Three Ways to Deal With the Empty Nest Syndrome at Work

graduation capIf you’ve seen a few pictures here and there in your Facebook feed with friends sending their oldest young adult off to college, you’re not alone.

And if you’re one of the parents posting the pictures, chances are you’re feeling a mixed bag of emotions — joyful exuberance for your offspring combined with a sense of nostalgia and weepiness.

In fact, the adjustment may be more difficult for the empty nesting parent than their college-bound kid. Here are a few ways to keep things in check back at the office.

1. Talk to a professional. This is definitely a time to deal with loss and new beginnings. Plus, the ritual of sending off your oldest offspring to college may provide fodder for introspection on getting older.

Employers provide employee assistance programs for a reason. If free counseling is available, by all means leverage it. (And even if it’s not free, a counselor can help you get through this time and in turn, this may help you focus more at the office.)

Talking through your feelings — even if it’s just for an hour — can help. Plus, it can help you perform better on the job when you begin to compartmentalize thoughts and keep the workday immersed on precisely that: work.

2. Get immersed in new projects. Go ahead and volunteer for a new initiative. Raise that hand! Mixing things up at the office with new people as well as new projects to your plate may be just the kick you need.

Yes, familiarity is good as you navigate changes in your personal life but sometimes the comfort zone needs a little boost. What could be a more perfect time than the present?

3. Explore new activities. If you feel more fulfilled outside the office, you may notice to feel more focused and fulfilled in it, too. Maybe you’ll have more time now to join a local book club or a running club. Whatever the interest, by filling your cup of life, you’ll grow personally and will likely see a benefit at the office, too.

If you start running, for example, the mental clarity it provides can only help tremendously with work. And if you set a goal of running a half-marathon, chances are training for that event and eventually completing it will be worth its weight in gold both on and off the road.