Family And Parenting: What Is Empty Nest Syndrome Depression?

Learn about the symptoms and causes of empty nest syndrome, as well as ways to deal with it.

Perhaps your youngest daughter is heading away from home for her first year of college. Maybe your son is getting married and moving into a new home with his spouse. It could even strike when a child leaves home simply because he or she feels that it's time to start a life in the real world flying solo. You're upset. You start to feel depressed. You can't contain your tears, and you miss your child so much that you wish you could go back to the way life was before.

You might be experiencing empty nest syndrome. This is not an uncommon occurrence. Although not recognized as an actual medical syndrome, empty nest syndrome is a term used to define the feelings of sadness and emptiness that many women feel when all their children have left home. Although it is not abnormal to feel this way, empty nest syndrome can be conquered. Your life may have been filled with high school football games, PTA meetings, and dance recitals for many years. These activities with your children may have now come to and end, but that doesn't mean that your happy life has to end as well. Browse through the following tips and keep them in mind if you start feeling depressed when your children leave home.

See a doctor.

You may see your doctor every year for a physical, but if you cannot control your feelings of depression, you should make an appointment. Discuss your feelings with your doctor. Empty nest syndrome can be tough to deal with, but you could also have other medical issues that your doctor may be able to identify. You may be entering the beginning stages of menopause, or be going through menopause. Dealing with that in conjunction with empty nest syndrome can be tough, so make sure you let your doctor know. If the empty nest syndrome hits you hard, you may fall into actual clinical depression without knowing it. This is why it is important that you see your doctor.

Take a vacation.

The kids are gone for the first time in years. Treat yourself! Maybe you've wanted to sail the Caribbean, tour Europe, or just visit a town an hour away. Take your newfound freedom and enjoy it. Not only will this rejuvenate you, but also it will remind you that your independence is a good thing. You have dedicated your life to taking care of your children, but now you have the time to take care of yourself.


Few things make you feel as good as exercising. Join a gym or start a new regimen. The more you exercise, the better you will feel, and the better you feel, the less likely you will be to fall victim to empty nest syndrome. Remember to always discuss any new exercise regimens with your doctor. If you know other women who have recently sent their children off to college, call them! They may want to start an exercise group. Not only will this give you a chance to stay on track with an exercise routine, but it will also provide moral support and people to talk to about how you feel.

Spend time with your spouse.

When was the last time you and your husband had an actual date? If you can't remember, take this opportunity to share time with him. You now have the freedom to rekindle a romance that may have been put out by the daily grind of going to work and taking care of the kids. Communication with your spouse is important. If you're feeling depressed, let him know. He may be able to help you work through your emotions, and your marital bond will grow much stronger.

Keep in touch.

The kids may be away, but that doesn't mean that they are gone forever. While you're at home missing your college freshman, he or she may be away at school and nervous about making friends, doing well in classes, and so on. A simple phone call is something that can help both of you. Envision your empty nest as the start of a something new and wonderful instead of a hole that needs to be filled.

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