Are You Part of the Sandwich Generation
According to the Chinese calendar, this is the year of the Rabbit. The fourth animal in the Chinese zodiac symbolises grace, beauty, mercy and good luck.
Because of the rabbit’s characteristics, it’s considered that this year will be one of relaxation, fluidity, quietness and contemplation.
Sounds pretty good, right? But if you’re part of the stressed, squished, endlessly supporting sandwich generation, you might be wondering how one little rabbit year is going to make that happen.
Baby Boomers and Gen X are facing an unprecedented collision of demands and stresses including:
· Career peak (and therefore likely considerable professional responsibilities)
· Ongoing earning requirements
· The practical, financial, and emotional responsibilities that come with supporting elderly parents
· Emotionally and financially supporting still dependant offspring
We are truly the squidged sandwich generation.
Professional women in particular need to grow superhuman powers, or perhaps more accurately ‘superelastic’.
The greater part of the practical, emotional (and financial) burdens of caring for elderly parents, arranging medical care, end-of-life support then dealing with death and all that entails, falls into the woman’s lap.
If you’re from separated parents, the responsibilities may double or even triple to include their second or third round partners (if they don’t have their own offspring to take up the heavy lifting.)
It is (mainly) into mothers’ laps that the practical needs of still dependant adult offspring land. Since 1997, there has been a 20% increase in 20 – 34 year olds living with their parents. Not only extra mouths to feed, but the emotional drains that can come if one’s children are struggling with their own mental health issues, relationship and career struggles. As it’s often said, ‘you’re only as happy as your least happy child’.
We’re truly the squidged generation – and that’s without including the assortment of unwelcome, inevitable physical, biological and psychological changes!
So what are some of the best ways to manage this turbulent time?
1. Set realistic expectations:
Accept that you may not be able to do everything perfectly or all at once. Prioritize your most important responsibilities and focus on those first.
2. Learn to say no
It’s important to set boundaries and not take on more than you can handle. Practice saying no to requests or commitments that are not essential or that may compromise your well-being.
3. Delegate tasks:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family members, friends, or hired professionals. Assign specific tasks to others, such as arranging medical appointments or grocery shopping.
4. Take breaks
It’s important to take time for yourself to recharge and replenish your energy. Schedule in regular breaks, even if it’s just a few minutes each day to meditate, go for a walk, or read a book.
5. Prioritize self-care
Make time for activities that nourish your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. This can include exercise, healthy eating, sleep, and social connections.
6. Seek support:
Don’t hesitate to reach out to family, friends, or professionals for emotional support or practical assistance. Joining a support group or seeking therapy can also be helpful.
7. Plan ahead
Take proactive steps to prepare for future challenges, such as discussing end-of-life wishes with elderly parents or helping adult children develop life skills to become more independent.
Photo by Matthias Zomer
Knowing where we’re at (edging our way towards the end of our own life conveyor belt) and what we’re dealing with, now is the time to consider how to better manage the multifarious demands of our professional and personal lives.
You know, the principle of ensuring we’re firmly placing our oxygen mask on first.
Rutbusters’ female senior leadership programme is developed and led by women who’ve been there themselves; we know first-hand the stresses that come from this period and design solutions to help you navigate through this challenging time and create strategies to ensure you accomplish what you want in your second half of life.
Click here to arrange a free consultation ….