave it bothered him more. We won't even have a pet because we want our time for the things we want.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, agree with you, Victoria. Thanks for dropping by.

      Delete
  5. Excellent topic for discussion. When our kids left home, we had some initial heavy heart feeling in our mind. I and my wife were very good close friends. We had similar interests in many fields. Carnatic music, movies, movie songs, watching TV, travel, dining in fine restaurants, to name a few. We both were extreme extroverts. We used talk on various subjects during all our waking hours. So kids leaving home did not affect us that much.

    We also used to fondly recall many times many incidents that happened in our lives and felt good. One of that incident was how I met her for the first time. I even wrote a blog post about it. I don’t think you had a chance to read that. I can send you that link if you are interested.

    All good things must come to an end. Two years ago, my wife passed away in a freak accident. Since then I am alone at home. My kids call me every day and talk to me, thanks to cell phones and whatsapp.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SG, I am sorry the post evoked memories of a sad event. Even though kids are away, thanks to new technologies like video chat, one might not feel the separation.

      Delete
  6. As long as he doesn't move home later...

    ReplyDelete
  7. I guess I'm the odd ball in that I never suffered from empty nest syndrome. I was happy to see my kids take off and their own and FLY away. They all grew into wonderful, productive adults and parents.

    #MLSTL visitor (shared on SM)

    ReplyDelete
  8. This happens mostly to over-protective patents who want to monitor every action of their children forever. For other practical-minded parents this is not much of an issue, especially when they consider what they did to their own parents...

    Destination OnfiInfi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's good perspective, Rajesh. After a point, it is good to leave children be on their own.

      Delete
  9. Yes keeping busy and finding something to be passionate about helps. It is particularly important to develop an interest in some activity if you are the child's primary caregiver or life will seem unbearably empty when they leave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, important to have some activity to fall back on when we retire and are no longer needed in our offices! Thanks, Kanika.

      Delete
  10. I feel sad even thinking about my daughter leaving home, and she is only 2! Maybe I will not mind so much by the time it actually comes though, maybe I will be ready. I think it must be a bittersweet moment, when your children leave home and are able to stand on their own feet. On the one hand, it is a natural and right thing to happen - it is what the parents have been preparing them for their whole lives. Yet on the other hand, it is the end of an era, an era in which the parents have invested themselves (usually) massively into the wellbeing of their children while they have been dependent on them, and I suppose there is a feeling of loss when that is no longer required. I think that is a good reason to always keep other things in your life too and to not allow parenting/family to be your everything. You gave a good list of suggestions to help cope with the transition in roles and I particularly like that you and your wife have arranged to now take your days off work together so you can hopefully offset your loneliness somewhat.
    Hannah from www.womanontheway.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Hannah, for this detailed comment, even this not a subject that directly affects you. When children grow up and leave, one just has to look at it positively, that it is a new stage in their as well as our lives.

      Delete