Family Relationships

Join other women in the sandwich generation - share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself.

Friday, October 31, 2008

In the midst of the serious issues Americans have been facing - financial turmoil, domestic violence, contentious elections, weather-related disasters, economic downturn, family pressures - along comes a holiday that allows - even encourages - us to ease up and have some fun.

Halloween isn't just for the kids - it's for you too. Let yourself enjoy the playful silliness of the day and evening. As a Sandwiched Boomer, usually bogged down by the responsibilities of caring for growing children and aging parents, grab the opportunity to set aside some of your worries today. Instead, let your childlike joy and enthusiasm come up to the surface. You'll be surprised at how much it lifts your spirits.

And remember, dark chocolate is full of anti-oxidants -so save some of the candy for yourself and have a happy Halloween!

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

As we move through these difficult financial times, the stresses we all face will be great. Emotions are likely to be close to the surface as uncertainty about the state of our economy continues. Be aware of any potential for domestic abuse in your family and pledge to learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones from the painful trauma caused by such violence.

Immediately let someone in authority know about the abuse, if it occurs. Have the phone number of the local police station available - and you can always call 911. If the violence is directed to your children or the elderly, know how to contact the agencies dealing with child welfare and elder abuse.

As a Sandwiched Boomer, exhausted by your responsibilities to the generations on both sides of you, remember that your decision to defend yourself is just as important. Although Domestic Violence Awareness Month draws to a close, remain vigilant about abuse and vow to do what you can to prevent it.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One survivor commented yesterday on the difficulty of finding the right time to leave her abusive spouse because of her children. When she did leave, 10 years ago already, she was able to move into a women's shelter and take stock of her life. Now she says with great emotion, "we haven't looked back."

The expectation is that the numbers of cases of domestic violence will go up as the stock market numbers go down. Abusers react to such external pressures by lashing out at those around them. Learn what you can do to protect yourself from domestic violence in these stressful times, particularly if you are a Sandwiched Boomer, caring for your growing children and aging parents. Here are two more actions to take to begin the process of strengthening yourself for that day when you will be able to leave.

Prepare to take care of yourself - emotionally, financially and physically. Find a therapist who will help you develop self-confidence and the life skills you may need to go solo. Take charge of your personal finances, open your own bank account, find a job if you are not already employed.

Have an exit strategy and plan what to do if and when you leave the relationship. Investigate available community resources and learn about shelters in your area. Have copies of documents you may need as well as extra clothes and cash; leave them with a friend or neighbor so you can retrieve them later.

Tomorrow we will give you some additional suggestions for how to move through the process of leaving an abusive partner.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A survivor of domestic violence commented that it was a very long and difficult process for her to get out of her abusive relationship. She relied on neighbors and her family but mostly on a women's shelter - where she went to live three different times during her tumultuous marriage. Finally breaking the cycle of domestic violence for herself, her advice is: "Get help. Leave. Leave in any way you can. Don’t go back. Period."

If you are afraid of your partner's anger and how he/she treats you, your children or elders under your care, your first responsibility is to protect yourself and loved ones from harm. Resolve to begin the tough process of freeing yourself. You may feel trapped and so deeply entrenched in the dysfunctional relationship that it seems you will never break away. You can make a start by taking the steps we will be presenting this week:

Insist that your partner participate in individual therapy as well as relationship counseling with you. The individual therapy should focus on areas such as anger management, cognitive behavioral change, insight, skill building, communication, stress reduction and control strategies.

Get help from friends and family members. Talk with them about your concerns and let them know what you need from them. Educate yourself and them about domestic violence. Tell them how to recognize that you or others may be in immediate danger and devise code words to inform them if you need help.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Lost in the headlines about the historic presidential election and the stock market meltdown is the fact that October is the month dedicated to becoming aware of and controlling domestic violence. The irony is that the financial shock waves that have been rocketing throughout the world are likely to increase the prevalence of abuse. The economic turmoil will undoubtedly lead to greater fears, pressure and anxiety within families facing financial collapse - and, in many cases, that stress will lead to battering. Sandwiched Boomers, already dealing with the enormous strains of caring for growing children and aging parents, may be especially vulnerable.

The Centers for Disease Control believes that 10% of the population is affected by domestic abuse, although it is estimated that only one-third of these cases are actually reported. It is the most common cause of injury for women ages 15 to 44 who suffer physical as well as emotional injury, such as depression, anxiety and social isolation. If you, or someone you know, are the victim of domestic abuse, this may be the time to begin the long process of extricating yourself.

Why do women remain in abusive relationships? Frequently, the reason is fear - they have been brainwashed by the perpetrator - convinced that they are helpless and cannot cope alone. Or they're afraid that the abusive partner will harm them or their children if they attempt to leave. Another justification is the victims' incorrect belief that the responsibility is theirs, that they have caused the abuse or that it is up to them to stay in order to keep the family together. Finally, because of a variety of psychological issues and complicated family dynamics, the defense mechanism of denial can remain strong. Domestic abuse victims often refuse to see themselves as battered and don't accept the fact that the perpetrator will continue the abusive behavior.

Stay in touch this week as we give you some options to help you take better care of yourself. And let us hear from you if you have dealt with this personal crisis before.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Kudos to all of you Sandwiched Boomers who rallied yesterday and made Carol White's book tour a virtual delight. And Carol's enthusiasm about how to give yourself the gift of travel virtually jumped off the screen.

Our readers posed practical and universal questions. How can I plan a trip when the world financial institutions are crumbling? How can I be away from family for such a long time? How can I be with my husband in the cramped quarters of an RV, 24/7 for a year? How do I begin planning? How can I learn more about specific places to visit? One reader commented, I think that making dreams come true through travel, exploration, new beginnings and adventure just add dimension to the psyche.

Carol, very generous with her time and information, wrote thoughtful responses to all. Her main theme was if you want it, you can do it. You've worked hard for many years, you deserve to have it your way now. It takes some work but, with focused planning, it will happen. And attitude and commitment matters a lot.

Carol is realistic, encouraging and down to earth. And the book is well worth reading. Carol's offer to come by for lunch if you're in her neighborhood in Oregon was truly the icing on the cake. You can learn more about Carol by visiting her website,

If you haven't already, scroll down to yesterday's "comments" at the bottom of the Virtual Book Tour post and read through them - you won't be disappointed!

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

We are delighted to have Carol White with us today discussing her book, “Live Your Road Trip Dream.” According to Carol this detailed, step-by-step manual of real-life information on organizing the trip you've always wanted to take will have you on your adventure in no time.

Nourishing Relationships: Whatever made you and Phil believe that you could actually take off and travel for a year?

Carol: Phil and I believe that if we want something bad enough, we can make it happen - kind of the "dream it, do it" philosophy - with a generous dose of hard work thrown in! We had retired in our early 50s and had been banging around traveling, playing with the grandkids, reading, working out and just generally catching our breath from a lifetime of work. We started playing with the idea of taking a really long trip and seeing all those places in the US that we had always wanted to visit and before you know it - we were off.

N.R. So, what did you discover along the way?

Carol: We found so many amazing things, both about ourselves and about our country. We found that most people everywhere are really good people with generous hearts and an uplifting spirit - regardless of age, income, geography or occupation. Happiness is truly within - not from what you have or do. We found that every part of our great country has something interesting - we visited all 48 of the contiguous states and all 43 of our National Parks in those states and the vastness and variety is just amazing. We found that the children inside us began to creep out of us about the fourth week and we had such a great time just being kids - doing what we wanted when we wanted and exploring so much along the way. When was the last time you had that kind of freedom? We found that you really can be with your spouse 24/7 and still like each other. Phil claims that the secret to doing that is learning to say "yes, dear" in a genuine and caring way. Smart man, I say!

N.R. What is your #1 piece of advice for others who might want to do this?

Carol: We say, set your date to leave now and begin working towards it. Whether it is a year away or ten - you'll get there if you have a goal. Write it down, look at it everyday. It was unbelievable to us how quickly things started happening that moved us towards our goal every day. The hardest thing was getting the family to believe that we were really going to do this. My daughter said "You can't do that - parent's don't run away from home for a year!" We said, "just watch us..." Actually, one of the things that we spend a lot of pages on in the book, is helping people think through what their obstacles are going to be - we all have them - and then how they might accommodate taking care of Mom, volunteering at the school, - whatever it is for you - in order to make your dreams come true.

N.R. How did all of this lead to your book?

Carol: People all along the way kept saying, "Oh, we'd love to do what you are doing, but what did you do about...?" And their laundry list of questions would begin. After hearing the same issues over and over, and knowing that we too had faced, and solved, those issues, we decided that maybe we should write down what we had learned for others who might be interested. On the waning month of the trip, we began to reminisce about all we had done and all we had learned and just started jotting down ideas of what would be important for other people to know. When we returned and did some research, we found that there weren't any books that address the issues from A-Z, so we decided to write such a book. One problem. Neither of us were writers, nor did we know anything about publishing. After a couple of forays into the traditional publishing world, we ultimately decided to form our own company (hey, we weren't doing anything anyway, right?) and learn to publish and market it ourselves. After four years, four printings, and two editions, were have become road trip experts and our book has become the award-winning, best selling, ultimate guide to road trip planning.

N.R. So what's next in your lives?

Carol: We are still traveling, talking to people about road tripping, and we are National Spokespeople for the RV Industry (RVIA) who does the "Go RVing" campaign. Even though you don't have to have an RV to do a trip of this type, it is certainly worth considering as the type of vehicle for your trip. I will be speaking December 6-7 in Scottsdale AZ at the "Festival of the Wise" ( - a boomer gathering that is shaping up to be a lot of fun. We've also spoken at the National AARP convention, been a speaker for AAA here in Oregon, been quoted and featured in hundreds of newspapers and magazines, and been on lots of radio and TV - we are having a great time. What we are finding now is that I'm being asked to do writing for other websites and magazines professionally and I have developed a book marketing consulting practice based on the success that I have had with our book. No matter what the next opportunity is - we'll be there to embrace it. Retirement is the greatest time in life.

We want to thank Carol for a lively conversation and great ideas. Now, Sandwiched Boomers, take a moment out of your hectic life - It's your turn to dream about your next adventure.

Click on "comments" below on the right, type in your questions and follow the easy directions: which are, after posting your comment, select "anonymous" as your profile if you don't have any of the others mentioned, click on "post," then type in the word verification. You may have to do the word verification twice, as there seems to be a glitch in the system today. Thanks!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

If Sandwich Generation responsibilites are stressful and you're feeling frustrated, a conversation with your husband has the potential to turn into a fullblown fight. Here are some ways to diffuse the emotions :

Stop what you're doing and close your eyes - breathe in deeply several times through your nose. Hold your breath for five seconds and release it through your mouth. Ignore any intruding and negative feelings. Notice how focusing only on your breathing makes you feel more refreshed.

Throw yourself into an activity that gives you immediate release - call a good friend and talk about how you're feeling, read the next chapter of an engaging book, take a run in the park or listen to relaxing music.

Distraction is a powerful tool and can be in whatever form best suits the character of your relationship. Try humor, be playful or turn the controversy at hand into a game of debate. As a result of developing these kinds of adaptive defenses, you and your partner will be able to enjoy deeper and more meaningful discussions.

Familiarize yourself with these techniques so they're accessible when you need them most. Rehearsing and having strategies at your disposal makes a difference in the outcome of your disagreements. As Russian writer Leo Tolstoy once said, "What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility."

A reminder to come on by tomorrow for Carol White's Virtual Book Tour here on the blog. She will be available all day, in virtual time, to answer your questions about her award-winning book, "Live Your Road Trip Dream."

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

As a Sandwiched Boomer with lots on your plate and the pressure that comes with that, do you sometimes feel overwhelmed and take it out on your partner? This sort of psychological flooding can lead to the 'fight or flight' response. When this process is activated in relationships, tensions are high and communication stalls. And there is a ripple effect - it becomes difficult to listen, to think clearly and certainly to resolve disagreements.

If you stay and 'fight,' you may release pent up feelings but will make comments you later regret. This kind of a catharsis can have detrimental and long ranging effects. Even though using 'flight' as a defense is self-protective and less emotionally damaging, in the end it resolves nothing.

Develop skills to soothe yourself and calm down your partner. This can help to minimize the buildup of negative feelings and resentments. You know yourself best, so incorporate the following strategies that will work for you.

Agree to stop arguing and postpone a difficult conversation until you are both feeling less upset. Or step away and put some distance between you and the situation. Take a short break and wait until you both are relaxed enough to return and listen to each other. Both comments on yesterday's blog made this point - let it go until you are emotionally ready to deal with the issue at hand.

While spending time apart, settle down by thinking more constructive thoughts, such as, his anger isn’t all about me, we really do love each other, this too shall pass, I’m upset now but I know we’re right for each other. What other 'mantras' can you repeat to yourself?

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Monday, October 20, 2008

OK. With all the responsibilities of a Sandwiched Boomer and the stress over the financial fallout, you and your partner have been driving each other crazy. How do you avoid doing permanent damage in the heat of the moment?

All couples get angry and have arguments, so know that you're not alone. But remember, when resolving conflict, to keep your words sweet - because you may have to eat them.

When in conflict, you can minimize emotional overload by focusing only on the issue at hand. And try not to blame your partner or be defensive. Research conducted by relationship experts indicates that one of the most effective ways to have control over the outcome of disagreements is to assume some personal responsibility and, in the end, be willing to negotiate a compromise. Fights don't have as much fallout if you and your partner have accumulated a shared positive reserve in your emotional bank account. That is, the more positive interactions and feelings, the less damage.

It seemed to Sybil that her parents were always angry with each other. She hoped they would get a divorce but they stayed together and just kept on fighting. She vowed that her marriage would be different. "I couldn’t wait to move out. Over the years I broke off several relationships that could have worked, but I was too afraid of ending up just like my parents. At the age of 42, after years of therapy, I finally felt secure enough to take the plunge. Every day, for the past seven years, I wake up and make a conscious decision to focus on the positives in my marriage.

Over the next couple of days. we'll be offering tips about how to 'fight fair.' And we welcome your ideas, as well.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

We finish this roller-coaster week just as we began it - drawing on the support of one another as we attempt to bring a sense of order to our lives. When you are feeling adrift amidst the economic turmoil, turn to what grounds you and work from there.

Robin has a lot on her mind and sometimes seems overwhelmed by everything she wants to accomplish. Don't get stopped in your tracks when you consider all you have written down on your "wish list." Take things one at a time and do what you can when you can. And don't beat yourself up.

Robin writes us, "I am psychologically 'consumed' with the following thoughts:

When will I be able to finish all my paintings that I should finally be able to do now that I have retired from teaching?
How will I survive this jumbo amortized loan I'm "stuck" with?
Should I sell my house in this poor real estate market? I will barely have enough equity to buy something else and I must have 3 bedrooms - 2 for myself and my daughter and one more for my studio and visiting children.
Will I have enough time left to finish my work - painting, drawing, illustrating, printmaking - or at least accomplish something each day in my studio?
How can I begin de-cluttering my house?
When do I make the time for meeting once a month with my teacher friends, retired or still working? Or to start a sewing class again?
How can I find a way to pay my bills and credit cards off?
Where does loving my children and dog fit in?
And what about time for just quietly staring in the morning and being inspired by the hills and mountain view from my backyard? Or listening to music? Or simply letting my mind wander?"

Use this weekend to find your own beauty and serenity as you discover your center and life force. I know I will - I am going to visit my grandchildren!

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

The continued market turbulence - another drop of over 700 points yesterday - has hit Sandwiched Boomers hard, especially those nearing retirement. Estimates by the Congressional Budget Office are that retirement plans have fallen by over 20% in value, raising anxiety levels and increasing feelings of vulnerability.

As a Sandwiched Boomer herself, Kate is worried about her aging parents and how she will care for them just as she is taking on new responsibilities helping to care for her granddaughter.

"Until a few weeks ago, I could hold it all together. But now it seems like everything is changing so fast. I'm not sure I can do it all. Change in general, getting older is really getting to me now - not so much health concerns as the reality of life moving on, children grown and not needing me as before and so on. It's just a strange stage for me, not so much bad, just different as I find my new place, my new roles as mom in law, grandma, and almost empty nester. To help me get through each day, I depend on prayer and my relationship with the Lord, a few supportive friends, a great husband."

Gwen is an empty nester and having a hard time coping alone with her recent health issues as she worries about how her finances will hold up.

"My biggest hardship is being alone and away from my children. I've been single now for almost 10 years but it hasn't gotten any better since I don't make friends easily. I wish I could, but that's just who I am. I love my job, but when I come home at night, it's a lonely place. I don't want to be a pest to my kids but they're my only lifelines."

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The market meltdown and mini-boomerang have left investors feeling insecure, not knowing what to expect next. Without a financial safety net, Sandwiched Boomers fear they face a turbulent future when crises arise. Will a divorce threaten your economic stability as well as your marital state? Can a serious illness cause more than physical pain as it limits your ability to work? These are the questions on our readers' minds.

Teri is concerned about the triple whammy to her security: illness, divorce, and financial vulnerability. She is feeling anxious yet is still able to draw upon her strengths as she tries to cope with her situation.

"I have chronic Lyme disease and have not been able to work for 10 years. My husband wants a divorce, and without the medical insurance from his job, I am "screwed." I can't afford rent or house payments let alone cobra coverage. What happens with alimony and health care in a divorce where the one being left behind is chronically ill? I am a fighter - I never give up. I try to focus on the moment, what I can do - not what I can't do - and I keep looking for a way to overcome hardships. I work to come up with creative solutions. I try to stay as healthy and busy as possible and get at least 8 hours of sleep.

Penny is already divorced and living with the financial collapse that caused for her. As she continues to put one foot in front of the other, she worries about what the future may bring.

"I've been divorced for about 5 years now, but I still don't feel "settled." I went from being a stay at home mom to having no income, no home, no medical insurance...nothing! I am a live-in nurse right now, which provides room and board, but at age 50, I know the time will come when I won't physically be able to do the work I do - or the condition of the woman I care for will become so bad that I won't be able to do all that she needs. I have no retirement or financial safety net. I save all I can, and on the weekends that my 2 teens aren't at my house, I clean other houses and put that pay into my savings. I really try not to get too crazy about my life or my future, I pray about it and just keep moving forward." 

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Investors in Wall Street were more optimistic yesterday as the buying pressure pushed the market up over 900 points, the largest one-day gain ever. Nevertheless, uncertainty about the current state of the economy continues to weigh on Sandwiched Boomers. Today we share more stories from readers who are looking for direction.

Barbara writes that she is concerned about making a career change in these uncertain times. She tries to gather information from people who work in the field she is interested in pursuing and she relies on her friends for support while she considers the change.

"I graduated from an Education program 10 years ago. Although I've worked in the position, I have never felt it was my calling. I have finally made the decision to leave teaching and want a career that pays more than I would make being a teacher. I would also like to enjoy my time at work and feel connected to what I am doing. I worry that I will not find a position because of my lack of experience and education in a new field. I worry that I will not make enough money to buy a home, enjoy life and retire comfortably."

Mary has spent years focusing on her family but now that she wants to look inward, she's not really sure how to do it. In the past, she often used humor to put things into perspective, but now her confusion about how to move forward is palpable.

"I'm a single mother of five children and frankly, the last 12 years have been spent surviving. I managed that and then some. As silly as this sounds, I have achieved all my long-term goals and the lack of new goals is almost as stressful as the journey here. I was so focused on stabilizing this family, I never thought about what comes after the right job, the right house, the right ratio of adults to children. I feel completely and utterly adrift. I've always been the most successful at coping by being able to triage incredibly well and only focusing on whatever crisis was going to cause one of the three H's, Health issues, Hunger or Homelessness. When it comes to things outside those three...I don't really know where to start."

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Monday, October 13, 2008

The effects of the financial crisis continue to spread across America and around the world - mortgages are labeled "toxic," banks are taken over, stock markets roller-coaster up and down with dizzying speed, credit is frozen, and bankruptcies are declared. How will all this affect you? No one can predict with certainty the long-term effects on the economy, but the pundits agree that coordinated efforts will be the best response to the meltdown.

In the spirit of joining together, this week we want to share with you some of the concerns our readers have expressed at our website, In these uncertain times, you may find yourself in the same situation. Today, we highlight two women who have been dealing with job loss.

Vera tells us she tries to accept what is going on, finds comfort in her spirituality and uses humor to help her cope. "I turned 50 in June. I Iost my job due to the owner selling and the new owner had his own team. It seems that everyone wants a fresh-faced college kid and experience means very little. I am searching and applying for jobs but going through a lot of disappointment. It is getting harder and harder to remain positive as I watch my retirement dwindle to almost nothing and still no job in sight."

Tina says she turns to her family and friends for support and tries to take better care of herself as she pursues her job search. "After losing my job last March, I don't know what to do. I would really like to totally change my career, but with little money and even less of an idea as to what I want to do next I am stuck! I tend to get depressed, but try to at least do some research and get information everyday. I know no one can fix this mess but me."

The process of women coming together and sharing their wisdom has long been recognized as a positive approach for achieving solutions. Do you have any advice for Vera and Tina? What worked for you when you were faced with job loss? Please let us - and your fellow Sandwiched Boomers - hear from you. We are all in this together!

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Friday, October 10, 2008

As the week draws to a close, Sandwiched Boomers continue to worry about the nation’s economic health and are anxious about their financial future. We hope that the following ideas will be helpful:

Recognize how you deal with stress related to money. Some people are more likely to relieve stress by turning to unhealthy activities like smoking, drinking, gambling or emotional eating. The strain can also lead to more conflict and arguments in relationships. If any of these behaviors are causing problems in your family, seek help from a professional for healthier ways to deal with your stress.

Times like this, while difficult, can offer opportunities for growth and needed changes. Try taking a walk—it’s an inexpensive way to get good exercise. Having dinner at home with your family may not only save you money, but help bring you closer together. Consider learning a new skill. Take a course through your employer or look into low-cost resources in your community that can lead to a better job. The key is to use this time to think outside the box and try new ways of managing your life.

Embrace simplicity and appreciate what you have. Enjoy your family and colleagues. Step outside on a cloudless night and look at the beautiful sky. Eat sandwiches on a park bench with a co-worker as you visit during lunch hour. Volunteer at a local homeless shelter or a boys and girls club.

Unrealistic expectations about things and people lead to disappointment. Built-in obsolescence makes you a slave to the latest style and the next upgrade. It never ends, and leaves you dissatisfied with what you have. In some situations try not to expect so much, and whatever comes your way will be a blessing.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

A recent American Psychological Association survey found that eight out of ten Americans say the economy is a major souce of stress in their lives. Nearly half are worried about providing for their families' basic needs.

As the economic turmoil continues, there can be a ripple effect. And you or family members may experience symptoms such as irritability, insomnia, lack of motivation and feelings of sadness. What follows are some healthy strategies to help you work your way through these tough times.

Take pause but don’t overreact or become passive. As you attend to what’s going on around you, avoid getting caught up in doom-and-gloom mentality. This can lead to high levels of anxiety and bad decision making. Trty to remain calm and stay focused.

Be proactive by identifying your financial stressors and making a plan. Write down specific ways you and your family can reduce expenses or manage your finances more efficiently. Although putting it down on paper can be worrisome in the short term, committing to a plan will gradually reduce stress.

Get professional support. Credit counseling and financial planning can help you take control of your money situation. If you continue to feel overwhelmed, talk with a mental health professional who will help you understand the emotions behind your financial worries and show you ways to manage your stress.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

With the wildly fluctuating stock market - down well over 10% in the past five trading days - Sandwiched Boomers are looking for answers. Retirement funds are in jeopardy. And many are wondering how they will pay college tuition for their children, help their parents on a fixed income and ever be able to retire.

At times when we have no roadmap, avoid a panic reaction. It's important too rely on common sense. And a positive attitude is paramount. Rather than seeing the glass as half empty, turn your challenges into opportunities. Release your mind from worries, most of which likely won't happen. Take it one day at a time and accomplish what you can without dwelling on the 'what ifs.' Worrying takes a lot of time and energy – it's counterproductive and destroys your peace of mind.

If you're feeling gloomy in these roller-coaster times, invite friends over for a potluck dinner and have everyone bring their signature dish. Turn the conversation into a revival of spirit and share valuable information. Discuss innovative ways to save on groceries, to use less gas, to network for a new job. The support of family and friends may be the most significant factor in getting us through rough waters.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

No one can deny that the national conversation has become depressing. Sandwiched Boomers, with the responsibilitty of caring for their children and parents, are scared about the deep economic propblems. Some find it difficult to get up in the morning when all they hear about is tumbling home prices, an increase in unemployment and the falling stock market. Pundits exclaim that the American dream is dying on the vine and that we are all suffering from bankrupt spirits.

Even though our country is going through a very difficult time, the worst thing to do is panic. Cultural pain is common and normal in crisis and, as a nation, we are now being adversity-tested. After all, isn't necessity the mother of invention? As you rise to the challenges this week, we will be offering tips to help you develop your inner strength and resiliency.

You know about physical fitness. Apply some of these principals to becoming more psychologically fit. Examine your usual pattern and begin an emotional training program. In addition to paying attention to nutritious eating and regular exercise, examine the negative concerns that get your attention. Notice how dwelling on these make you feel worse about yourself and the situation. It's time to stop these thoughts. And begin to discover the active steps you can take to change them from negative to more positive - or, at least, find ways to neutralize them.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

These are unprecedented times. From the breakdown of traditional financial institutions to the government's 700 million dollar bailout, Americans don't know how to respond. Some are in denial, not fully understanding the problems and consequences. Others are angry at what they see as a "bailout for the fat cats" and an award for recklessness on Wall Street. Still others feel panic about the gloomy economic forecast. These are all typical emotional reactions to loss. And for Sandwiched Boomers, many financially responsible for their children and aging parents, they see their dream of a comfortable retirement slipping away.

The new Pew Research Center's Social and Demographic Trends survey measured dissatisfaction and pessimism in close to 2500 participants. The data indicates that Baby Boomers worry more than any other generation. And a recent study from the University of Chicago suggests that the boomer generation has never really been happy. One hypothesis is that Boomers grew up wanting to make the world a better place -and it's not.

We will be discussing this topic on our blog posts all week. So weigh in. Let off steam - and share your concerns and ideas with our readers.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

These days and weeks of economic freefall are stressful for even the calmest of us. As a Sandwiched Boomer you face the additional challenges of caring for your aging parents and growing children. Now is the time to make the commitment to take better care of yourself as well.

Spend time relaxing and rejuvenating as you develop stress relievers to counteract burnout. Take better care of your body through exercise, good nutrition and proper rest. Attend to your mind and your spirit. Practice techniques of deep breathing, relaxation or your own form of meditation Set aside quiet time and do what it is that brings you personal pleasure.

As you begin this journey, give yourself the priceless gift of a life less stressed. Remember to pack your patience, as change is a process that takes time. Make a decision to leave behind the emotional baggage that is too large to fit in the overhead compartment. You'll soon discover that the small changes you make allow more peacefulness to emerge in your hectic life. Take heart as you embrace and celebrate the simplicity of the present moment.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

As you begin to feel more confident about yourself and the decisions you make, you can decrease some of the stress you are feeling as a Sandwiched Boomer.

Take control of what is within your reach. And have the wisdom to know the difference between what you can manage and what you can't. In addition, recognize that you don't have to do it all alone. Make the decision to ask for help whenever you need it.

Work on feeling more empowered and get involved in a culture that supports this. Be grateful for what you have by getting outside yourself. Put the focus on others in need – become a mentor to at-risk youths or share your skills and experience with a homeless shelter.

Tomorrow we will finish our tips for managing the stresses in your life - vital in this time of economic uncertainty.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

When stress is building, it may be time for you to make some changes in the way you address the challenges you are facing - be they the financial chaos around you or the needs of your family-in-flux.

When you feel perplexed, it's fine to get input from others yet rely on your own instincts. You may not realize your hidden internal strength, so trust yourself as you look inside for answers. Emotional discomfort can be a welcome opportunity – it serves as an invitation to grow and leads to greater self-understanding.

Bring order into your life by prioritizing and organizing – start keeping records by making lists and folders or using a calendar or blackberry. Enjoy greater peace of mind as you gain power over your finances and pay off your debts. Remember that your time is valuable. So set limits by saying 'no' to others and 'yes' to yourself.

As a Sandwiched Boomer your energies are often directed to caring for your growing children and aging parents. Today you need to give yourself permission to focus inward and use your power to de-stress your own life.

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