Caring for the Caregiver
If you're a member of the Sandwich Generation, you want to care for those you care about. But, at times, the emotional stress of nurturing multiple generations can be overwhelming. There are demands from every direction and you often have too little time, too little money, and too little help.
Photo courtesy of gbaku - flickr.com
The best way to have patience and compassion for your aging parents and growing kids is learn to be patient and compassionate with yourself. Here are tips on how to do just that:
Balance for the caregiver. Find a happy medium between your responsibilities to others and to yourself. Take a break for a long walk, a nap or a yoga class. Spend time with a friend who makes you smile. Release tension by watching a sitcom or a funny movie. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins and a good mood helps you make better decisions.
Embrace change. As you set goals and move toward them, continue an active process of getting to know your true self. Write about your passions as well as what you really value, care about and want. An unused journal won't help make your dreams come true but a well loved and often used one might do just that.
Start a play revolution. Think about your fondest memories of playing as a child. There must be similar activities you could integrate into your life right now. How can you reconnect to your creative and playful side? And how far are you willing to go outside your comfort zone? Just imagine the potential benefits to your physical health, level of happiness and feelings of wellbeing.
Build resilience. Although you can't prevent what happens to you, you can have some control over how you handle it. Work on changing your mindset. If you reframe your pessimistic thoughts, you can turn anxiety into energy. A good attitude can make a difference, so look for the lessons in what you're going through.
This month, as we celebrate you, Sandwich Generation caregivers, try to love yourself. If you don’t feel that you have control over your life, set limits that work for you. And let others lend a helping hand and give back some of the love you deserve.