Have you heard the saying “I have to get this monkey off my back”? It means to find a solution to end a problem that is pestering you.
As empty nest mom’s we are processing the internal awakening that our children are now young adults, and we worry. If they have gone off to college, they pretty much now have to be self reliant and they are on their own, and we worry. They have to go about getting their own basic necessities on their own ,albeit Mom and Dad supply the funds to do so =) , and we worry. Their belly gets full because they either cooked that box of macaroni and cheese, went out and found food, or rummaged for candy bar that had fallen under the bed but it wasn’t one of our home cooked meals, and we worry.
However, some mom’s may spend way too many hours worrying about their little fledgling that has flown the coop. It’s alright to have a little worry for your kids, I think that’s natural. But, if it is consuming you and making you become a mopey, sad individual then you need to get that monkey off your back!
Worry and fear are monkeys on your back and can soon lead the empty nest mom into a funk. Shoot, you may have entered your funk just as soon as your child drove away or you dropped them off at the college. Believe me Mom, you don’t want to have a funky monkey on your back!
Part of your empty nest survival is to get out of the funk of worry, and one of the ways to do that is to be helpful to someone else. It takes your mind off yourself and allows you to focus your energy towards another person. I call it “looking at life through a window, instead of looking at life through a mirror”.
When we reach out to help others, we are looking around us and looking for opportunities to help. It may be a kind word, it may be volunteering at an organization, it may be starting a birthday card ministry..anything…Something that gets your mind busy looking to and helping others. It’s one of the fastest ways to shoving that funky monkey of your back.
One of the best ways I found to get out of that funk was a challenge I did to show appreciation and gratitude to others. I took my calendar and wrote down a name on each day. Someone that I wanted to show appreciation to. It may be an old friend, a family member, the helpful grocery store cashier that always has a big smile on her face. I then took cards and wrote them a note of appreciation and mailed it to them. One new person each day.
Talk about an exercise in looking out the window to others! This kept my mind busy on finding folks and coming up with just the right written words to let them know exactly how glad I was that they were who they were. I remember one of the recipients letting me know that the card I sent her came on a particularly a day that she was particularly low and depressed herself. She said that card lifted her spirits for many days after..all because I took the time show some gratitude and appreciation.
So, just how funky IS your monkey! Ok, let’s do something about it!