These are tough times, especially if you’re a card carrying member of the sandwich generation. If you’re facing the challenges of parents growing older and kids growing up, don’t forget to nurture you. Because if you’re run down, who will care for your family? For a moment, enjoy this photo of the sunset on a Costa Rican beach. And tonight, take the time to relax and appreciate the sunset right outside your door.
Whether you’re hit in the face with a crisis, adjusting to changes in your identity or making a slow transition into the next chapter of your life, expect a cascade of feelings – anxiety, the desire to hold on, resentment, sadness, fear, eventually a sense of freedom. The emotional roller coaster is normal. But if you find the courage, you can’t help but grow from the challenges.
Past is prologue. How can you prepare for what lies ahead? As you look back, how have you dealt with major changes in your family life before? Think about what has worked in the past. Take the specific strategies that you learned from those experiences and, once again, apply the most effective ones to the challenges you are facing today. A positive attitude will motivate you to stay on track and ultimately reach your goals.
Find something to believe in. Is it strong faith, a spiritual path or confidence in yourself? Look at the ways you can continue to build on your internal and external assets. Evaluate your character strengths and how they have benefited you in other circumstances. Are you fiercely curious and determined to find a solution, no matter what? Discover the resources, such as caregiver programs or support groups, which will help you make decisions as you deal with the specifics of the family problems you are handling.
Recognize the importance of support. When you are facing what may be a difficult time, find a role model who encourages you. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Talking with others can clarify your needs as you work through these changes. Getting an objective opinion from a family therapist or life coach will provide you with further insight and direction.
Take a step back and you’ll see the situation from a different perspective. And listening to your inner voice can help you focus on what’s important as you integrate your values into how you live your life.
Sign the email list to the left of this post and receive a free monthly newsletter, “Stepping Stones,” full of practical tips to help you deal with your family in flux. You can also download a complimentary ebook about reaching for your goals.