If you’re currently caring for young children and ailing parents, then you are part of the challenging and emotionally trying Sandwich Generation. The Sandwich Generation is a group of individuals who care for two separate generations in their family: youths and seniors. Those who are part of this generation often struggle to keep up physically, emotionally, and financially to meet the demands of their dependents, leaving their health and wellness by the wayside. Adding to this mental strain is the fact that many of these individuals work either part or full-time to contribute to the family’s ongoing expenses.
To say that this level of work, pressure, and expenditure of energy is exhausting would be an understatement. The truth is, those who are part of the Sandwich Generation are in need of constant support, either from other family members, caregiving services, or the community, as taking the workload on in its entirety is a recipe for burnout.
As they say, it takes a village to raise children, so what does it take to care for both children and parents? While friends, family, and support services are available if you ask for it, it’s valuable to direct a fraction of this energy towards looking after yourself.
Here are a few ways that the Sandwich Generation can come up for air.
Take a Break
Set the alarm or leave a strategically placed Post-it note somewhere to remind yourself to take fifteen minutes a day to do your own thing. Depending on your interests, these breaks could come in the form of making a cup of tea, playing a game on your phone, reading, calling a friend, listening to a podcast, or going for a walk.
Mindfulness, or mindful meditation, is the ability to recognize the experience you’re currently in and to pay attention to your surroundings, sensations, dialogues, and more. It’s the idea of trying to connect with the present, instead of thinking ahead to other things. Mindfulness helps reduce stress or worries about future tasks and events and allows yourself to take things one step at a time.
Schedule Time That Is All Yours
Periodically, schedule time that does not conflict with your family’s needs and do something you love. Plan to have the help available so that you can feel confident and relaxed about your absence. Use that time to take a day trip, go for a hike, visit friends, or fly solo to your favourite restaurant. For those in need of extra assistance, we can help prioritize your mental well-being by scheduling a meeting with one of our nurses to determine a care plan that’s right for you and your loved ones.
Scale Back Your Responsibilities
Sometimes you have to give a little to make room for more important things. Ask others to pitch in with the housework and cooking or put less of a priority on personal chores. Nowadays, hiring locals to help with tasks like yard work, cleaning, and childcare are accessible, as well as volunteers who offer companionship to aging adults.
The Sandwich Generation may arguably be the most stressed out demographic, which is why it’s important for the community to recognize when family members are performing this juggling act and pitch in to relieve them whenever possible.
Do you currently belong to the Sandwich Generation and struggle to maintain strength? What do you do to manage the stress? Leave your comments below.