This is our column, “Better life solutions: ask the life coach” where we answer your questions on career, relationships, personal growth, and more, and we provide valuable insights and guidance for achieving your goals and creating the life you truly desire.
Question: Dear coach, I’m feeling really anxious and worried about my daughter leaving for studies abroad. I know it’s a great opportunity for her, but I can’t help feeling overwhelmed about how I’ll deal with my empty nest. I’m afraid I’ll be lonely and won’t know what to do with myself. I’m going to miss my daughter terribly, and I’m not sure how I’m going to cope without her around. I want to support her dreams, but I can’t help my stress and anxiety.
Coach’s Insights & Guidance: I completely understand your feelings and validate your concerns; it is natural to feel anxious and overwhelmed when a child leaves home, and it is okay to feel that way. But at the same time it’s important to acknowledge and process these emotions so you can move forward in a healthy way. Many parents go through similar emotions when their children leave home for studies.
A child is a significant part of a mother’s daily life for many years, and her child’s departure for studies abroad represents a significant change in her routine and daily interactions. The mother may have been involved in her child’s life in various ways, such as helping with schoolwork, attending extracurricular activities, or simply spending time together, and now that her child is leaving, the mother may feel a sense being alone.
Let me share a similar story of Sara (imaginary name) and her daughter Vinnie (imaginary name) with you. This mother and daughter shared a unique bond with each other and were very close, but Sara was scared that their bond would become weaker when her daughter left to study in another country. However, she trusted her daughter and allowed her to go. At first, Sara was worried about Vinnie’s life in a new place, but over time, she realized that Vinnie’s trip was helpful for her. Even though they were far apart, their relationship remained strong, and Sara was proud of her daughter’s accomplishments. Seeing Vinnie do so well encouraged Sara to try new things and enjoy her own interests. During that phase, Sara learned to let go, trust her daughter, and embrace the opportunities of an empty nest. She realized that her daughter’s journey was not just about Vinnie, but also about her own growth as a mother. Today Sara and Vinnie both have become strong and independent and they are the big supporters of each other.
So the very first step is to get the clarity of the situation by asking yourself:
- What are my daughter’s reasons for studying abroad?
- Do I understand why this is important to her?
- How can this experience help her grow and develop as a person?
Answering these questions will shift your thinking paradigm, and it will give you the third person view of the situation. it will help you focus on the positive aspects of your daughter’s journey. This could be an opportunity for your daughter to gain new experiences, make new friends, and become more independent. It can also be an opportunity for you to rediscover yourself and explore new things. So stay positive and optimistic about the future.
While your daughter may be far away, there are still many ways to stay connected with her. Set up regular video chats or phone calls, send care packages or letters, and stay up-to-date on what she’s doing through social media or email. This can help you feel more connected and involved in her life, even from a distance.
It’s important to prioritize your own well-being during this time of transition. Reconnect with who you are. Your attention was always on your child since they were born, so now is the right time to turn that attention back to yourself, and take good care of you: emotionally, physically and spiritually. Engage yourself in activities that you enjoy, such as exercising, reading, writing or spending time with friends. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and eating well, and don’t forget to seek support from a trusted person if you’re struggling to cope. A counselor or a life coach can help you navigate the transition and provide tools for managing anxiety and stress.
Think about this period in a way as if you have got an opportunity to explore new interests, resume your neglected hobbies, explore new places or pursue long-standing goals. Consider taking a class, joining a club or group, or volunteering in your community. This can help you find a sense of purpose and fulfillment outside of your role as a parent.
It’s okay to ask for help when you feel overwhelmed. You can talk to friends, family, or a professional counselor for support. They can listen to you, give you advice, and help you handle the changes that come with an empty nest. Don’t forget that you have people who care about you and want to help you during this time.
While it may be difficult to let go of the familiar routines and relationships that were developed over time, it’s important to understand that adjusting to a new routine can take time and may involve a range of emotions. It’s okay to take things one day at a time and give yourself permission to feel whatever emotions come up.
Finally, it can be helpful to seek support from friends, family members, or a coach during times of significant change. They can provide a listening ear, offer guidance and perspective, and help you navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with empty nest.
So, from today start focusing on your own interests and take up new hobbies, spend more time on self-care and pursue your goals, embrace the opportunities that this phase has brought into your life. Stay in touch with your daughter and share your new lives with each other; this would make the transition period smooth, productive and fulfilling.
“Parenting is a life time job and does not stop when a child grows up.” – Jake Slope
Always remember, parenting never end, it’s a lifetime job! Hope this would have answered your question and helped you to feel free from your stress and anxiety. Wishing you the best!
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Disclaimer: Please note that the advice and guidance provided in this column are based on the coach’s professional expertise and experience, but are not intended to replace or substitute for professional counseling, therapy, or medical advice. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate professional help if needed. Specific results or outcomes are not guaranteed as each individual’s circumstances and experiences are unique.