July is Sandwich Generation month. According to a 2011 report from the Pew Research center, 30 million Americans are unpaid care-givers for their aging parents. And many of them are still raising children or supporting a boomerang kid.
Photo courtesy of social media arts – flickr.com
If you’re a member of the Sandwich Generation, you know that there’s a lot to chew on. When your secretary says there’s a nurse on the line, do you wonder if it’s the school or the cardiac care unit? It can be a struggle when you’re worried about your children, your folks, and how you’re going to pay for it all.
This month, when we honor those sandwiched between growing kids and parents in decline, it’s the perfect time to play catch-up with yourself. You can create new scripts instead of resorting to old thought patterns that bring you down. Here are 7 ideas that can help change your perspective and your quality of life:
Attend to your needs. Let frustration, exhaustion, or guilt wash over you but try not to give in to them. As you assume greater responsibility for your parents, make nurturing yourself a priority. If you’re feeling centered when your teens are pushing the limits, you’re better able to meet the challenges. You deserve to take better care of your emotional self.
Release emotions. If you have pent up feelings about particular family members, writing can be cathartic. It helps you regulate negative emotions and savor positive ones. Let go of judgment and you’ll open up to a deeper, more expressive experience. Read between the lines of your journal and trust what you discover – ways to resolve conflict, to gain closure, to find inner strength.
Seek solitude. Set limits by saying ‘no’ to others and ‘yes’ to yourself. A physical place with little opportunity for distraction will free up your thoughts. Try not to worry about mistakes from the past or what the future will bring. Carve out quiet time each day and discover what brings you peace of mind.
We want to hear from you – tell us about your greatest challenges and how you’re managing them. And please log on again on Wednesday for more practical tips about nourishing your family without staving yourself.