Empty the Nest and Feel Joy Again with 19 Easy Self-Care Tips

Empty the Nest and Feel Joy Again with 19 Easy Self-Care Tips

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Right now, life might seem even more challenging than usual as you empty the nest. Your very soul is screaming at you to take better care of yourself, but you aren’t always so sure how to go about this. 

You can feel joy again. The following 19 easy self-care tips can serve as an anchor when you feel like you are floating through life without a purpose.

Have you spent so long caring for others that you just don’t know how to stop putting the needs of others ahead of your own? If so, let the following tips serve as your daily self-care checklist as you navigate your way to a new normal.

Are you afraid that you’ll be considered selfish?  Please don’t be. 

Extreme self-care actually leads to selflessness, not selfishness. 

Consider your acts of extreme self-care as necessary so that you can continue to do for others. Women that consistently and persistently take care of themselves profoundly understand that they are doing so for the benefit of those they love, as much as for their own well-being. 

#1-Put your phone to bed anywhere BUT your bedroom

The first self-care activity actually begins one hour before your go to bed in the evening. Buy yourself a charger station for all of your electronic devices and place it in your kitchen or living room area. 

Plug in all of your electronic devices one hour prior to bedtime. The key idea here is that your phone should be nowhere near your bed when you go to sleep. All of the medical research proves that sleeping with your cell phone on the nightstand is a really bad idea, if you value your brain health.

#2-Set Yourself up for Success by Mastering Your Morning Routine

Since so many of these suggestions are meant to occur first thing in the morning, you might want to consider waking earlier to begin a morning routine that will lead to a happier and more energetic you. Good emotional self-care begins with an effective morning routine.

The best way to begin your day is by identifying a morning routine that works for you. Adding these extra steps to your day means reworking your morning schedule.

#3-What you Appreciate……Appreciates

What is motivating you to take better care of yourself?  If you are going through tough times and have a desire to feel joy, the most effective strategy hands-down is practicing an attitude of gratitude.  

How do you know it works?  Well, according to a Harvard research study, giving thanks is the key to feeling happier. 

If you try no other suggestion, try keeping a gratitude journal for just one week. 

Gratitude list ideas include going beyond the obvious, such as, “I am thankful for my family.” 

Reflect on the various aspects of your health that allow you the mobility to do the activities you enjoy. 

Think about the fact that some of the things you have another person is praying to have someday. 

Consider the challenges you’ve overcome and how those particular obstacles are no longer a concern for you.

Clearly, gratitude list ideas are numerous and there is much to be grateful for.  If only we would train our minds to look for what is right, we might have more rightness in our world.

It’s astonishing how making a gratitude list lifts your mood and energy right away.

#4-Write to Learn What You Think

You might not be completely aware of all the stray thoughts roaming around in your head. After all, how can you change your thoughts if you don’t know what they are?

Keeping a daily journal is an excellent practice for recording your thoughts. As you respond to journal topics, it’s like a workout-but, for your mind and not your body.

As the months pass by, you begin to notice patterns. You will be able to identify where you have some work to do, as well as give thanks for what is already going well for you.  

#5-May the Force be With You

Depending on your faith tradition, taking the time to start and maintain a spiritual practice pays huge dividends. Through devotionsrel="nofollow" > and prayers of gratitude, you are reminded to pay attention to your own inner world.

As you empty the nest and seek to feel joy, examine your soul and reflect on ways to nurture your spirit. 

#6-A Little Bit of Positivity Goes a Long Way

What do you say when you talk to yourself?  All those thoughts buzzing through your head on a daily basis are the result of you talking to yourself.

You might be quite rude and nasty to yourself on the daily.

Reciting positive affirmations to yourself is a way to train yourself to be nicer…to yourself. These positive affirmations cards and this book of positive quotations provide some ideas on  what to say when you talk to yourself.

If you wish, you can learn more and take a deep dive into improving your thoughts.

#7-A Body in Motion Makes for a Happier YOU

For reason #9,027 on the list of Why You Should Exercise, add this one- exercising just 30 minutes per day improves your mood and how you feel physically.

Just. Do It.

#8-Quiet Your Mind and Achieve Better Focus

One of the most important self-care tips is to tune into your inner thoughts to identify your own hopes, dreams, and struggles. This is difficult to do if your mind is “all over the place.”

Achieving mindfulness is the desired result and meditation is the skill required to get you there. There are many different apps on how to meditate, but the Insight Timer meditation app is a great place to start.

#9-You Are What You Eat

What we eat is so key to our overall health that a renewed commitment to healthy eating is a must. Ridding yourself of toxins and processed food is a key feature of clean eating. The Whole 30 approach to clean eating provides all of the necessary support to succeed at a healthier food plan. 

#10-Clear Your Space to Clear Your Mind

Does your mind feel muddled?  It might just be cluttered in there! One way to gain internal clarity is to address your physical environment.

There is something about decluttering and getting rid of unwanted items  that allows you to start thinking more clearly. Try it!

#11-Say Bye Bye to the Toxic People

On the topic of decluttering, are there any people orbiting your planet that need a first-class ticket to a galaxy far, far away?  

You know who they are………..the people who suck the life out of you by their mere presence. 

#12-It’s Not Always Good to be a Social Butterfly

While you’re at it, there is ample evidence that social media does not seem to be making people any happier. The great irony of our time is that we have more ways to connect than ever, yet many have never felt less connected to their fellow human beings.

Limiting time spent on social media sites can free up some time to seek actual human connection. It can also take your mind off the inevitable comparison of yourself to others. 


It’s an act of supreme kindness to yourself to create some distance between you and this person. Preferably, you would avoid them completely.

Don’t forget to address your social media feed. Are there some people you need to unfriend?  Or at least put on snooze? If their posts regularly make you feel yucky-take care of it with a quick click of a button.

#13-I Remember You

Challenge yourself to make a meaningful connection with at least one other person each day. 

The obvious choice is to connect with family members. When your children were younger, the family dinner table was a great place to make this happen. After you empty the nest and family schedules change, you probably aren’t eating dinner together anymore.

If married, can you remember to greet your husband  at the door when he gets home? The best way to connect with your husband is to show a sincere interest in him.

Have you heard about Friendship Friday?  Every Friday, call a friend to chat. No texting. Actually pick up the phone and have a conversation. That used to be a thing. Converse. 

The Friendship Friday concept is to remind yourself to not let too much time go by before you check-in with each other.

You know how it is……you meant to call, but you didn’t.

The weeks turn into months and, before you know it, it’s kind of uncomfortable to call.

Then the months turn into years and you are not involved in each other’s lives anymore.

Soon the years pass by and you are pretty much strangers.

Friendship Friday will help you to remember to prioritize your relationships, especially when you’ve lost the convenience of running into each at school waiting for your kids. 

#14-Spark Joy with Something to Look Forward to

Everyone needs something to look forward to.

Never is this more true than when life has grown a bit stale.

Just like a car battery occasionally dies and requires a jump start, you need to find some new sparks to get you going.

So what are you looking forward to this week?

If the answer is nothing, then start by planning just one fun thing to do this week.

Remember all those years when you didn’t have time to read a good book or try a new hobby? Well, now you do have time for hobbies for empty nesters! Put it on your calendar.

#15-You Need More Red Letter Days

What’s a Red Letter Day? It’s a day with a scheduled activity that is out of the ordinary and sounds fun to YOU.

Challenge yourself to plan one exciting event or fun activity with friends at least once per month or quarter.

Having something to look forward to is the key to our well-being. Schedule it!

#16-Do More of What Brings You Joy

What makes you feel happy?

Is it as simple as decluttering your house or going for a hike?

Whatever it is, there are certain things that just plain makes you feel happy and put a smile on your face.

Do more of that.

Even if it’s not practical…..or takes up a lot of time……or accomplishes very little………….

Yes, even if.

Do more of what makes you happy. 

Spend less time shoulding all over yourself ( I should do this, I should do that) and more time doing what makes you light up like a Christmas tree. 

#17-Get Your Zzzzzz’s

Sleep.

Do you remember that?  Vaguely?

A key facet of emotional self-care is making sure that we get enough sleep so that our mood and focus are on point.

A sleep diary can help you keep track of your sleeping patterns and establish a healthy sleep schedule. 

#18-Consider Cutting the Cord

Consider cutting what cord?

The cable cord.

It’s a rare person that manages to watch a steady diet of positivity flowing through the cable box. 

Most of it, particularly the news channels, is fairly depressing.

If nothing else, the television can be a huge time waster.

Once the time suck of television is gone, it’s amazing how much time you have.

All of a sudden you have the time you need to invest in your health, well-being, and personal goals.

#19-Schedule Your Day …the Night Before

In order to prioritize your self-care, you are going to need a plan. Setting your intention the night before is necessary if you have any hope of carrying out your morning routine. 

How will you structure the next day so that you have time to take care of yourself?

Once you empty the nest, you can feel joy again if you apply these 19 easy self-care tips. Join the Act 2 Mom Facebook Community and let us provide support and cheer you on!

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