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How to cope with an empty nest Mother’s Day

Mother's Day can be tough for those with an empty nest. (Getty Images)
Mother's Day can be tough for those with an empty nest. (Getty Images)

When your kids are little, Mother's Day is something of a fuss, with children returning from school clutching handmade cards with heartfelt messages scrawled in felt-tip pen.

But the celebration changes as the kids become teens, then grown-ups who eventually leave home, leaving many mums marking the day in an empty nest.

Recent research has revealed that one in five Brits won’t be seeing their mums this Mother’s Day, although 82% of them wish they could, but the busyness of everyday life can mean those breakfast-in-bed celebrations of old are something of a distant memory.

So how do you mark the day if you're a mum who's not able to celebrate with her children this year?

"Being an empty nester on Mother’s Day, can cause mixed emotions," explains transformational wellness coach Gillian McMichael and author of Coming Home: A Guide to Being Your True Self.

"From sentimental memories of raising your children to embracing the realisation that as young adults Mother’s Day might not feature highly on their list of priorities.

"This transition period can be hard for many mums, dedicating years to bringing up your children and filled with monotonous routines, it’s understandable to feel lost and insecure when you feel no longer needed or appreciated."

However your Mother’s Day might look this year there are some ways to navigate the day as a recent empty nester including taking the time to reconnect with your true self.

There are some ways to navigate the loneliness of an empty nest Mother's Day. (Getty Images)
There are some ways to navigate the loneliness of an empty nest Mother's Day. (Getty Images)

How to cope with an empty nest Mother's Day

Reframe the day

McMichael suggests taking the time to reframe how you feel. "Reframing is a powerful way of looking at things through fresh eyes," she explains.

To start reframing, McMichael suggests asking yourself the following questions:

● What do I accept?

● What do I appreciate?

● What affection do I need?

● What do I need to pay attention to?

"You have brought up your children to be independent adults, so consider this to be your time back," she adds.

Be kind to yourself

Show kindness to yourself with a little gift. "Whether that’s listening to your favourite songs, reading a book with a cuppa and a piece of cake or dancing to your favourite song," McMichael suggests. "You can be your own best friend. All you need to do is be kind to yourself!"

Experts suggest taking time to spend time with friends or your other half. (Getty Images)
Experts suggest taking time to spend time with friends or your other half. (Getty Images)

Practise the true meaning of self love

Self-love is having a relationship with yourself that has compassion, kindness, patience, tolerance, and curiosity.

"Loving yourself will bring you self-confidence, self-worth, and in general, you will feel more positive," McMichael explains.

One of the best ways to grow your self-love, she says, is to be able to self-advocate in standing firm in and expressing your needs, providing yourself with care and respect.

"Setting boundaries with yourself and others is a great way to communicate and strive for your needs," she adds.

McMichael's tips for self-love include:

  • Starting each day with telling yourself something positive

  • Stopping the comparisons to others

  • Celebrating all wins – no matter how big or small

  • Embracing yourself – just as you are

  • Nurturing the relationship with yourself

Reconnect with your partner or friends

McMichael advocates for mothers to use the empty nest time to also reconnect and re-establish your relationship with your partner in new ways.

"Consider using this day to go out for a date if possible – whether it's a trip to the cinema, dinner, or a casual drink to rekindle your bond, not just as parents, and keep things fresh," she adds.

It's also a good idea to focus on the other positive relationships in your life as a way of coping with the child-free occasion.

Spend the day fulfilling your passions

Taking up a hobby may feel like an impossible task and something that you only do when you are young, but McMichael says we need to start introducing an abundant mindset rather than one of scarcity.

"Hobbies will bring out the lighter sides of our personalities and being," she explains. "They can bring joy and even a fresh look on life.

"Doing something for pleasure can take you out of your head and into your body," she continues. "This is also a great way to meet new people, take you outside into new experiences that you can learn from. When we are learning and having new experiences we move beyond that sense of loneliness."

Taking time for you is one of the tips recommended to navigate an empty nest Mother's Day. (Getty Images)
Taking time for you is one of the tips recommended to navigate an empty nest Mother's Day. (Getty Images)

Don't compare yourself to others

It’s easy to look at others – friends, family or colleagues – and think they have it all together, a great life and everything they need, but no good will come of comparisons.

"It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others but this is the most destructive thing we can do to ourselves as it affects our state of mind and emotional state even more," McMichael warns.

"Instead look for what you have got and start to acknowledge that your life is equally good. Positive affirmations like this can have a positive impact on you."

Do something nice for yourself

If you are feeling low as you miss your kids as they are travelling, or at university, McMichael suggests doing something nice for yourself.

"It’s important that you do something nourishing for you and then when you do meet up with your kids your energy will be high and positive," she adds.

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