Stress for the sandwich generation is unlike any other, thanks to them juggling more than one form of caregiving. This generation has children who are young or financially dependent on them and parents who are 65 years or older; they are sandwiched between the two. Here’s a quick look at how to manage some of it.
1. Recharging the Sandwich Generation
Self-care is a must for any caregiver, but it’s also critical for the well-being of everyone else in the family group. There is a saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup,” and that is especially true for members of the sandwich generation. However, it feels as if the more we hear this, the less we comprehend its meaning.
There are times when caregivers get so turned off when they hear “self-care” simply because it sounds as if it’s just another thing they need to add to their list of things to do. They might also scoff at it because it might entail enjoying a glass of wine or getting a massage. That said, it’s more of being intentional in carving out time for those things that truly matter to you and then doing them while not feeling guilty.
2. Get Maximum Employer Benefits
Ensure you’re getting the maximum benefits from your workplace. Having an employer that is supportive is huge. You need to be honest and open about when you’re available and when you’re not, even when it can seem difficult to do that.
Take advantage of your Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits. That provides some employees with as many as 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Whether or not you qualify for those benefits depends on the status of your health insurance, how large your company is, how long you’ve worked there, and how many hours per week you work. To find out more, speak to your HR representative.
When you’re caring for both young children and your older parents, you’ll quickly come to find that you can’t do it all. This will likely lead to you feeling stressed. Caregivers need to acknowledge that there won’t always be balance. Some weeks will be spent focusing more on the kids, while others will be spent on your parents.
Your priorities should guide these decisions. That said, sometimes, it’s just about putting fires out. Remember to do what you can without running yourself into the ground.
4. Be Mindful of Burnout
Caregivers need to be mindful of making sure their own needs are met in order to avoid burnout. Remember that you matter. Maybe hitting the gym is your thing. Maybe it’s just getting out by yourself every once in a while. Whatever the case, work out a schedule with your partner where you each get out on your own at least once a week. If you’re single, do your best to get a sitter as often as possible so that you can recharge.
As a part of the sandwich generation, you’re under a lot of stress between raising your kids while simultaneously taking care of your aging parents. At times, it might seem as if managing everything is impossible since you’re only one person.
A lot of people may feel like they handle all the stress well. When you go to bed at night, you may worry about your kids and parents. You may even worry that you didn’t do enough throughout the day to care for them, love them, and enjoy them. There might never seem to be enough hours in the day. You’re not alone.
By following the tips you’ve just read about, you might be able to alleviate some of your stress and cope with all of your responsibilities a bit better.