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The New Normal – Adjusting to Life after Kids Head to College

The graduation parties are over, the heavily dreaded initial ‘goodbye’ has been said, and you’ve successfully dropped your child off at college. By now, the class of 2021 has made it through first few weeks of classes and found someone to have dinner with in the cafeteria. As their lives begin to settle in, you too may be dealing with this massive change.

Although no parent handles the college sendoff the same way, there are some coping skills that can help make the transition to your new normal a little easier. Here are some tips for empty nesters:

  1. Establish a communication routine. Whether your child has quickly adjusted to college life or is continuing to struggle with the transition, keeping in touch with your college kid is important for both of you. For some, this may mean a daily phone call with your child when you get home from work. For others, this might be an agreement to carve out some time to catch up each weekend. Routine conversation will give you both something to look forward to.
  2. Take up a hobby. Your college kid is joining clubs, hanging out with friends, and gaining a new sense of freedom. Why shouldn’t you do the same? Have you been wanting to train for a race, join a book club, or do a massive clean of your house? You now may have some more time to embraces these opportunities.
  3. Strengthen other relationships. Chances are that the last six months have been an emotional rollercoaster. The anticipation of your child’s departure may have caused you to focus much of your time on them. With your child settled in at school, this is an excellent chance to bring back ‘date night’ with your spouse or develop a different relationship with your younger kids who are still at home. If you are continuing to struggle with the change that college brings, surrounding yourself with the people who love and support you can help.

It’s true that once your child is off at college, the life you once knew is going to change. But that change doesn’t have to be bad. If you are struggling with your ‘new normal’, utilizing some of the coping tools listed above may help. And, if you’re feeling more anxious or depressed than normal, you may want to talk with someone. Horizon Health Services offers help for people dealing with depression, dysthymia and other mental health conditions. If you or someone you love is experiencing any symptoms of depression and live in the Western New York area, please contact us.

We can help.
(716) 831-1800