How to Nourish the Sandwich That is You
A study by AARP and the National Alliance for Care-giving identified over 44 million Americans who are caring for ill adult family members, 60% of them women. According to the National Center on Health Statistics, about 80% of women in their 40's have children for whom they are still somewhat responsible. Given these numbers, many of you may well be asking yourself, how can I balance caring for my parents, my children and myself? Here are some tips to help you sustain and nourish yourself:
1. Rejuvenate your spirits – soak in a hot tub, curl up with a good book, watch a beautiful sunrise. Solitude provides a chance to emotionally reconnect. Gail recognized, "I'm working on being kinder to myself. I am committed to daily prayer, to meditation, T'ai Chi, and relaxation. As I rebuild inner harmony, I am freer to do what is right for me."
2. Don't become isolated from your friends as you add caring for your parents to your already busy schedule. Maintain contact with them even if you are not able to spend as much physical time together. Karen agreed, "The blessings of my family, friends and faith have sustained me. Old friends have been wonderfully supportive. Since I no longer live near some of them, e-mail has been my lifeline."
3. Let go of your negative feelings. Guilt is the most prevalent emotion of caregivers who worry that they're not doing enough. Remind yourself that you're doing what you can, given the realities of your life situation. Other times you may be feeling angry, resentful, or afraid of what's to come. Acknowledge these universal reactions as you work through them.
4. Feel more positive by practicing relaxation or meditation. Think about three pleasant things that happened each day. Every night, before you go to bed, write affirmations about what is good in your life. Alice mused, "I try to stay positive and optimistic. Self-pity is terminal for me. I work on waking up happy I'm alive, going to bed satisfied with what I've done, living authentically. 'She who laughs last, laughs best' is my creed and 'when you stumble make it part of the dance' is my motto."
5. Allow yourself the gift of laughter – rent a funny movie, find humor in daily life, or spend time with a friend who makes you happy. All of this helps you relieve stress, avoid burnout and brighten your outlook. Studies have shown that laughter triggers the release of endorphins and a good mood helps you develop creative solutions and make better decisions.
6. Ask for what you need from both professionals and family members. Don't assume that you have to do everything yourself. Talk openly and honestly about how you feel and encourage other family members to pitch in and do their share. Develop firm boundaries to protect yourself as you handle family challenges.
7. Give yourself credit for all you do in finding balance in your life. Acknowledge and integrate the compliments that others give you. Let yourself enjoy the gratitude and love that your parents and children express for you. Thinking about what she had accomplished, Harriet felt, "This has really tested my strength. I still feel overwhelmed. But now I know I have the endurance to withstand just about anything."
As you assume greater responsibility for your parents and maintain your role in your children's lives, enjoy the time and activities that allow you to take care of yourself.
(c) Her Mentor Center, 2006
Related Tags: stress, care, balance, meditation, relaxation, guilt, support, sandwich generation, baby boomers, laughter
Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D. and Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. are founders of http://www.HerMentorCenter.com, a website for midlife women and http://www.NourishingRelationships.Blogspot.com, a Blog for the Sandwich Generation. They are authors of a forthcoming book about Baby Boomers and family relationships. They offer free newsletter Stepping Stones. Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles
Recent articles in this category:
- Manners, Aikido, And Ki Moments
In a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, columnist Peggy Noonan discussed the disappearance of man
- How To Cope With Being Made Redundant
Being made redundant is not just about money and what money can buy. It is often the psychological e
- What Are The Side Effects Of Stress
We live in a fast paced world that never seems to sleep. For many people they try to cram as much ac
- Feel Better With Stress Management
Stress may be largely thought of as a mental problem,but it does contain its own material manifestat
- Help With Stress - A New Effective Technique For Fast Relief
There are many symptoms that sufferers experience when they are dealing with stress, too many to go
- How To Relief Stress When Faced With Challenges In Life
The myriad of issues facing us constantly mean we find a good avenue to relief stress. We live a lif
- Anxiety Disorders Symptoms - Treatment For Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorders symptoms are diverse and include things such as social anxiety, Post-Traumatic Str
- Overlooking Data Revenue Could Kill Your Current Campaign!
Most online marketers have access to data but many don't realize the true value in it. NOT monetizin
- The Five Step Approach To Managing Anger
If something happens that makes you feel angry (like not being allowed to go to a party until you cl
- How Kinesiology Can Help With Stress
Stress is one of the biggest problems in the western world and may be caused by a variety of differe
Most viewed articles in this category:
- No More Stress: Stress Relief Ideas
I hear it everywhere, read it everywhere-everybody's stressed out. The mad rush of daily activities
- Feeling Suicidal
The thought has crossed my mind but I am too optimistic about tomorrow and I can't handle my enemies
- Getting laid with organic
The ‘organic movement’ has now entered the bedrooms. Organic bedding and mattresses are
- Home surveillance equipment - options and tips
Our world is not such a safe place to live in. Crime and robbery is on the rise and hence more and m
- Stress - Is It Really As Bad For Your Health As You Think?
It has been known for many years that stress can affect your health but we are only now beginning to
- 7 Tips for Relaxation
In modern society there are so many pressures on our time and lives that it can seem difficult to be
- An Older Sister's Coping Secret
Being born as the oldest or older sister in a family seems to have a strong impact on our personalit
- Panic Attack Self Help
A panic attack is a time of powerful, often momentarily disabling, sense of extreme fear or mental d
- Crisis Intervention - What To Do in the Event of a Crisis? Part 2
A crisis is a window of opportunity for spiritual growth. You don't need to be a social worker or co
- How to Put Out Your Own Fire: Stressed Out Boomers
Do you experience the blahs? Are you having trouble shaking away the blues? Do you feel overwhelmed,