Family Relationships

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

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tax Day and Sandwiched Boomers

Are you rushing to finish up your income tax returns? This year, due to the celebration of Emancipation Day last Friday in the District of Columbia, citizens have until midnight tonight to get their tax returns postmarked and in the mail. If you're a Sandwiched Boomer you may be asking yourself, "have I taken all of the deductions I'm legally allowed?" When you're supporting both your growing children and your aging parents, you may want to consult with your tax advisor to see if you are eligible for claiming both sets as dependents. After all, you want to conserve as much of your nest egg as you can. With your reduced funds being stretched even thinner by the generations surrounding you, Tax Day brings your finances front and center.

Image: Arvind Balaraman /

But what about also considering the non-monetary contributions you make to your family in flux? The time, energy, thoughts, emotions you devote to your children and elderly parents can exhaust your core just as your expenses deplete your cash reserves. How is all this affecting you? Are you becoming anxious and angry - on the verge of taking out your frustrations on those around you? Instead, use your Tax Day perspective to look for ways to cope with your stress and preserve more of your health and well-being. Taking better care of yourself can lead to a win-win outcome for everyone in your extended family. When you avoid the burnout that often comes from chronic stress, you're better able to take care of your loved ones as well as yourself.

Here on our blog and on our website,, we've highlighted the importance of self-care for Sandwiched Boomers. Now you can review the Top 10 Self-fullness Tips for Sandwiched Women and find suggestions about How to Nourish the Sandwich That is You. As guests of Dr. Sandra Haymon, we provided tips for caregivers on blogtalk radio, where you can listen to our complete interview free of charge.

And here are more tips to keep in mind, on Tax Day and everyday:

Maintain balance as you invest your energies in family, career and yourself. You may not be able to attain the perfect level of achievement in any of these three, but you can enjoy a sense of accomplishment in your growing strength. To avoid burnout as you run between caring for your kids and your parents, Psychology Today encourages you to set aside time for yourself to refuel. As you strive to limit your responsibilities to others, you'll find you have more time for fun and fulfillment in your own life.

Practice relaxation techniques on a daily basis to help manage the tensions you are feeling. Make time to go for a walk, exercise at the gym, listen to soothing music or just put your feet up. Learn deep breathing or guided imagery to help you unwind and settle down. Contact your local psychological association to find out what other resources are available in your community. Gather information from Internet sites such as webMD, seminars or self help books about how to minimize the impact of the pressures you are now experiencing.

Ask for help and get support from those around you in order to reduce the stress in your life. Make a concrete plan about what you need and how your can achieve your goals. Consult the Department of Health and Human Services' Eldercare Locator for the names of local resources. When you are not feeling so overwhelmed by your responsibilities and commitments, your negative feelings are not as likely to boil over. Particularly if one of your parents has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, you can use all the help you can get - from the Alzheimer's Association website as well as assistance from other caregivers.

Keep communication open with your spouse, children and aging parents. Talk out disagreements before they become heated arguments that get out of control. Don't put a lid on your emotions, just on expressing them in an aggressive manner. Instead, learn what the Mayo Clinic recommends about developing a direct, assertive style to express your needs. When conflicts arise, agree to be flexible and cooperative - and work toward reaching a compromise.

Your life as a Sandwiched Boomer can be full of stress and anxiety. But when you use these tips and resources, it can help you develop a safety net to fall back on when you need it. For more suggestions about coping with stress in these difficult economic times, consider our ebook, Taking Control of Stress in a Financial Storm: Practical Strategies and Resources for Success.

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