Empty Nesting, What’s Next?

You’ve raised your children, watched them grow, and helped them navigate life’s challenges. Now, they’ve flown the coop, leaving you with an empty nest. While this can be a bittersweet moment, it’s also an opportunity for you to embrace the next chapter of your life.

As a parent, it can be tough to watch your children grow up and move out of the family home. After years of raising them, the sudden change can leave you feeling lost and uncertain about what to do next.

Fear not! Keep in mind that all change is a process. There are plenty of unique and fun ways to cope with empty nesting. Here are a few of our favorites:

Rediscover your inner child

Remember all those hobbies you used to enjoy before you had kids? Well, now is the perfect time to rediscover them. Whether it’s painting, playing video games, or doing a puzzle, let your inner child come out to play.

Make Travel Plans

With no kids to worry about, you’re free to go wherever you want. Take a trip to a new city, visit family or friends you haven’t seen in a while, or go on a solo adventure. The world is your oyster.

Learn a new skill

Always wanted to learn how to play the guitar or speak a new language? Now is the time to do it. Sign up for a class or find a tutor, and let your brain soak up some new knowledge.


Giving back to your community can be a fulfilling way to spend your time. Consider volunteering at a local nonprofit organization, food bank, or animal shelter. Not only will you be making a difference in the lives of others, but you’ll also be connecting with like-minded people who share your values.

Get active

Exercise is a great way to boost your mood and improve your overall health. Join a gym, take up yoga, or start going for daily walks. Your body (and mind) will thank you.

Empty Nesting, What's Next?

Foster a pet

Pets can bring joy and companionship into your life, especially during this time of transition. Consider adopting a furry friend from your local animal shelter or rescue organization. Studies have shown that pets can lower stress levels and increase feelings of happiness and well-being.

Start a new hobby

Always wanted to try gardening, knitting, or woodworking? Now is the time to dive in. Not only will you learn something new, but you’ll also have a tangible result of your efforts to be proud of.

Take a Class

Now that you have some extra time on your hands, why not learn something new? Consider taking a class at your local community college or adult education center. Whether it’s learning a new language, honing your cooking skills, or mastering a new hobby, taking a class can be a fun way to challenge yourself and meet new people.

Join a Club or Group

Joining a club or group can be a great way to meet new people who share your interests. Whether it’s a book club, a hiking group, or a wine tasting club, there are plenty of options to choose from. You may even find a new hobby or passion that you never knew you had!

Start a Side Hustle

If you’ve always dreamed of starting your own business, now might be the time to give it a try. Consider starting a side hustle, such as selling handmade crafts on Etsy or starting a blog. Not only can it be a fun creative outlet, it will give you a little extra cash for traveling or fueling your other hobbies.

Whatever you decide, remember to go easy on yourself and to seek out moments of joy. Emptying nesting is a process and you likely won’t adjust over night. By trying new things, though, you will certainly help yourself take your mind off it and to develop new interests and routines.

Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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