Empty nest sucks! I know when it started happening for me, I felt like my "job" was over. How was I supposed to go on when I didn't even know who I was without my kids.
It makes the whole situation easier to swallow if we look at it from our kids point of view. We can be happy for them. Remember when you moved out of your parent's house? It was most likely a time of liberation and fun! Now your child gets that same exhilarating feeling!
So if we're happy for our kid and still feeling bad, that means we are unhappy with our own lives. That can feel terrifying. Our identities have been stripped away and we are left balled up and engrossed in sadness.
There comes a point, however, where we must pick ourselves back up. We learn how to parent from afar, and we learn how to move on from one point in our lives to another. This is a natural cycle!
How do we do it?
Decide it's time to feel happy again. This is a major turning point. We may still fumble and fall, but just by making the choice that we want to feel happy sets us on the road to actually being happier.
Do something that feels good to you. The options here are limitless! If you aren't ready for a big commitment yet, do something small. Choose to do something that will make you feel better than you currently feel.
Rinse and repeat. Keep going! The more you do something that feels better to you than you felt before, you will keep getting happier and happier. Before long, you'll look back and realize what amazing strides you've made!
You might want to check out Field Guide to Happiness. I wrote this book because when I was going through empty nest, I wanted to feel better but the thought of committing to something big was out of the picture. I just wanted an idea of something that I could do to just feel better in that moment.