For many parents who have devoted their lives to raising their children, dealing with them moving out on their own can be very difficult. While most parents experience a certain level of sadness and nostalgia about no longer being as intricately involved in their sons or daughters’ lives, an empty nest also opens up a world of possibilities. Today, we’ll take a look at some ways to help you adapt to and enjoy your new lifestyle.

Focus on You
While there may be nothing more satisfying than being selfless and sacrificing personal gratification for the betterment of your children’s lives, this is the time to discover how fun it can be to focus on yourself or your relationship with your partner. Maybe you get to sleep in more; maybe your weekends are open again rather than being at their sporting events. Whatever it may be, try to appreciate the opportunity to rediscover things that you enjoy doing with your newfound flexibility. Write down a list of things you had always wanted to get around to doing and do them!

Lean on Friends and Family
While your kids may be moving on to college or “the real world,” that doesn’t mean you’re alone. Lean on your friends and family during this transition and try branching out. Meetup groups or even adult continuing education classes are a great way to find new friends and new hobbies.

Volunteer
Helping make a difference in someone’s life is one of the things that parents find so rewarding. As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to help make a positive impact on the lives of those who need it most. Get involved with your city’s local volunteer organization or reach out to nonprofit organizations in your area to ask how you can help.

Get a Pet

Sometimes the loss of companionship is the hardest part about not having your children around as frequently. Pets are the ultimate companions and have proven to increase happiness and life satisfaction. Your local animal shelter or pet rescue organizations are always looking for people who can provide a loving home.

Transform Your Home
Now is the time to transform your home into a more fun, relaxing place for you and your partner. Perhaps you’d like to convert one of the kids’ rooms into an art studio or man cave. Maybe you can finally repaint all the walls. Or perhaps invest in some serious relaxation by adding a hot tub to your backyard. In addition to providing a number of therapeutic benefits for stress relief and exercise recovery, soaking in a hot tub can be that thing you look forward to each day.

Empty nest syndrome is normal for parents; the key is keeping it in perspective and learning how to enjoy this new phase of your life. Whether it’s a cooking class, new dog, or hot tub, you’ll soon start remembering how much fun you can have without the kids around.