Thriving Empty Nesters Share Their Best Empty Nester Advice

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell
empty nester over 50 with her daughter

The best advice for empty nesters? Mine has to be: Enjoy them when they come home and fill them up with love and encouragement before they head out again! My daughter was home recently for a quick 36 hours following her summer contract, and right before heading up to NYC for a callback audition. It was just enough time for me to make her a couple of meals, take her out to her favorite restaurant, help her with her laundry, and catch up on her life. I loved every minute! We literally snapped this selfie at a stoplight as I was taking her to the airport!

I’ve written a lot about the empty nest! In fact, life in the empty nest is one of my very favorite things to speak and write about! In fact, when I chose the name Empty Nest Blessed for my blog nearly seven years ago, it was because I was (and still am) passionate about encouraging, inspiring, and blessing empty nesters! When we designed my new website back in January, I even had the web designer create a new logo that encapsulated that mission statement!

empty nest blessed logo

In the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to become friends with some amazing empty nesters. These women have created businesses, served others, and inspired me, personally, with the way they are making a difference in their empty nest years. I wanted to encourage and bless you by introducing you to them, so I reached out and asked them to share their best advice about life in the empty nest. I told them they could pass along advice that others had given to them, or even their own wisdom! I can’t wait to share it, and them, with you!

Best Advice About Life in the Empty Nest

front cover of empty besting book by kristi huss

Figuring out your why of your purpose and who of your identity is so important in the empty nest. That is the key to discovering your what you can do as a hobby, volunteer, or career in the empty nest. Having your own sense of purpose is not only important for your own well-being. It also opens up better communication with your grown (adult) children because what lights you up doesn’t solely revolve around being a parent and what is going on in their lives. 

Kristi Huss, Author of Empty Besting and blogger at KristiHuss.com. (Instagram: @kristihuss)

logo for Vacations by Shannon owned by empty nester Shannon Leyerle

As an empty nester, you will most likely find yourself with more discretionary time than you’ve had since becoming a parent. What is your passion? Take advantage of this stage of life to fully explore something you’re passionate about, either as a new vocation or as a hobby. Have you always wanted to write a book? Sell real estate? Start your own business? Go for it! Since becoming an empty nester, I have found so much joy in planning vacations.

I’m a big advocate of emptynestcations! After spending two decades or more as parents, travel can be a great way to reconnect with the person who is most familiar to you. Seeing new places and having new experiences allows you and your spouse to see each other in a fresh way and step out of the parental roles as you’re reminded of all the reasons you fell in love. 

Shannon Leyerle, Owner Vacations by Shannon (Instagram @shannonleyerle & Facebook Vacations by Shannon)

jill grimes md with her book the ultimate college student health handbook

Something that works well for newly empty nest families is a variant of the gratitude journal: a gratitude private family instagram. Each person adds one picture and writes one thing they are grateful for once per day. The key is that this is truly private- you can even do your own that you do not share with any other person, including your family. However, if your college student(s) do this and choose to share it with their parents, it’s a really wonderful way to know your student is okay without any direct communication through texts or phone calls.  (Our girls did this with our family, and though some of us were more consistent in posting than others, everyone agreed that having this record of pictures and grateful thoughts was a wonderful tool to lift spirits on the tough days.)

Dr. Jill Grimes, physician and author of The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook (Instagram: @jillgrimesmd

tina foster of mushroom london with her dog Minty

There is a well known saying that “you are only as happy as your least happy child,” but I am learning that it is important not to make your own happiness dependant on your growing children.

You mustn’t define yourself only as a parent.  Remember you existed before you had a family.  Your source of joy and happiness needs to be an inside job and not dependent on the actions of others.  Learn to be alone but not lonely.  You need to let your children go.  With that may be the need to also let go of some of the preconceived ideas of how you thought life would be for them and you.

Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.  You have achieved what you set out to do and sent them on their way.  You should be very proud.  Sometimes I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for what we have done.

Tina Foster, podcaster at Life With Mushroom London podcast and blogger at MushroomLondon.com (Instagram: @MushroomLondon & @MushroomLondonHome)

photo of cathy lawdanski from my side of 50

Keep learning new things and trying new things. Develop your own interests. This is good for you and your adult children!

Cathy Lawdanski, podcaster at MySideof50 podcast and blogger at MySideof50.com (Instagram: @MySideof50)

photo of empty nest coach christine holding coffee mug

The empty nest will look different for everyone. The way you process through entering and then being in the empty nest does not need to look like anyone else’s process. Feel emotions as they arise, and know that you are strong enough to process them. Should you be brave enough, the empty nest is a fantastic time to discover who you are, who you are meant to be, and to discover how to be your own biggest fan. 

Christine, Empty Nest Coach and podcaster at Your Empty Nest Coach podcast. Find her resources at YourEmptyNestCoach.com (Instagram: @emptynestcoach)

After successfully sending two young adults into the world, I felt lost and knew I needed to determine what would help me THRIVE in this second chapter of life. Through trial and error, long lists of questions, and deep thinking, I created AdventuresofEmptyNesters.com as the ultimate new career and answer to this question.

My advice to new empty nesters is this: The time is now to live, smile, reach for the stars, laugh be creative and feel the joy of life. You have done a great job with your family. It’s your turn now. Don’t let the Empty Nester Blues take over and don’t focus on the past. Look forward and know that you can do this. It’s your time now!

Suzanne Stavert, Travel Blogger at AdventuresofEmptyNesters.com, podcaster at Travel Connections podcast, author of the e-book How to Find Adventure and Thrive in the Empty Nest. (Instagram: @adventuresofemptynesters)

Kelly Ellis - Empty Nester Wellness Coach

Take some time to discover who you are.  Your passions, your strengths, your desires, your hopes and dreams.  Find what will bring you joy, then make it happen!  Adventure is out there waiting for you!

Kelly Ellis, Empty Nester Wellness Coach (Instagram: @kellyellis068)

Didn’t y’all love my friends? These are the women I follow on social media, and they inspire and encourage my heart! I hope you’ve been blessed by their great advice and that you’ve found some new empty nesters to follow today!

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Suzy Mighell

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for this post!! I’m about three weeks into the empty nest and really needed to hear this advice. Look forward to following some of these ladies!

    1. Aw, Tracey,

      Thank you for sharing that! Prayers for you, sweet girl! Give yourself time to feel sad if you need to – transitioning to the empty nest is def a transition, now just a light switch flip! So glad you will have these wise friends to encourage you along the way.

      I’m so glad you’re here and that you let me know the post was helpful to you!

      xoxo
      Suzy

  2. Thank you so much for the information from these wise women! I’m looking forward to connecting with them on their platforms. What a blessing it is to have resources to help us navigate this new season!

    1. Lee Ann,

      Sweet girl! Thank you for your comment. There is so much to love about the empty nest (just like there is in every season of life!), but the adjustment is REAL! Give yourself time and know that I’d love to encourage you if you need it. You can always email me at [email protected].

      xoox
      Suzy

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