Combat Empty Nest Syndrome Before it Happens

Waving your kids off to college is undoubtedly a bittersweet moment. You’re proud that your children are on their way to adulthood. Nevertheless, you’re saddened by the fact that they’ll soon be off in a dorm room with strangers rather than home in their beds.

Even though the moment isn’t here yet and you’re trying to soak up every second available with your children, it’s important to plan for what is to come rather than simply ignoring it. Your kids will be in college soon. Therefore, now is the time to develop a plan to help you cope with the sadness of the separation.

Try these techniques to help you prepare yourself for an empty nest:

1. Look forward to enjoying your new found freedom. While your kids are enjoying their freedom away at college, you too can rejoice in your newfound freedom away from the kids and their limiting schedules.

  • You’ll be able to host dinner parties on weeknights, lounge around with your spouse without sharing the TV, take vacations during the school year, join clubs or become more active in your church community.
  • This is the time to rediscover your interests. For so long, you’ve put your wants on the backburner. But now, you can fully explore your interests and find a hobby that helps you feel needed, appreciated, and offers gratification.

2. Reconnect with your spouse. After raising the children for so many years, living alone with your spouse is something that may feel new to you again. Now is the moment to feel like newlyweds! Reconnect with one another on a deeper level than you have in the last twenty years or so.

  • Every night is date night! Make something special for dinner a few times each week and then go out on the town on the weekends.
  • Take the time to enjoy this milestone in your relationship. You’ve raised wonderful children together; you’ve succeeded as parents and have held a successful marriage. You’re living the American dream – have a toast to your success!

3. Plan a home improvement project. Properly planning a home improvement project takes time. Therefore, use the few months ahead while the kids are still at home to redo their bedroom once they’re off in college.

  • Turning their bedroom into a gym may be too much of a change. So, take baby steps. Turn their bedroom into a guest bedroom. By doing so, you can comfortably accommodate both your adult children and guests.
  • Add a home office area to the bedroom so your kids can have a place to study when they come home on breaks. In addition, a simple armchair for reading, fresh paint, new linens and accessories will make for a hotel-like retreat that guests can appreciate.
  • Generally, most teens won’t feel as if they’re being slighted when their childhood bedroom is given a makeover. If anything, they’ll feel better knowing that their parents are just as excited about the change.

In addition to all of the tips outlined above, plan ways to connect with your children while they’re in college. Plan to send care packages, have weekly video chats, monthly visits, and holidays together. However, refrain from saying: “Call us every night” as this will likely cause your child to feel guilty when unable to call.

It’s vital to remember that this is uncharted territory for everyone involved; it’s certainly a mixed bag of emotions. All you can do is to try your best to look at the bright side and all of the benefits involved for your youngster. You aren’t losing a child; you’re gaining a college graduate!

Beating the Odds: How to Have a Happy and Healthy Marriage

Happy MarriageHaving a happy and healthy marriage is not as hard as it may seem. It actually builds a strong and healthy family as well. It takes work to help it grow but it is worth it!

Yes, maybe the statistics aren’t that good when you look at them but this means to just take precautions and act in targeted ways to ensure you get it right the first time. Sticktuitiveness from both parties and communication are key. Making a decision to not walk away is very important – quitting is not an option – feeling like you want to at times is normal.

Here are my tips:

  • Deal with everything lovingly: in the best relationships – conflict does arise.
  • The goal is not to avoid conflicts at all costs, but to develop ways to deal with them in a healthy way.
  • You don’t always have to be right or have the last word.
  • Listen to what your partner is saying even if it isn’t what you want to hear.
  • Don’t blame each other, it doesn’t matter who is at fault.
  • Be open and honest about your thoughts and feelings.
  • Making Decisions: a marriage is full of decisions small and large. Choosing a place to live, a budget and so much more. All decisions require good communication skills on both parts.
  • It takes two to make a decision.
  • Understand why your partner wants to make a certain decision.
  • Don’t react harshly. Take your time deciding.
  • Look for outside support from friends and family, if needed.

Remember:

People are always changing and growing. You will need to stay in a open and understanding point of view in order to embrace changes that you do not prefer. Communicate about the changes. Accept that plans can change at times. Don’t hold a person back because you are afraid or uncomfortable with change. Stay positive. Discuss any feeling you may have with your loved one. Problems arise but they do not mean that you have to question your relationship because of them.

Most importantly SHOW LOVE. Find out what makes your spouse feel loved. Sometimes it is little or big gifts, sometimes it is a touch or a non-sexual caress for no reason at all, sometimes it is simply being near, sometimes it is words of affirmation, sometimes it is helping with chores, the list goes on. Really practice and you will be glad you did! No kidding – you will be so glad you did!

Free Yourself from Anxiety

Don’t let anxiety and worry take over your life – it can make you sick and can ruin your life! You have the choice to allow it to or not. There are ways to help yourself overcome this obstacle.

  1. Figure out what is stressing you. Is it something you can change? What is the true source?
  2. Be careful not to put blame on a secondary source when in reality the primary source is causing the stress. (in other words: don’t quit your marriage just because you haven’t dealt with something else that is truly bothering you – this will take some soul searching)
  3. Change: there are plenty of areas you can change in your life without throwing away a lot! Diet, exercise, attitude, volunteer, shop, study a new language and more.
  4. Spend some time on you!

Here are some tips and techniques to help you manage your anxiety:

  • Know your anxieties
  • Write them down
  • Breath
  • Visualize a better situation
  • Positively Affirm yourself: “I am…(insert positive statement that applies)”
  • Diet and exercise: take good care of yourself – it will really take care of you in return (and your worries!)
  • Seek support – if you need help – look for it – talk to someone – look online or in the phone book. Help is only a call away!

Learn by example. Watch and listen to others that have gone through hardships. Read books – you will read about someone that is worse off then you and who made it through. There are many success stories and free programs that will help you realize your strengths and stay away from anxiety.

Anxieties are a part of life but they don’t need to be the foundation of yours. You are strong and smart and you have come a long way – give yourself some credit – you deserve it!

Manage stress well and take the reins – they are yours to take – no one else will do it for you. Good luck – you are on the road to health and wellness and you will be so happy for all the work you do for yourself.