Curious About the Mysterious Word “Etterath”?

Do you ever wonder what word describes the feeling when all four children and their families go back home after Christmas, and suddenly, the house is so quiet?

As if a tornado had swept through your living room, and now… Silence. Absolute calm. 

I stumbled upon the perfect word for it:”etterath” (according to the ‘Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows‘*) (In German, I’d call it “Nachleer”.)

Who can relate?

It’s that strange sense of emptiness paired with relief, fatigue mixed with contentment. The feeling when the long marathon is finally over, with all the endorphins waving goodbye.

But how do you bounce back from etterath? Here are my top three quick fixes:

1️⃣ First off, be kind to yourself. Now’s the time to curl up with that book you’ve been eyeing or go out in nature. (I’ve been working on my “Sparks of English”, something I love doing!)

2️⃣ Second tip: Do a reality check! Sure, the silence can be uncomfortable, but remind yourself that it’s only temporary. Soon, the place will be buzzing again before you know it. (Easter, maybe?)

3️⃣ Last tip: Stay in touch! With a quick video call or message, it’s like your family never left. (Our go-to is WhatsApp. Works like a charm!)

Remember, etterath usually hits us after significant events or tough times. And guess what? It’s totally normal. Think of it as the calm after the storm.

And the best part? Each of us can learn to deal with this feeling and even turn it into a valuable experience!

Now it’s your turn. How do you handle etterath? Got any stories or advice?


* “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” is a project created by John Koenig. In this project, he makes up and explains new words for feelings that don’t have a specific word to describe them.


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Foto Christine Sparks

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