115: How Long Does Empty Nest Syndrome Last? ⏱

115: How Long Does Empty Nest Syndrome Last? ⏱

Hello, my ah-mazing empty nest friend,

Have you ever wondered how long you will be experiencing empty nest syndrome? 

You aren't alone! It is a commonly searched phrase on the internet.

I did a light bit of research for this episode,  and share my thoughts on the time frame I found listed high in my search results.

I'd love to know your thoughts.

This transition is one that can be as beautiful or heart-wrenching as you allow it to be. If you enjoy this episode or are curious about more, subscribe to my podcast, and let's get you in a place that serves you, your future-self, and others in your life well!

Coach Christine,

Your Empty Nest Coach

"Apparently, this question is googled often, “how long does it take to get over empty nest syndrome.' I can understand that. Especially when a mother is first experiencing some of those overwhelming bittersweet feelings that could feel soul-crushing if you can’t find a way to the other side of them."

Take a listen or read the full transcript at the bottom of this post.

⇓⇓⇓ More goodies below, too! Scroll down ⇓, so you don't miss anything! ⇓⇓⇓

🎙 How long will empty nest syndrome last? This is a commonly searched phrase! I discuss what I found in the search in today's episode.  #Podcast episode #EmptyNest  #Podcast #WomenEmpoweringWomen  #Others #EmptyNestSyndrome 💚

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What You Will Learn in this Episode 

  • What I Found When Searching How Long Does Empty Nest Syndrome Last
  • My Thoughts About One of the Top Search Results
  • An Analogy About the Transition

Episode Questions for You To Consider

  1. Are you continually in a race to your life’s next milestone?
  2. Are you ready to slow down, dig deep, and to be ready for anything?

Episode Resources

Send audio feedback to Coach Christine now: voicemail/text to 1-920-LIFEWIN (1-920-543-3946). 📞

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For those who are freaking out about the empty nest years. It is time to make the rest of your life the best of your life!

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Episode 115 of the Your Empty Nest Coach Podcast


Christine:  Hi, it’s coach Christine.  This is my podcast, it’s the Your Empty Nest Coach Podcast.  Today I answer the question: how long does empty nest syndrome last?  And this is episode number 115.  I work with mothers of high school students and beyond, who are in the trenches with sad and possibly, overwhelming thoughts about what their life will look like when their baby heads to college and begins to leave the nest.  My clients’ big question is what will I do with my time?  Is this you?  I’ve been there, and I get it.  Empowering you to write the next jaw-dropping, amazing chapter in your life is my passion.  I am energized by leading you in the process of exploration and am thrilled when you unlock the power that lies within you.  This podcast is my gift to you.


[Clock ticking]

Hello, my future empty nest friend and CEO of your life.  CEO around here is short for Conscious Effective Olympian of your life.  The question for today is how long does empty nest syndrome last?  Yes, I know the clock is ticking but first, I need to remind you that I have full show notes with links to anything I discuss in the episode, and a full episode transcription on my website.  Those reside at YourEmptyNestCoach.com/P (for podcast) and 115 (for this episode’s number).  (YourEmptyNestCoach.com/P115).


Thanks!  Thank you!  It’s time to thank our sponsor.  This episode is sponsored by my membership community, The GPS Support Flock; Your Flight to Success in the Empty Nest.  If you are ready to find the GPS of your life, sign up to receive an immediate and free download of my PDF, "How to Find Yourself in the Empty Nest," our GPS Life Principles document.  You will also have the opportunity to learn about our community.  See the link in this episode's show notes or fly on over to my website, YourEmptyNestCoach.com.  Click the GPS Support Flock button.  See you soon!   


I want to give a shout out to Laurey Bennett Levy.  Laurey is an artist, designer and advocate who I met through instagram.  We have been cheering one another on and recently she reached out in a message with incredibly encouraging words to me.  So a personal thank you, Laurey, for that, and my wonderful listener, if you aren’t following her already, you should.  Her prints are beautiful and inspired off of designs she discovers in life and that others may honestly, easily overlook.  I won’t do it justice.  Check my show notes, click the link and give her a follow.


Apparently this question is googled often, “how long does it take to get over empty nest syndrome?”  I can understand that.  Especially when a mother is first experiencing some of those overwhelming bittersweet feelings that could feel soul-crushing if you can’t find a way to the other side of them.  Curious, I figured I would see what comes up in such a search, and the most helpful item I found was a 2016 article on “HuffPost” where they reference a “fun study” by Peregrine Adventures.


I am a bit of a data person, so I’m now even more curious.  The article stated that 2,000 empty nesters participated in the survey.  I wanted to know who these 2,000 empty nesters were, and to be honest, 2,000 isn’t a huge data set so I went a little deeper.  I did find where Peregrine Adventures discusses the survey (link is in my show notes) and it states that they surveyed 2,000 US parents and guardians of high-school and college-aged kids.  So, some of these parents weren’t even in the empty nest yet, if their children are in high school.  Leaving us where this “fun study” sounds a bit more like a “survey for our travel company,” but I’ll bite, what did they find?  They found in their question-asking that those who completed the questions came up with the answer that precisely three months and 14 days, on average, is how long it takes to get over empty nest syndrome.


Well, that is highly specific isn’t it?  So the great news is by your child’s winter break, if they are in college, you’ll be good to go.  And if you are in the demographic to take an exotic vacation, well, that is the perfect answer to fill your time.  Okay, okay, maybe I’m making fun of this a bit.  Yes, I am.  But I do find it amusing that I recommend participating in my GPS Support Flock Membership for a minimum of three months, as it is a great grounding start for you to move forward, so I could tell you hey, look at that, I know what I’m talking about because it lines up with this “fun study.”  Does anybody really know how long it is going to take you to adjust to the empty nest?  Nah, that is for you to figure out.  I do think three months is a nice benchmark, but if it takes you three weeks, or nine months, you are all good.  You are on your timetable.


The more important question is what will you do as you adjust to the empty nest?  Will you keep yourself busy doing things until you have found new things to busy yourself with, or will you use the time to spend with yourself, working on discovering who you are, learning to trust yourself as much as or maybe even more than the outside world?  Do you want to stay busy and just get through this, or do you want to dig in, do some work and have the tools to be empowered and effective in every area of your life going forward?


I can’t answer that for you, but I’m here if you decide to do the work.  Our GPS support flock is designed to navigate you through the transition in a way that levels you up for your next adventure in life, no matter what that is.  It’s analogy time.  You know how I love analogies.  I’m sitting outside on my deck as I assemble this episode.  I am staring at trees and the green leaves as they dance to the music the wind delivers.  Where I’m sitting also delivered this analogy, which I now share with you.


Imagine that you, before-the-empty-nest transition, are in a field.  You, after-the-empty-nest transition, are in another field.  Between the two fields is a fairly deep line of trees, that you only can navigate through on a forest path.  Can you see this?  Imagine you are in the Before-field, and you’re in a race to get to the After-field.  It is as if the moment you feel a bit of emotion about the empty nest that a timer goes off and you jump into a race to power through the forest path as fast as possible.  You run, maybe trip a few times, but you get up quickly and get to the other side.  In your mind, you have made it. 


Now imagine that the forest path is a bit of a training ground. It has lessons within it, knowledge, experience, observations about yourself that you need to know to function better in the After-field.  You missed a lot of that by ploughing through as fast as possible.  So, in another scenario, you know the After-field is ahead, but you take your time through the forest path.  You learn things about yourself; things like when it gets dark in the forest, your eyes adjust and you can trust your other senses; you discover markers along the path that guide you through the clearing; you stop completely a few times to consider the knowledge you’ve gained and how you may apply it on the next segment of your journey.  The length of your journey has also increased your stamina.  Eventually you arrive at the After-field.  Which method is more successful?


What if I tell you now that you’ll have future circumstances in your life that are similar to the empty nest.  The empty nest is a transition, after all.  We have transitions in our life all of the time, jobs, family members, moves, health status, and more.  So imagine that after getting comfortable in the After-field, your next life’s transition is at night through the forest path back to the Before-field.  The transition is the forest path.  The version of you who ran through the path as fast as possible in daylight is at a disadvantage compared to the version of you who learned the path well, learned where to stop, where to start, where to allow her eyes to adjust and so on.  So, I ask you again, which one is more successful?  Fun to think about it, isn’t it? 


My husband and I recently watched “The World’s Toughest Race.” What I found fascinating is that the leading teams had much less time to enjoy the beauty of Fiji than the teams that were a bit further back.  While yes, the teams who took days and days longer had their own set of disadvantages, it was only because the race had a timer, and would force them to ignore their own health, things like sleeping, first aid and eating well, you know, that kind of thing.  But if you took the timer off, and they could go at their own pace?  Can you imagine?


I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend three weeks slowly covering Fiji and having the time to take in all that it has to offer, especially after seeing the landscapes there, than to speed through and see it all as a blur in my mind.  Much of this comes down ultimately to being present in any given moment.  It slows everything down, allows drama to disappear and presents new opportunities to you in life because your mind is now clearer than it was before.


I didn’t forget. That original question: how long does empty nest syndrome last?  I can’t tell you.  Looking back, sure, three months sounds as good as anything, but I’d use it as a mile marker more than a stopwatch.  Go at your own pace, my beautiful friend, and learn lessons you may apply to the rest of your life’s adventure.  Future you is cheering you on, and I’m cheering you on.  As always, if you would like to dig into more detail with any of this, if you need accountability, need some cheering on, and want three months and 14 days of empty nest incredible resources, okay, I jest on the time.  But really, all of this is included in my GPS Support Flock.  We are waiting for you!



The questions I have for you in this episode are one, are you continually in a race to your next life’s next milestone?  And two, are you ready to slow down, dig deep and to be ready for anything?  My beautiful empty nest friend, I hope you are discovering how to become the CEO, the Conscious Effective Olympian of your life. Of course, remember you are amazing!  See ya!



Still listening? 

It sounds like I’m making big promises about the flock, huh?  Maybe I am.  All I can tell you is that the work I’ve done in my empty nest transition has served me well in my daily comings and goings, in my relationship with my husband, my daughter, in setting boundaries with others, and in truly trusting myself.  I can’t imagine living any other way now.  It feels like a superpower and I truly want everyone to feel this way.