Stages of Empty Nest Syndrome in People

Written by: Harmandeep Kaur Grewal – MA (Psychology)

Last updated date : October 20, 2022

If you are a parent and your child is grown up and leaving for college or work then you could experience emotional pain. This emotional distress is empty nest syndrome. It is a common phenomenon and you should not worry too much about it. There are different stages of empty nest syndrome. You must ask when does empty nest syndrome start? Stages of empty nest syndrome will depict the pattern of the problem.

Additionally, you should not worry. In most cases, empty nest syndrome is managed and people don’t go into depression. But, you need to make efforts for this. Moreover, you should stay positive. Also, being positive will make you hopeful and happy. You can work on an interest or a hobby. For instance, you like to paint. But, because of your children’s education, you could not give time to your hobby.


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Chapter 1:

When Does Empty Nest Syndrome Start?

If you have experienced the loss of a loved one in life then you may know the process of mourning. Similarly in empty nest syndrome, there are different stages that a parent experience. Empty nest syndrome can start in a few months after your child or children leave home. In some cases, you may start to feel emotional even before the departure of your child. Moreover by anticipating that time is near there can be emotional pain.

Also, there is no specific time for your empty nest syndrome to start. Mostly, the empty nest syndrome appears with the knowledge of children leaving home. When does empty nest syndrome start?

  • When you get the information that your child is admitted to a university or a college you start feeling the syndrome. You may have mixed feelings of happiness and sadness side by side. Moreover, you know your children will leave one day, and that knowledge can lead to feeling emotional. Also, you should not let your sentiments in way of your children’s dreams.
  • Additionally, parents try that their children leave in short distance from home. For instance, if you live in New Delhi, then you want that your child gets admission to a north Indian college. But, you should not force your opinion on children.

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Chapter 2:

Stages of the Syndrome

There are different stages of empty nest syndrome. When does empty nest syndrome start?

  • Denial is a stage when you are not accepting reality. If you are in emotional pain then you would try to escape from the situation. For instance,
  • Self-pity is present in people who are not able to live normally like others. Such people keep making excuses to not meet people and pity themselves all the time. It can lead to a circle of self-pity. You should not involve in self-pity.
  • Acceptance is important for better recovery. If you accept your situation fast then there will be a quick recovery for you. You need to be proactive and mindful.
  • Sleep is important for your well-being. If you are sleeping less then it could affect your health. Also, you should not oversleep. Oversleeping can mess up your schedule and you may delay your work at home. Moreover, your sleep disturbance can cause a delay in household chores.
  • Freedom is the final stage of the empty nest syndrome. Children’s leaving home is a mixed emotion for you. You may feel some sense of freedom and liberty. You can have a lot of time for yourself.

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Chapter 3:

Effect of Empty Nest on Your Emotions

You can see the effect of empty nest syndrome on your emotions. Moreover, you should not overthink. Overthinking can worsen your symptoms. When does empty nest syndrome start?

  • Increased sadness when you are alone, especially during the evenings. You can join some social groups to pass your time and spend time with other people.
  • Have you felt tremendously lonely at a point in time? It could be difficult to live all alone without your children. When children are around you there is noise and you feel happy. When you realize that your children will leave you one day then you become unhappy and stressed.
  • It should be stressful when you feel that your children are there for you and you are alone. Also, waking up one day and not having anyone to call then makes you lonely and sad. So, you should learn to live alone and try to make friends with people living around you.
  • When your routine changes due to some reason then you will feel the change in your moods.

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Chapter 4:

Getting Support

If you suffer from empty nest syndrome then you should get support. Also, with help from outside you can recover quickly. You should not hesitate to seek assistance from others. When does empty nest syndrome start?

  • Talking to people can help you reduce loneliness. If you are lonely then you will experience emotional pain. Also, when you talk to people your stress level will reduce. Moreover, talking helps in emotional release. You can express your feelings when you converse with people. In contrast, when people are closed and don’t talk they feel suffocated inside.
  • Occasional visits to children can help you desensitize and reduce your longing. You can plan visits as per the timetable or schedule of your children. Also, try not to over visit your children. It can be stressful for them.
  • Getting help when you feel like it is important. If you are not feeling well then you can talk to a counselor or a doctor and
  • Reading is also a good habit that can help you pass your time.
  • Morning and evening walks can help you stay happy and healthy. You should avoid heavy exercise like weight lifting.
  • Sharing things with people can you be happy and satisfied. You should not stress. Also, you can

Preventing Empty Nest Syndrome

Stages of empty nest syndrome. When does empty nest syndrome start?

  • Involve yourself in hobbies like dancing. Also, hobbies can help you in staying healthy and fit.
  • Learning outdoor or indoor games can increase your stamina and memory.
  • Learning languages is very good for increasing memory ability. Moreover, in old age, people have learning and memory problems. So, you should learn to increase your memory.
  • Furthermore, traveling is good for your mental health. When you travel and visit new places you feel happy. You can plan visits to new areas as per your schedule.
  • Joining social groups will help you pass your time.
  • Watching movies is good for keeping your schedule busy. Also, it can help you forget your pain. You may not realize how you passed the time. For instance, you can make a list of movies that you want to watch.
  • Admiring nature is a healthy habit. You can walk around your neighborhood, and admire natural beings.
  • Gardening is needed for keeping your surroundings fresh and clean.
  • Walking can help you stay fit and healthy
  • Helping people in need will make you contented and satisfied.

For more information, please click “Courses” on the navigation bar and check out our online self-help courses on mental health and wellbeing. The course titled “Coping with Chronic Pain” can provide useful information.


"Very practical suggestions" Peter

95 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
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  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount