4 Tips For Feeling Useful in Your Empty Nest

Grandma Camp

Last week I sat down to write you all a letter. This is not my favorite or easiest task. I am always semi-paralyzed because I am wondering what to write and if what I have to say has any value to anyone.

Do you ever find that happening to you?  Do you wonder if what you have to offer every day is valuable to anyone?

I think these are normal and natural thoughts at any age, but they become more common as our kids leave home and begin families of their own.  Or we may be looking at retiring from the work that gave our days structure – either paid work or the work in our own homes of raising a family.  What can you do if you wake up every day to the voice in your head telling you that you have nothing left to offer anyone anymore?

Here are some things that have helped me keep going even when I feel paralyzed:

1) Ignore the voice in your head – You know the voice I am talking about, the one that is telling you that you can’t do anything.  Accept that this voice is going to be there and just keep on going.  I like to tell that voice, “Yes, I can do it!  You are not the boss of me. I AM!” 

2) Find something that makes your time meaningful to you – Much of the volunteer work that I’ve been doing has been shut down with the COVID-19 virus.
I had to think about what I can do, and not what I’ve lost. 

I’ve filled in some of that time with a weekly “Grandma Camp” for my two oldest granddaughters and four nieces. We meet on ZOOM and talk about things that I wish I had known when I was that age, confidence, friends, how to talk to adults like teachers, how to talk to your parents when you want something they don’t want you to have or do, how to plan your time, how to create and achieve goals, knowing your future self. We’ve had speakers come, played games, done an art project and really enjoyed being with each other. I’ve looked forward to this camp every week. See the photo at the top of this post.

Activities “Meaningful to you” could include providing service to others, sharing cookies or flowers, developing new skills, or simply brightening someone’s day by calling them and letting them know you are thinking of them.

3) Know who you are – I have been creating I AM statements for myself that create a belief in things that I want to do. I’ve chosen what I want to believe about myself and I practice these beliefs, and I do the things I feel led to do.

For example, one of the things I am practicing is that “I Am guided” and the more I practice it, the more I feel guided.  When I feel that I am guided, I start following up on those little fleeting thoughts that go through your head like, “maybe I should help her” or  “wow, I should share some of my sweet peas with my neighbor” or “that’s a great analogy for my newsletter”.

4) Celebrate – When you make a celebration of any kind, from a fist pump, to a happy dance, to something more, you are telling yourself that you did it right, you did good!  Your body releases a hormone, dopamine, and you want to keep on going.

So, if there are days when you feel like you are of no use, remember this email and try out one of these tips to help you get going again and feel like there is a purpose for getting up in the morning.

If you would like to do a little more accelerated work on rediscovering your purpose with personal coaching, I have 1 more spot left in my $99 program:

Finding Faith, Family and Yourself in the Empty Nest Season of Life

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