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Global Guide to Divorce

Jack Jack the Cat

Tips for life

Grief May Surprise You After Divorce Or A Break Up

One may think they are over their relationship or got past divorce and later feel the loss. Grief can sneak up on you and catch you by surprise. It is like swimming in calm waters and a big wave comes up and slaps you hard. It takes time to mourn a marriage or love interest. One day you are fine and the next in tears. It can be lonely at first.  Grief comes in stages and one can move back and forth between them.

Denial

This is avoiding the situation. Pretending that things are not happening. Not dealing with reality, such as thinking if you do not hire an attorney, then the divorce will not happen. Or he/she will come to their senses and stay with you. It is delusional thinking. Denial may be manifested as carrying on as usual with the same routines as if nothing is happening.

Anger

This is when a person realizes denial is not stopping the divorce or a break up. The other person is firm, “It is over.” They have collected any personal belongings at your place and have dropped off yours.  In a divorce situation, it is no longer possible to deny the divorce is happening.   Papers are served. The other party’s attorney has contacted you or perhaps a court date has been set. One is furious that their life is in such an upheaval. Anger can have one reacting instead of responding. Reacting is impulsive and not thinking with a clear head.

Anger can lead to revenge – such as using the children as weapons. Too often in the news, a parent kills the children in a divorce situation to get back at the other one. It can be trashing a spouse’s reputation on social media.

Bargaining

It is hoping that if you change your behavior then the divorce or break up will be stopped. One may try and make a deal with the other person.  “I can change.  I won’t do (whatever annoyed them) anymore.” Or with a marriage, “I will agree to a divorce if we go to a weekend retreat to try and patch up our relationship.”

Being in the bargaining stage is acknowledging the situation which is not done in the denial stage. It is moving along in the grief process. It is wishing for a miracle to happen.

Depression

Depression in grief is not the same as the chronic clinical one. Rather, it is numbness. Feeling as if stumbling around in slow motion. There may be brain fog or lethargy. The body is worn out from having the strong surge of emotions from earlier in the divorce process. These ranged from shock, panic to despair. It can be a time to take a pause and nurture yourself. The stress hormones, such as cortisol, have flooded one’s body. This quieter time can be a way to chill out and regroup.

Acceptance

This last stage might come during the proceedings or a bit later. One has come to terms with what happened – no longer being married. When it is a break up, finally realizing that person is no longer in your life.  One acknowledges the loss and begins to look ahead to the future. A new chapter is opening in life which can include changing careers or relocation. Taking up new challenges and hobbies. It is a time of exploration – whether it is a self-assessment or travel to enticing destinations. Time to start a new chapter in your life. Many of us change careers.

This is based on my article published in the Divorce Magazine out of Toronto.

Why Playfulness Is Important

Playfulness is a way to reduce stress and get through the minutia and tasks required during  stressful times, such as divorce. Besides helping life to be more bearable when juggling proceedings, children and a job, a sense of playfulness lowers anxiety. Being in a calmer state is beneficial for making those crucial decisions regarding splitting assets and so forth.

There are various studies on the benefits of playfulness in getting through adversity (such as divorce) and contributing to longevity. Dr Proyer from the University of Zurich has done much research on adult playfulness and states these individuals cope better with stress and being able to adapt to situations. One study found that playfulness increased one’s well-being and resilience. When I was a nurse on a busy trauma unit, most of us were burned out with patients hovering between life and death. The two playful nurses who wadded up paper to bat around like a ball, were not. In-between patient codes and procedures, these fellows made up games and were the most relaxed nurses on the unit.

Professor Barret at University of Illinois also found that playful folks are better able to handle stress. These individuals perceived their stress levels to be lower, than the less playful subjects in the study. When people are playful, they have better strategies to deal with stress according to her research. Mistakes are more likely to be viewed as learning opportunities rather than as blunders.

Consider the advantages to having a playful outlook during divorce. One is better able to utilize coping strategies during this stressful time and less likely to fall apart. A person can take a pause from proceedings and be engrossed in pleasurable activities. Playing lets out some steam and enables one to see the humorous side of life. Children benefit by being around laughter and spontaneity instead of glum parents.

Playfulness improves cognitive, emotional and social functioning as was reported In the American Journal of Play, Summer 2011 edition. Good mental (cognitive) functioning is necessary when going through finances and deciding whether to sell the marital home or buy out one’s spouse during divorce. Other studies found that playful folks draw people to them. They are open, fun to be around, engaging and positive. Being able to connect with others and have a network of support enables one to move through the craziness of divorce. Being bitter and negative post-divorce can push people away.

An example of the longevity benefits of playfulness are the elderly Chinese in Beijing. These senior citizens were dancing to the music from their boom boxes, doing Tai Chi, playing board games, plus more. They laughed, indulged in badminton and chatted. They clearly enjoyed their time together and were extremely active physically and mentally. There were no wheelchairs or walkers in that group. This contrasts to a divorced woman I knew in the States, who was anything but playful and died of a heart attack.

I was at Disneyland with my sons when I decided to initiate divorce. I called family and friends between rides on Snow White, Mr. Toad’s Wild Adventure and Indiana Jones. I was forced to be playful in this atmosphere and that started my divorce in a much more relaxed way. Figuring out finances was less stressful when standing in line for The Haunted Mansion. My sons were relieved that divorce was about to happen. Disneyland set the tone for keeping playfulness throughout my divorce.

There are ways to be more light-hearted during proceedings. Plan at least one weekly get-together with pals to vent or catch up on news. Having support helps to lighten your burden. Spend time in nature which is calming, even if in a small leafy city square. My sons and I watched comedies and laughed a lot. Go to a fair and act like a kid. Get out of town to spend a day walking along the beach and enjoying the amusements on the boardwalk. My mother took my sons and I on a river cruise during divorce, which was approved by both of our attorneys. That took our minds off the divorce and into the play mode. Think of how to inject some fun into your agenda on a regular basis, and divorce will go a bit smoother.

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   www.divorceforce.com/

Tips For Learning The Skill Of Small Talk -The Way To Connect With Others

Life’s  upheavals  bring change which may necessitate  finding a new set of friends.  One can have just gotten through a divorce or relocated for a job. Small talk is the way to establishing connections with others.  You may feel like a nine-year old kid again on the first day at a new school.

It can be challenging to make small talk. Individuals have avoided parties and gatherings because the thought of engaging in this is scary. Small talk is an important skill – whether on the social scene or in networking. It enables one to make crucial contacts in their field. Small talk is necessary to establish a relationship which can result in a sale or a regular client.

Small talk starts out on the surface. You are both fishing around initially to discover a common link – an interest or activity. It might be the stage of life you are currently in – getting a divorce, or being parents to a toddler, etc. When the common link is found, then a portal opens to a deeper place of communication. You took the plunge and are now having a fulfilling conversation.

There are ways to make small talk less painful and more spontaneous. Attend an event. You have an instant topic of conversation – the concert, rugby match, school play or whatever it is. A co-worker who loathes small talk joined several MeetUp.com groups. The initial conversations are focused on the specific purpose of the group (hiking, books, travel). She can handle talking about the subject and picking up tips from the other members.

At a party, a good ice breaker is to ask how a person knows the hosts. You may find out that you both have things in common. Other sure topics to get things started, is to inquire about pets/children/grandchildren/holidays.

I comment on a person’s unique jewellery or article of clothing. This often leads to “I bought it in India” and we go on from there. Even something as banal as the weather can start an involved conversation on sports. I talk about how weather impacts my running and they may talk about skiing.

An acquaintance feels small talk can be superficial. She does not like it when strangers at a gathering, ask her questions. She feels this is an invasion of her privacy. People may ask questions to loosen your tongue. These individuals are merely trying learn a little bit about Rose. If she would volunteer information first, then it would not seem like an interrogation. Rose could turn the table around and ask them questions, thus not feeling on the spot. People have different levels of what they consider is private. An introvert like Rose, finds it more challenging to open up about their life.

In this digital world, small talk seems to have disappeared. Texting gets right to the point, by-passing the nuances which are picked up when being face-to-face. When in person, if one skips small talk and communicates in the digital style, it would be perceived as too abrupt.

Small talk takes practice, like other things in life. One does not pick up a violin and play it like a virtuoso on the first try. Nor be proficient at getting goals when learning football. Start in little increments. Talk to a person standing in the queue at the grocers. Chat with a sales clerk. Work up to more challenging encounters, such as at a wedding reception or Bar Mitzva celebration. I have made close, life-long friends by starting with small talk.

I am also a dating consultant and release weekly podcasts.     datingcoach.coach

Why Playfulness Is Important

Playfulness is a way to reduce stress and get through the minutia and tasks required during  stressful times such as divorce. Besides helping life to be more bearable when juggling proceedings, children and a job, a sense of playfulness lowers anxiety. Being in a calmer state is beneficial for making those crucial decisions regarding splitting assets and so forth.

There are various studies on the benefits of playfulness in getting through adversity (such as divorce) and contributing to longevity. Dr Proyer from the University of Zurich has done much research on adult playfulness and states these individuals cope better with stress and being able to adapt to situations. One study found that playfulness increased one’s well-being and resilience. When I was a nurse on a busy trauma unit, most of us were burned out with patients hovering between life and death. The two playful nurses who wadded up paper to bat around like a ball, were not. In-between patient codes and procedures, these fellows made up games and were the most relaxed nurses on the unit.

Professor Barret at University of Illinois also found that playful folks are better able to handle stress. These individuals perceived their stress levels to be lower, than the less playful subjects in the study. When people are playful, they have better strategies to deal with stress according to her research. Mistakes are more likely to be viewed as learning opportunities rather than as blunders.

Consider the advantages to having a playful outlook during divorce. One is better able to utilize coping strategies during this stressful time and less likely to fall apart. A person can take a pause from proceedings and be engrossed in pleasurable activities. Playing lets out some steam and enables one to see the humorous side of life. Children benefit by being around laughter and spontaneity instead of glum parents.

Playfulness improves cognitive, emotional and social functioning as was reported In the American Journal of Play, Summer 2011 edition. Good mental (cognitive) functioning is necessary when going through finances and deciding whether to sell the marital home or buy out one’s spouse during divorce. Other studies found that playful folks draw people to them. They are open, fun to be around, engaging and positive. Being able to connect with others and have a network of support enables one to move through the craziness of divorce. Being bitter and negative post-divorce can push people away.

An example of the longevity benefits of playfulness are the elderly Chinese in Beijing. These senior citizens were dancing to the music from their boom boxes, doing Tai Chi, playing board games, plus more. They laughed, indulged in badminton and chatted. They clearly enjoyed their time together and were extremely active physically and mentally. There were no wheelchairs or walkers in that group. This contrasts to a divorced woman I knew in the States, who was anything but playful and died of a heart attack.

I was at Disneyland with my sons when I decided to initiate divorce. I called family and friends between rides on Snow White, Mr. Toad’s Wild Adventure and Indiana Jones. I was forced to be playful in this atmosphere and that started my divorce in a much more relaxed way. Figuring out finances was less stressful when standing in line for The Haunted Mansion. My sons were relieved that divorce was about to happen. Disneyland set the tone for keeping playfulness throughout my divorce.

There are ways to be more light-hearted during proceedings. Plan at least one weekly get-together with pals to vent or catch up on news. Having support helps to lighten your burden. Spend time in nature which is calming, even if in a small leafy city square. My sons and I watched comedies and laughed a lot. Go to a fair and act like a kid. Get out of town to spend a day walking along the beach and enjoying the amusements on the boardwalk. My mother took my sons and I on a river cruise during divorce, which was approved by both of our attorneys. That took our minds off the divorce and into the play mode. Think of how to inject some fun into your agenda on a regular basis, and divorce will go a bit smoother.

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   https://www.divorceforce.com/   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)

Dealing with Past Regrets

It is easy to fall into the trap of living in regrets. One may regret the distribution of assets in divorce. Another cannot seem to get through a week without saying, “If only I had…” My two sons are pragmatic, and calmly state, “Well that’s in the past – get over it!” when I rue that I did not buy a lifetime pass to United’s Red Carpet Lounge. I did not realize that it was a one-time opportunity, and I had put it off. When asking people about any regrets, the overwhelming answer was what that they regret what they did not do, rather than what they did. It was actions or possibilities not taken, not what they did or had said. Lucille Ball of “I Love Lucy” stated, “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things that I haven’t done.”

I used to be a trauma nurse in a busy surgical intensive care unit. Some patients who felt death was knocking on the door were willing to talk about their past. All were calm and ready to go, but had a common theme about their lives. The universal comment was letting opportunities pass them by or being too afraid to take chances. It was not about what they had done (with the exception of working too many hours and missing out on family life), but instead what they hadn’t done. That regret shaped my attitude of spending as much time possible with my sons. A regret can be a wake-up call that something needs to be changed. It can be a positive stimulus to make an adjustment in your life, such as embarking on a new career path that holds more meaning and passion for you. If you are regretting some life choices, then let this propel you in a new direction. My mother’s only regrets on her deathbed were not getting to Provence, and procrastinating on taking a desired tour to Turkey. That regret pushed me into taking my sons to far flung places so I would not have her same disappointment down the road. I am not putting off travel, and instead am ticking off places from my Bucket List.  – See more at: www.divorcemag.com/blog/regrets-in-divorce-and-life#sthash.OxeBUzrp.dpuf

Get Rid of Guilt in Divorce and Life

We may live in guilt for what we did or did not do while still married. We might think we could have tried harder to salvage the marriage or feel guilt over not putting it out of its misery earlier. Let the feeling of guilt be a wakeup call that something needs to be changed and use it as an indicator to embark on another course of action. One cannot go back into the past like Dr Who, so being stuck in guilt is a blockade to having a fulfilling life now.

One young man is an example of this and feels guilty that he did not try harder and undergo marital counselling before calling it quits. Guilt is holding him back from committing to his new partner. On a positive note, guilt is pushing him into having a strong relationship with his former spouse as a co-parent. His two children are reaping the benefits of having two parents on the same team.

Sometimes guilt is dumped upon someone although it is their choice whether or not to accept it. Several women said their husbands married them mainly for their looks. After a baby or two, they gained weight and a few wrinkles. At first they felt guilty when spouses insinuated that they were breaking a deal (to look good). After their divorces, they are comfortable with their bodies and increased their self-esteem.

During my hypnotherapy training, our New Age instructor said that the Catholics got it right regarding guilt. They make mistakes (sins), report them (confess) and do reparations (say a Hail Mary or two). They wipe the slate clean and go on their way. He challenged us to come up with our own rituals to banish guilt. First acknowledge its presence and determine what it is telling us. Perhaps we are chronically snapping at the kids or have been ignoring elderly family members. Make amends. Apologize to the youngsters and explain that you are feeling overwhelmed. Then add some fun activities into your schedule with them. Visit or at least call relatives who may be feeling left out of your busy life.

Whatever is troubling you, face it, deal with it and move on. The secret is not to wallow in guilt but view it as a messenger to approach life or people in a different way. Someone may be punishing themselves over guilt when other people did not feel that they were mistreated at all. We can be hard on ourselves and our worst enemy. One friend felt guilty that she did not spend more time with her mother before her death from breast cancer. She was caught up in her wedding plans which her mother understood, and was fine with the situation. My friend was able to let go of this guilt by becoming a mostly stay-at-home mum, cherishing family togetherness.

If you have chronic guilt, consider discussing this with someone. When I am on a guilt trip, my friends set me straight and I readjust my outlook. Guilt keeps one partly living in the past, so apologize, make extra donations to charity, anything to release guilt and move on.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Short cuts during Holidays

IMG_1420The holiday season is sneaking up on us again along with endless to-do-lists and frenzied shopping. How to keep your sanity, good mood and stay ahead of the game? The secret is taking short cuts and doing tasks ahead of time. One may have court dates, mediation or collaborative sessions and feel too drained to join in the festivities. Pick the holiday celebrations that bring you the most joy and do not feel obligated to attend every one.

  • If you are usually the one hosting Christmas dinner or the family gathering, then it is time to have a frank discussion. Let others know in advance that you are no longer up to doing this with your divorce and offer some suggestions. The holiday dinner could rotate every year to a different family member’s house. Having it potluck makes it easier on the hosts.

One divorced mum decided that family holiday meals would be at a nice restaurant so no one was chained to the kitchen or on clean up duty.

  • Bundle tasks together to free up some time for relaxation. I write my Christmas cards and letters while enjoying a holiday movie on the telly with my sons. Have a wine party with pals while you each wrap some of your Christmas presents. You get a chore done while partying. Spend time with a godchild while you bake Christmas cookies.
  • Cheating is okay. Not every dish has to be made from scratch. Good Housekeeping magazine for example, has a meal or single product from a variety of stores which is blind tested and then judged. These tasters rate them on most like homemade or best flavours. Take the winner, dump the packaging, place it on your nice china, and wait for the compliments. I buy pre-cooked meat for some holiday meals and heat it up with my homemade herb marinade. My sons enjoy it. www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/coping-with-divorce-at-christmas/

Balancing Work and Family Life as a Single Parent

It is possible to keep one’s sanity and sense of humor, yet still be a single parent in the workforce. The trick is to be extra organized and do as much as possible when the kids are with the co-parent. It is challenging stepping back into a career when being a stay-at-home mom, or changing to full-time. These tips make life a bit easier.

  1. Work more during visitation. I went to my father’s every other weekend and my nurse mother worked at a hospital during that time. She also picked up extra shifts for the two weeks that I was on vacation with my father and at camp. Another woman worked 8-3 without a formal lunch break. She then went into the office for five hours every Saturday while the kids were at visitation. Since the office was closed, it was peaceful enabling her to get ahead with work. See if you can build flexibility into your job. A dad might work extra on the weekend that he is not with the kids.
  2. Make a huge quantity of lasagne or another dish, and freeze single portions (your work lunches) and family size ones. When you are tired – reheat with a prepared salad. Do a cooking marathon when the kids are at visitation. I buy organic, but yummy prepared meals to give to hungry fellows in a hurry. My sons like Trader Joe’s pot pies and their frozen meat which is quick to cook.
  3. Team up with other single parents to have potlucks or share some tasks. Three moms decided to rotate cooking evening meals, each doing one night a week. One cooks enough for the other two families and packs up the complete meals into containers. They are delivered to those houses nearby and for the next two evenings, she is off the hook for providing dinner. These three have been doing this arrangement for years and treasure those blissful cooking-free nights.
  4. Nurture yourself. If you are frazzled, then you are less able to give your full attention to the kids. Pop in for a pedicure or an occasional facial. Indulge in high end, but low cost organic plant based skin care, such as Boot’s Botanic line. My skin is smooth and I feel heavenly. Sitting on the couch reading a magazine with a cat on my lap is so relaxing. Do what rejuvenates you. Some divorced dads got back into sports and enjoy the camaraderie as well as increasing physical well-being.    Please read more …  divorcedmoms.com/articles/balancing-single-parenting-and-work-10-tips-for-the-overwhelmed

Anger Keeps You Attached to your Ex

Anger is another way to keep you attached to your ex after divorce. Here are reasons to sever the anger tie that keeps you bound to your ex.

1. Anger can shrink rather than expand your social network. One divorced woman I know was perpetually angry with her ex and his truly awful family. Instead of being pleased that she got out of that mess, got her Master’s degree, and an exciting job, Penny kept harping on her ex. She endlessly kept going back to that subject, even though her friends lost patience eons ago. She drove pals away when they responded “enough is enough” and Penny refused to listen. Anger can turn a friendship from give and take to just being a sounding board for someone’s misery.

2.  Anger is energy that is spent thinking about your ex or plotting various ways of his demise. It may be a two way street with your anger fuelling his, with retaliation. Anger robs people of time and energy that can be used in a more constructive manner. If you are neutral about someone, such as a co-worker or neighbor, there is no specific tie to them. You interact with them, but then go on you merry way about your own business. Anger is a strong emotion – no take it or leave it attitude. Do you really want this attachment to your ex?

3. Anger builds a wall around people. it is like wearing a “No Trespassing” sign around your neck – stay away. One woman who was bitter post-divorce would yell at her daughter over trivial things. Anger towards her ex splashed over into most areas of her life. The girl did not have much of a relationship with her mother until after college when they were more like friends. Be careful that anger is not endangering your relationships with your children and friends.

Please read more… divorcedmoms.com/articles/5-reasons-anger-keeps-you-attached-to-your-ex

Lessons Learned from Divorce

Lessons learned from divorce can have a positive impact on life. They can propel us in new directions, such as with careers or help us appreciate what we had taken for granted.

Divorce taught the importance of taking a break and getting out of one’s environment. My sons and I were allowed to go on an already scheduled cruise during my divorce. The other passengers were fabulous and shared their getting through adversity stories. Walking through the souk in Tunis put our divorce situation right out of our minds. Distraction helps alleviate stress.  Our batteries were recharged during this journey.

I discovered how important family is during a crisis like divorce. My cousin loaned me £15000 which I required immediately for part of a down payment on a house I was buying during my divorce. Without that act of kindness, I would have lost the opportunity to purchase it. My divorce split was coming later. I learned who not to count on for assistance.  My wealthy aunt refused the loan.

When I was enduring a bad marriage, I was focused on survival, not bits of joy. Consider thinking of several things a day for which you are thankful. This helps to not take kindnesses for granted. Or pay attention to what increases your happiness and plan these regularly into your schedule. Fun and laughter have health benefits and decrease my headaches. Meeting friends is a necessity and not an indulgence.  This actions help one get through the craziness of life.

One is vulnerable and is prone to put too much weight on other people’s opinions. When I first got divorced most things seemed monumental. I had to learn when to step back and when to charge ahead. I sometimes felt like I was in a fog and relied too much on others. When visitation deteriorated post-divorce, I listened to my mum and other well-meaning people about just letting it go on as scheduled. Instead of filing a motion with the court to suspend it, my younger son was particularly traumatized by going to visitation a year longer than necessary. He has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which may have been less had I heeded his demand not to go anymore. Neither son has contact with their father or his parents. The point is listen to your gut feeling and push for a resolution to a problem sooner than later.

Divorce can be a teacher to slow down.  Instead of reacting, take a pause from the situation to come up with a response.  Reactions are hot-headed and responding is taking in the facts and making an informed decision about what to do. One does not have to make quick decisions in a panic, but can say, “Let me get back to you.” This also applies to family members, work colleagues, or anyone who may try to enlist your time and energy when you are running on empty.

Going through a divorce has increased my social and professional networks. At first the pool of friends shrinks, but then expands as we meet new people. Moving house in divorce  taught me that I do not need so much stuff.  Many people I interviewed, said that possessions became less important and experiences more so. Post-divorce is an adventure with many twists and turns.

 

 

Starting Back to Work after a Hiatus or Divorce

It is challenging going back to work during or post-divorce, especially when you have had a hiatus for a decade or two. Your co-workers may be close in age to your children and your boss could be twenty years younger than you.

Before you step foot in the office, do a little homework. My local community college has a free service in writing a resume. The advisor was a magician in writing mine, emphasizing my volunteer experiences along with my paid jobs. They will help write a cover letter if you have a job in mind.

Many places do aptitude testing, guiding one to careers that are in line with strengths and talents. Also check if there is a non-profit helping women to get back into the job market. One in my city even specializes helping women over fifty trying to get back into a career. They have leads and can give advice. One place to call is United Way who has a list of local non-profits who can be of assistance.

1. Brush up on skills and update your computer knowledge. You can pay your kid or a neighbor computer geek to teach you new computer tricks. A company may not expect you to know their specific program, but will want you to be proficient with general computer usage. I took some short non-credit computer courses at my community college. Learn programs such as Quick Books and ask people in your profession for other ones that they recommend. One boss let a woman go on her first day because she could not even insert an attachment to an e-mail.

2. Ask a fashion savvy friend to inspect your wardrobe. You may want to buy a few special work/interview outfits or at least have some contemporary accessories. Larger department stores have a personal shopper to give you advice and put different pieces together to stretch your wardrobe. They are used to working within various budgets and pull clothes from different departments.   Please read more…
divorcedmoms.com/articles/going-back-to-work-youve-got-this

Dealing with Empty Nest and How to Thrive

An Empty Nest is especially challenging for parents who face yet another loss after divorce. People may be experiencing the different stages of grief with their divorce, and now also mourn what was and may never be again with their child. One goes through anger and eventually moves on to acceptance in the cycle of grief, as time goes by. This is the period to reinvent yourself and discover long last passions. Having a quiet house seemed to be one of the worst things for me. I brought my stereo system out of hibernation and got some tiny new speakers. I joined the vinyl craze in the states and bought some new records. Listening to old favorites with my cats around, makes loneliness a thing of the past and both of my college age sons enjoy listening to these classics when they are home.

There are ways to make this transition a little easier and reduce the loneliness that may come with the empty nest syndrome:

  • Schedule something fun to do immediately after your child leaves for school. I had a facial a few hours after my youngest son left for uni and required this pampering. The kind therapist let me express my sadness as she massaged lovely aromatherapy oils on my skin. The next morning I had a latte with a pal, and a movie with another one later in the day. I met with friends for the first several days of this transition.
  • Get together with other Empty Nesters for support and fun. My friend Patti formed a group with her son’s classmates’ parents and they meet once a month. It used to be for tears, but now it is for laughter and camaraderie.
  • Delay doing big projects until after your child is gone. This is the time to organize your home office or tackle the mess in your garage. Being focused on a large task, decreases time to dwell on one’s new situation.
  • Expand your social or professional groups. I joined a MeetUp.com group and can go out weekly for lattes, lectures or other activities. I joined Toastmasters International to become a more effective speaker.
  • Join some groups and organizations. The Women’s Institute (WI) evolved from traditional activities during WW1, to fencing, DIY classes and teaching other skills now. The WI is having a resurgence of new members with many in their 30’s. There is even a WI goth group in London. I have discovered many new Scandinavian authors from my book club.
  • Go back to school for pleasure classes or to advance your career. I took a computer class after my son left. An acquaintance obtained her teaching degree during her Empty Nest period. She was so busy with these courses that she barely had time to think about her kids that had flown the nest.
  • Get out of your comfort zone and build self-esteem. This is the time to climb up Kilimanjaro or find charity treks around the UK or far flung places. Expand your fitness level as you train for these endeavors or join an exercise class. I started Zumba and Tai Chi during this episode.
  • Consider hosting a foreign exchange student for a few weeks or a school year. You will have a student who needs care and advice in your home. You may end up with a new family member for life as some people have told me. These people enjoyed learning about other cultures and visiting their “kids.”
  • Take a trip to get away and be in a new environment. Visit old friends who may be going through the Empty Nest as well. Go overnight to a nearby spa for some pampering.
  • Volunteer and give something back to others. I love feeling needed with my weekly volunteering at a cat rescue group. The kitties purr with their appreciation. Consider adopting a new pet. If unable to commit, foster a cat or dog short-term.There was a study released in the states that indicated a correlation with getting breast cancer around eighteen months after the last child left home. When I thought about the people I know who had breast cancer, this was the time that they discovered it as well. A woman told me this week that her surgeon said there is a connection between strong sad emotions and the occurrence of some prostate and breast cancer. This research of emotional states increasing the risk for cancer is in its early stages, but I am having as much fun as possible to decrease my chances for it.Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  thedivorcemagazine.co.uk