The sandwich generation is a group of people—usually in their thirties or forties but also includes baby boomers—who are raising their own kids and responsible for the care of their aging parents. They are carrying the weight of two demanding roles: parent and caregiver. Women are more likely to find themselves in a caregiving role than men but for anyone, it’s a stressful period that can easily lead to overwhelm and burnout.
Before we get into self-care, it’s important to pause and recognize the signs of caregiver burnout that can happen to the sandwich generation. If you’ve been doing double duty taking care of your parents and kids—or quadruple duty adding your spouse and job into the mix—you likely need a break but may have been too busy to notice!
Physical and mental symptoms of caregiver burnout include:
- Aches and pains
- Anger and irritability
- Sleep troubles
- Self-neglect, including losing interest in your hobbies
Unfortunately, that’s only a small list of possible symptoms. Read the full list of caregiver burnout and compassion fatigue symptoms here and, if you’re struggling, speak to your physician about getting support.
Whether or not the burden of caring for multiple generations feels stressful today, it’s tapping your resources. Our energy resources are like a gas tank. When we keep burning gas (energy) but forget to top up regularly, sooner or later, we’re running on empty. Regular self-care is one way to manage your energy resources and avoid dipping into the danger zone.
6 self-care activities for caregivers in the sandwich generation:
- Start a gratitude journal – Even though everyone else should be thanking their lucky stars for you, expressing gratitude for others increases your own optimism and life satisfaction.
- Stay connected – While you may want to hide from everyone, resist the temptation! Instead, make the effort to spend time with people who energize you in a positive way.
- Take care of your health – If you don’t, who will? Do your best to eat well, and get enough sleep as often as possible, and forgive yourself immediately when you miss the mark.
- Relax on purpose – Tone down the stress with a relaxation activity. Choose something you enjoy, like getting a massage and facial at the spa, going to a yoga class, or banging out some classic rock on your drums in the garage.
- Ask for help – People can’t help you if they don’t know how, or if you give them the impression you don’t want any help. It can be hard to ask for help but you can’t do it all on your own. Consider asking your family or friends or inquiring with a respite care service.
- Get moving – Set aside a couple hours a week for physical activity. If you hate exercise—which is common—think of it as a stress-recalibration session. You’re not exercising! You’re simply moving vigorously to burn off accumulated negative energy so you can handle the next wave.
As a caregiver in the sandwich generation, you’re doing meaningful and helpful work. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need a break sometimes!
We’re here to help you achieve relaxation as part of your self-care routine. If you’d like to enjoy an hour to yourself in a luxurious spa environment, give us a call to book a Swedish massage or a rejuvenating facial.
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Massage. Facials. Waxing. At Hand & Stone, our registered massage therapists will help to relieve tension, soothe tired muscles and ease headaches. Interested in our facial services? We know radiant, healthy skin reflects how you look and feel. Hand & Stone’s facials are performed by certified estheticians and we are proud to offer Dermalogica®, YonKa and Diego Dalla Palma products so you can enjoy a bright, beautiful complexion between regular appointments.
We’ll help you look and feel your best, affordably! Call today to schedule your appointment! We’re open 7 days a week with extended hours and gift cards are available for all occasions. Contact us today!