Family Relationships

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

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Sandwich Generation and the State of the Union

U.S. President Obama delivers his first State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington

Comments that have been logged onto our blog clarify that while we, and others, use the term Sandwich Generation, we are not actually referring to a real generation but rather to a stage of life in which any generation is stressed by caring for growing children and aging parents at the same time.

Yet the predicaments of the Sandwich Generation are even more relevant in today's world. Between 40 and 50 million Americans are now acting as unpaid care-givers to their aging parents, with one-third of them still raising children. And, in the average case, it is a working woman in her late 40's, stressed by trying to do it all.

Sandwich Generation issues have been exacerbated due to a combination of circumstances: since the last decade or two of the 20th century, couples have been starting their families later in life; adolescence has expanded at least into the twenties, abetted by helicopter parents and with boomerang kids returning home, requiring financial assistance in a bad economy; seniors have been living longer, often with chronic illnesses - and with close to one-half of the workforce being women, we are often pulled and pushed by both ends of our family while having little time, energy and financial resources to care for ourselves while reacting to the needs of our loved ones in this recession.

While the lead-up to the State of the Union address indicated that a key theme would be helping the Sandwich Generation, President Obama made only a modest set of proposals to address these issues for middle-class families: increasing the child-care tax credit and capping student loan repayments.

It is expected that, in the next month, he will advance two additional proposals based on Vice-President Biden's task force: additional child-care funding for low-income families and increasing funding for programs assisting people caring for aging family members - through respite care, counseling, training and referrals - and for services allowing those elders to remain in their homes longer.

We can only hope that there will be assistance forthcoming to Sandwich Generation members, reducing their stress and anxieties as they care for their families-in-flux. To read about how to ease yourself into the role of care-giver for an aging parent, click on the post title above to take you to our website, and our article, How to Shift from Daddy's Girl to Dad's Caregiver.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Coping with Stress and Anxiety

Senior woman on the beach

You may be feeling anxious because of the economic meltdown, security fears brought on by acts of terrorism or natural disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti. Whatever the reason for your high level of stress, if you want to keep it in check, try on the following tips to restore a sense of hope to your life:

Use relaxation techniques. Set aside time for a regular routine of deep breathing, guided imagery, meditation, or other stress reduction methods to alleviate your feelings of anxiety. Decide to put off worrying - much of what we fear never actually happens anyway.

Focus on what you can control in your life and what you can accomplish, not what you can't. Let go of negative thoughts and unrealistic expectations. While you often can't control circumstances, you can control how you handle them. Clearly define your goals or aspirations and keep focused on them. Make something positive come out of a negative situation just as people across the world did in providing aid to Haiti after the devastating earthquake there.

Draw on your strengths. Use those you have relied on in the past as well as those you have developed more recently. Brainstorm new ways to apply the abilities you have in a novel way as you create new opportunities for yourself.

Be patient with yourself. Know that you will recover your balance and serenity at your own pace. As long as you keep moving forward, you will eventually reach your destination.

To learn more about strategies to help meet the challenges of the Sandwich Generation, visit our website, And click on the post title above to be linked to our article there, Top Ten Self-fullness Tips for Sandwiched Women.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reducing Stress and Anxiety

Reese Witherspoon Runs a Chat With the Ladies!

Seeing pictures of the people of Haiti - or those of Kabul or Iraq or the unemployment lines in America, take your pick - you may be filled with deep emotions yourself. How you deal with this stress and anxiety depends on many factors in your life, especially what has worked for you in the past. When you've felt frustrated and helpless before, what has helped you regain a sense of control? Was it humor or redirecting your focus or occasional distancing or rededication or creating a Plan B - or another strategy that worked for you? Here are some activities that you can try on for size to help you in the process of coping today:

Talk about your thoughts and feelings with family and friends and reach out to others in your support system. Be open to asking for help and validation of your emotions. You may want to consult a professional counselor for a non-judgmental ear and help in sorting out your concerns. Start a journal to aid you in the process of confronting your anxiety.

Maintain balance in your life between personal needs, work, and your family obligations. Don't overcommit yourself even as you retain a normal routine. If you are a Sandwiched Boomer, plan to carve out some special time for yourself even in the midst of caring for your growing children and aging parents. Remember to be open to the healing effects of laughter.

Exercise moderately several times a week. Find an activity that you enjoy and will stick with - walking with friends, keeping fit through dance or yoga classes, training at the gym. Get enough rest and sleep to allow your body to recover from the stresses of the day.

Eat sensibly, following a balanced diet of healthy foods rich in nutrition that serve as a natural defense against stress. Avoid the use of drugs and alcohol to self-medicate and limit your use of sugar, caffeine and cigarettes to avoid their contribution to your jitteriness.

Tomorrow we'll share several more techniques to help you manage your anxiety and high levels of stress. If you click on the post title above, you can read one of the articles on our website,, for some additional tips, Five Ways Sandwiched Boomers Can Think Positive in Tough Times.

Friday, we'll be weighing in on tonight's State of the Union speech and its theme of assisting the Sandwich Generation.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A New Age of Anxiety and Stress

Young woman biting lip, close-up

The mid- 20th century was known as the age of anxiety - spawning even an epic poem, a symphony and a ballet bearing that name. If you were a Baby Boomer growing up in the '50's, you probably learned to 'drop and cover' or even had a family bomb shelter to help cope with the existential fears of nuclear holocaust.

Now into only the first ten years of the 21st century, anxiety and stress levels have risen again at a monumental rate. A national health survey found that 75% of the general population experiences at least some stress every two weeks, with half of these rated at moderate or high levels. Our fears about terrorism, financial collapse, and global warming are mixed with our reactions to the devastating effects of natural disasters - earthquakes, flooding, hurricanes, and tsunamis.

The result of these real catastrophes is magnified by the 24/7 coverage of them by cable and Internet news services, leaving many of us feeling anxious, stressed and emotionally exhausted. As uncomfortable as you may feel, what you are experiencing is a normal response to an abnormal situation. Stress is a reaction by the body to an enormous demand placed on it. And those in the Sandwich Generation know about the extreme pressures of caring for their growing children and aging parents - all the while trying to stay above water.

There is a wide range of reactions and symptoms of stress and anxiety. Have you noticed any of these yourself?

Physical reactions such as: sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, headaches, body tension - being just plain jittery with a pounding heart and a knot in your stomach;

Emotional responses such as: anxiety, fear, frustration, feelings of vulnerability - the recognition of being unable to control the situation;

Cognitive changes such as: confusion, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, hyper-vigilance - finding you really can't think as clearly as before;

Behavioral reactions such as: isolation, irritability, restlessness, impatience, aggressive behavior - avoiding or pushing away friends and family.

If you are dealing with these kinds of symptoms, join us this week as we share some strategies and techniques for resolving your stress levels and reducing your anxiety. And click on the post title above to take you to our article, How to Turn a Crisis into a Challenge, on our website,

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Anxiety and Hope for the People of Haiti Now

Thousands Still Displaced As Recovery Efforts Continue In Haiti

The weekend global telethon, Hope for Haiti Now, telecast on all major networks as well as the Internet, brought the tragedy into sharp focus. The news about the aftermath of the earthquake is heartbreaking and the vivid pictures tragic. As in grieving any loss, the people of Haiti are experiencing a wide range of emotions. Initially, many were grateful for surviving the catastrophe. But now they are faced with the realities of all they have lost – family, friends, shelter, food, clean water and a sense of security. And feelings of shock are giving way to disappointment and anger that relief efforts are so slow.

When we see the degree of devastation, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. What can we do to help? When others experience the effects of the violent forces of nature, we can bring some control to this event - and to our own feelings - by our actions and reactions. Even though we are out of harm’s way ourselves, we can understand the need for nurturing in the midst of the dramatic losses our Caribbean neighbors are facing.

Americans, and others across the world, have been offering aid at an unprecedented rate. But the recovery, both physical and emotional, will take a long time. You can contact the Red Cross or other service agencies to learn what you can do to support the Haitians. Or click on the post title above to be linked to the Hope for Haiti Now website. Any assistance is valuable to begin the process of rebuilding body and spirit. In joining together, we can be a part of bringing some help and hope to the Haitian community.

All this week we will be looking at ways to reduce the stress and anxiety we feel when we are faced with these kinds of uncontrollable situations. Tune in tomorrow for a look at some common symptoms you may be experiencing.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sandwich Generation: Resolve to Pay Attention

Whether you're a member of the sandwich generation or not, changes in your love relationship are like any personal change - to be successful long term, you need a clear idea of what you want and a good reason to keep going. What follows are some final tips to help you achieve your 2010 relationship goals:
Side view of young man giving young woman piggyback

Celebrate good times. Respond enthusiastically when something positive happens to your partner. Make the most of it by asking relevant questions and being complimentary. Studies have found that celebrating positive events predicts greater relationship satisfaction than commiserating over negative ones.

Stay engaged. It's easy to get stuck in a routine and not notice the changes going on around you. Paying attention to what's different about your partner may surprise you, as well as increase your attraction, motivation and connection.

Bring out the best in each other. Studies show that when partners more closely resemble each other's ideal selves, they fare better as a couple. List your personal goals and the qualities you like most in your significant other. Chances are there's an overlap between the self you aspire to and the aspects of your partner that you appreciate the most.

Although improving your partnership may seem overwhelming sometimes, it's really the little things that matter. Expensive gifts and exotic trips are nice, but they're not as meaningful in the long run as simple acts of gratitude and kindness. Long after you've opened the last present or downloaded the vacation photos, that reservoir of goodwill will keep nourishing your relationship. Commit to sustaining your 2010 love resolutions – you won't regret it.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Questions and Answers: "Too Close for Comfort"

Plenty of sandwiched boomers tuned in yesterday to take part in our interview with Susan Shaffer and Linda Gordon. We had a spirited discussion with the authors of Too Close for Comfort: Questioning the Intimacy of Today’s New Mother-Daughter Relationship. Our thanks to Susan for being so generous with her time – here are a sampling of questions and her responses:

Several Readers had specific questions about their relationships with their daughters.

Reader: I hear you! Some days my 20 year old daughter and I are so close and others it's as if she hates my guts. If I try to talk about what's going on, it gets worse. What can I do short of keeping my distance and letting her work it out?

Susan: It is important as our daughters grow up to let them start coming to you for advice. This is the time to step back and practice active listening. This approach gives our daughters the message that we have confidence in their ability to take care of themselves. At the same time, we support them in a healthy way for them to begin to chart their own course.

Reader: My daughter used to be my best friend but since she left for college in the fall I hardly hear from her. What's going on? Sylvie

Susan: Your daughter's job is to become more self-sufficient. Our job is to give her the opportunity to do so. We also learned from working with mothers and daughters that they can't be best friends because the relationship is never equal. You can share characteristics of friendship, enjoying each other's company, empathy, loyalty, caring, etc. but mother always trumps best friend. Your daughter will come back to you. Also, think of this as good news. She is adjusting well to her new environment. If she was unhappy, you would hear from her more frequently!

Reader: Deep in my heart I know my relationship with my 29 year old daughter isn't that healthy. She comes to me instead of to her husband or friends. But I love what we have together. Is it really so bad?

Susan: It's all about balance. However, once your daughter gets married, her husband should be her first go to person. It is important that they establish a solid foundation for their marriage. You may have to help her to do this by encouraging her to go to her husband as her "first responder." This is not an easy transition, but it is an important one in order for your daughter to create her own family

Another talked about how her relationship with her daughter changed when she had a daughter of her own.

Reader: My daughter and I went through some rough times during her adolescence & early college years. But now that she has a daughter herself, she understands & values our relationship very differently. as do I. Though she has moved far away, we are closer in heart--something I never had with my own mother.
I profoundly miss my daughter's and granddaughter's almost daily physical presence in my life,but I still feel an incomparable connection. I am grateful that we have achieved a healthy balance that transcends the miles.

Susan: I am so happy to hear that you and your daughter have remained close even though you don't live close by. One daughter said to us that after she had her first child she forgave her mother for everything!

Others commented on the mother-in-law role.

Reader: I don't have any daughters - only sons, and the relationships with them are complex in their own ways too. When they married, I hoped to have some of the feminine friendship closeness you describe with my daughters-in-law. But that hasn't really happened. Any thoughts about the appropriate level of closeness with DILs?

Susan: I don't think there are any easy answers with in-laws, whether they are male or female. A new person into the family changes the dynamics and brings a different lens to the family system. This can be very helpful in forming close relationships and it can also make it difficult to be close. There isn't one type of appropriate relationship. It depends upon the personalities, interests and sharing similar values. What we have seen is that over time and with great patience and shared experiences relationships grow and you can have a positive friendship with your daughters-in-law. Don't give up!

Reader: All of us Moms should often remember that the mother-in-law is NOT the only person who should wear beige and zip it up. Savtie

Susan: Dear Savtie, In our book we write about the benefits of duck tape! I don't know about wearing beige...not my favorite color.

Provocative questions and thoughtful answers, don't you think? You can order Susan's and Linda's book through And click on the title of this post to learn more about the other books these smart women have written.

If you want more of these kinds of events, please add your comments here or email us at And visit our website by clicking on the first link on the left below, "Her Mentor Center". You can also sign up for our newsletter, Stepping Stones, by clicking on the link below marked "FREE Newsletter." We publish a monthly newsletter that focuses on helpful strategies for coping with children growing up and parents growing older.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sandwich Generation: Resolve to Be Present

As Sandwiched Booomers caring for a family in flux, are there times when you're preoccupied and distracted? And you and your love relationship take a back seat? You may even accept it as the new normal, but it doesn't have to be this way. The following tips can help energize you and your partner:

Express your gratitude often. Remembering to thank your spouse may sound simple but it helps bring to mind their good qualities. Compliments can serve as a positive reinforcement at times when you may be taking each other for granted.
Couple Playing Footsie
Stay connected. A gentle touch or a quick hug can release oxytocin, a hormone that facilitates bonding as well as reduces blood pressure and stress levels. When you're feeling tense, an affectionate moment can help you feel closer, loved and more relaxed.

Pay attention to you. Investing in your own happiness will take the pressure off the relationship as the main source of your wellbeing. Take positive action in your own life. You'll have a better attitude, be more interesting to your partner, and your relationship will reap the dividends.

If you want more ideas about how to strengthen your relationship, click on the title above. And log on tomorrow and Friday for our monthly Virtual Book Tour - we'll be featuring Susan Shaffer and Linda Gordon and their book about mother/daughter relationships, "Too Close for Comfort." On Saturday we'll finish up this series of posts on love relationship resolutions.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sandwich Generation:Resolve to Get Along

As members of the Sandwich Generation, your plates are already full with responsibilities for your growing children and aging parents. But remember that you and your love relationship needs nourishment too, especially if you're feeling stressed. When you're not sure how to handle it, these tips may help you out:

Compromise works in most conflicts. Be direct, yet open and flexible as you make your way through disagreements. Putting yourself in your partner's shoes and truly understanding the other point of view can resolve a conflict more easily and quickly.
Cyclists Watching Sunset from Beach
Inject humor and laughter. Lightheartedness can be one of the first casualties of a busy life. Keep fun alive by joking around or using pet names. Making time to be playful with each other can lead to greater intimacy.

Do you want more ideas? Clicking on the title of this post will take you to our website,, and an article about how Sandwiched Boomers can fight fair.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

The Sandwich Generation: 2010 Relationship Resolutions

For the past couple of weeks, we've been blogging about Sandwiched Boomers and the different aspects of the New Year's resolutions they make. So now that we're well into January, how are you doing? You know, setting goals in the love department are just as important as the ones about losing weight or getting your finances in shape. So even though you may already be working toward other goals, don't put your relationship on the back burner.
Young Couple Holding Hands at Street Cafe
Instead of accentuating the positives, the advice from couples' research often focuses on minimizing the negatives - don't nag, don't withhold sex, don't overreact, don't try to control. But why not focus your resolutions on the do's instead of don'ts? Positive emotions can open you up to new possibilities.

If you want to actively enrich your love relationship, log on all week - we'll be sharing practical tips on how to go about it. And click on the title above to get started - it will take you to and an article about how Baby Boomers can re-examine their relationships.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Creating Successful New Year's Resolutions in 2010

Squash Player Holding Up Trophy

Now that you have decided that you are ready to make a change, planning how to achieve your New Year's resolutions is crucial. Acknowledge your role in the process and focus on the strategies that work for you. As you use these tips to turn your goals into reality, enjoy the satisfaction that comes from your success in 2010 and throughout the decade.

When you click on the title above, it will take you to the Top Ten Self-fullness Tips for Sandwiched Women, an article in the Nourishing Relationships section of our website, Give yourself permission to take better care of yourself - it will give you the balance you need to make your New Year's resolutions a reality.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tracking Progress in Your 2010 New Year's Resolutions

Four successive views of farmer growing line graph plant

Today we give you our final tips to help you keep your 2010 New Year's resolutions.

Give yourself credit for what you are accomplishing. You deserve rewards all along the way - for making the decision to change, for taking the first step, for achieving each objective. Acknowledge the difficulty of your mission and congratulate yourself when you reach your goal.

Accept that you are not perfect and that you will fail sometimes. Your path with likely not be a straight line, rather one with several ups and downs. Make a Plan B to use when you can't proceed as you originally intended. Don't be defeated by your slip-ups. They are not a reason to give up on yourself or your goal. Instead, get back on track and think about what you have learned from your mistakes.

You have been working to accomplish the goals you set for yourself in 2010. Click on title above to take you to a article, How to Inventory Your Assets. It will help you focus on your personal strengths and the resources that help you move forward.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Moving Toward the Goals of Your 2010 New Year's Resolutions

Senior women on cycling machine in gym, smiling, portrait

Now that you have begun, here are some more tips to keep you moving toward your goal of achieving your 2010 New Year's resolutions.

Continue taking small steps. They will eventually get you where you want to go if you keep moving forward. Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to make strides that are too difficult. Continue to set short-term objectives as you progress toward your long-term goal. You may need to refine your strategies along the way as you discover what works best for you.

Keep track of what you are doing. Keep a daily journal focused on how you are implementing your behavior change. Record the pattern of your scheduled walks. Develop a detailed budget and observe how you are spending cash. Write down what you eat every day to give you insight and motivation.

Buddy with a partner. Having someone share your journey makes the process more enjoyable. Join a support group where you can talk about your frustrations, particularly if you are working on abusive or self-destructive behavior. Talk with friends and family about your progress or lack of it. See a professional or look to the Internet for information and resources.

For more encouragement, click on the title above to take you to our article, How to Turn a Crisis into a Challenge at It will guide you and other Sandwiched Boomers in setting up some steps to take when you are making changes in your life.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Taking Steps Toward Your 2010 New Year's Resolutions

Overweight Woman Holding Shopping Basket Filled with Vegetables

Do you feel stuck in your tracks when you want to get started on fulfilling your New Year's resolutions? Here are some suggestions to get you and other Sandwiched Boomers moving in the right direction.

Decide on a realistic goal. Make it a specific one you can attain. If you want to be more physically fit, commit to taking a 30-minute walk three times a week. If weight loss is your goal, resolve to lose two pounds a month so that you are 10 pounds lighter by summer.

Make a public commitment. Tell others about your decision. They will support you and encourage you to stay with your plan. Make a pledge to take yourself seriously as you change your behavior and life style.

Begin, even if it is not an ideal start. Often the hardest step to take is the first one. Rather than waiting until the timing or situation is perfect, jump into your new routine. As Confucius observed centuries ago, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

To understand more about why making any change is so difficult, click on the title above to read the article at, Sandwiched Boomers: 7 Tips on Fighting Inertia. It will give you more ideas about how to give yourself the boost you need to begin.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Recommitting To Your 2010 New Year's Resolutions

Portrait of a group of women posing and smiling

With 2010 now begun, many of us are recommitting to New Year's resolutions based on a firm decision to improve the quality of our lives. If you have made your own personal promises - still an honored ritual at this time of year - how do you avoid another universal tradition - breaking them? We all know that it's easier to say you are going to give up a bad habit than to actually stick to your new plan.

You may have resolved to finally lose the ten pounds that have been plaguing you for years, to start an exercise program you can stick to, to let go of your self-destructive smoking, drinking or over-spending habit. Or, perhaps you're one of the 50% of Americans who vow to spend more time with family and friends in 2010. So where do you begin? And how do you increase the odds that you will continue? With a new decade, you have a clean slate, ready to take your dictation.

Click on the title above to take you to our article, New Year's Resolutions for Sandwiched Boomers. It gives you 9 ideas about setting New Year's resolutions to reduce pressures for members of the Sandwich Generation. And tune in this week as we give you some tips to help you accomplish your goals.

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Friday, January 08, 2010

Getting Help for SAD and January Depression

Peeking out the window

If you've tried the tips we've been talking about this week and nothing seems to help, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or a clinical depression. Consult your physician or a specialist in psychological disorders for constructive input about these conditions.

A diagnosis of SAD may be made when your mood, energy level and motivation are all down during the winter months. Several techniques can help you cope with this disorder: (1) get out into the sun, preferably for at least one hour per day of natural light; (2) keep your home window coverings open to the light and your office well lit; (3) if your symptoms continue, your physician may prescribe photo therapy with a special light, typically for an hour a day.

If your despair continues, or you have the signs and symptoms of clinical depression, see a psychologist or psychiatrist for evaluation and treatment. You will benefit from a professional's input as you learn to challenge your negative thoughts and gain skills to manage your feelings. Your doctor can discuss with you whether antidepressants will be of assistance in your treatment plan.

Worried Girl

For more information about coping, click on the post title above to be linked to our website, and How to Manage Depression Short of Having Octuplets. And plan to stop by next week as we go over the steps for creating a set of realistic New Year's resolutions that you and other Sandwiched Boomers can achieve.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Optimize Your Opportunities after January Blues

Portrait of a woman holding a sheet of paper and smiling

Not only are we into a new month and a new year, but also into a new decade. What will the '10's bring for you? Now is the time to set the tone for this time in your life.

Turn crises into challenges and challenges into opportunities. Don't become overwhelmed. Instead, use this time to research things you want to do and changes you want to make. Remember that although you can't control what happens to you, you can control how you handle it. Think about the consequences of your decisions before you make a change. If you are unhappy with your current job, consider what you can do to make it more interesting and engaging.

Express gratitude for what you have. It may sound simple, but as you've heard many times, "Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have." What are the things and people in your life that you are grateful for? You'll find that when you increase your awareness of these positives, you'll be less likely to experience feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.

Look outside yourself to those in need. Studies have found that when you perform acts of kindness and giving to those who have less, you feel happier yourself. Around the holidays numerous organizations sent out requests for financial donations but all year long they need volunteers to help staff their programs. Consider what best fits your interests, abilities and schedule - then make your contribution with your feet.

To cope with financial issues, make plans that won't further impact your budget or credit card debt. In the current recession, many families are enjoying activities such as potlucks with friends, visits to local museums, taking daylight walks, borrowing a good book from the library. Make it a game to be creative in your quest for low-cost entertainment.

For some pointers on how to encourage and express gratitude, click on the post title above. It links you to our article, Five Steps to Gratitude Despite a Tough Economy, found, among others helpful to Sandwiched Boomers, on our website,

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Being Resilient after January Blues

Three senior women in garden looking at laptop screen, smiling

Just as Janus, the Roman god of doorways, had two faces, one looking back and one forward, you too have the ability to make choices for your future, using the wisdom you have gained in your past.

Draw on your strengths. What worked for you before when you were feeling miserable? What core values served as your guide as you coped with frustrations and disappointments? Use these again as you face challenges in January and watch your resiliency come to the forefront. Don't hesitate to call upon the resources that are there for you.

Notice the control you do have over how you feel. When you change your thoughts from negative to positive ones, see how your emotions change. Make a decision to spend less time worrying and more counting your blessings. Instead of holding on to the family conflict that boiled up over the holidays, let go of your resentments and anger. When you begin to forgive, you stop feeling sorry for yourself and become more optimistic.

Identify activities that serve to reduce the stresses in your life - then include them in your schedule. If you're a Sandwiched Boomer, these can range from arranging for someone to help you with childcare or eldercare responsibilities to setting aside some time to sit down and listen to music, read a good book or just do some deep breathing. Get in touch with your spiritual connections for balance and grounding. When you are feeling relaxed and authentically free, you'll be better able to cope with the hassles you face this winter.

Get support from your family and friends. It was easier to connect during the holiday season, but make an effort to follow-up with your social network in January. Share your concerns with them and see if you gain a fresh viewpoint or validate your feelings. New support and discussion groups generally begin after the New Year and classes at local community colleges do as well. Reach out and join to gain insight and perspective. And don't forget to spend some time with friends just for the plain fun of it - laughter is a great tension reliever.

To read more tips on creating a positive outlook, even during the month of January, click on the post title above. It links you to our website, and our article, How Boomers Can Sing Rock and Roll Instead of the Blues.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Take Care of Yourself after January Blues

Mature and senior woman performing stretch on exercise mats

Are you already experiencing winter blues and frustrated with yourself for not doing what you set out to do this year? Today we'll look at how to better take care of yourself in 2010 and next week, we'll give you more help in keeping your New Year's resolutions.

Begin with some honest self-reflection. What is currently disturbing you the most? What do you feel good about? Consider both your physical and emotional reactions. Once you are aware of the real problems, you can begin to identify possible solutions and map out a plan to implement them.

Be realistic in your expectations as you set New Year's resolutions you are likely to achieve and goals you can accomplish. You may need to scrap your original list and come up with less grandiose aspirations. Don't beat yourself up for falling short of promises you made to yourself that were out of your reach. Who hasn't made mistakes? Take it one day at a time as you revise and come up with a Plan B.

Commit to an exercise plan that you will continue. Physical activity can release endorphins, reducing your level of stress. Studies have shown that 30 minutes of brisk walking reduces depression for several hours. A regular exercise routine also plays a part in achieving weight reduction and better sleep patterns. If possible, include some outdoor daytime exercise to take advantage of the natural light outside.

Establish eating habits that incorporate nutritious foods in well-balanced meals. During the holiday season, women can gain an average of five to seven pounds. Now get back to a healthier diet and smaller portions. Leafy green vegetables with their high levels of folic acid and oily fish, with vitamin B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids can play roles in maintaining an upbeat mood. Foods such as Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, needed to produce serotonin.

And click on the post title above to read about Five Ways Sandwiched Boomers Can Think Positive in Tough Times on our website,

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Do You Have the January Blues?

Woman Protecting Face from the Frigid Weather

Feeling down in the dumps now that the holidays are over? If you're hoping for something uplifting on these dreary days and cold nights, you're not alone. T.S. Eliot may have said in The Waste Land that "April is the cruelest month," but studies have found that for the majority of Americans January is the most depressing month of the year, with the 24th being the worst day.

You may have experienced several of the reasons for these negative feelings and behaviors yourself. Your eager anticipation for the holidays is over, possibly replaced by the realities of a celebration that didn't live up to your expectations. Your clothes are tight from the extra pounds you put on from parties and your sweet cravings. Your loved ones are gone and you're feeling disillusioned and lonely. The weather is dreary with little chance of a break for several months. By the end of the first week of January, one-third to one-half of you have already caved in on your New Year's resolutions, leaving you feeling disappointed and frustrated. The credit card bills have arrived and you realize you spent more than you had planned. And while you may not have noticed the short days and long nights in December because of all the holiday lights, now it is painfully obvious that winter is clearly here.

For some 10% to 20% of Americans, winter depression is exacerbated by SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is brought on by the reduction in sunlight and the brain's response to this underexposure. For Sandwiched Boomers, stressed between caring for growing children and aging parents, these extra pressures may be an even greater strain this month.

Tune in all week for tips to help you deal with the January gloom and focus on the opportunities open to you. And click on the post title above to take you to our website,, and the article, 6 Ways to Manage Common Unhappiness. It will give you some techniques to get started.

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