You’re caring for one or more parents as well as your own children, you have your job to deal with, there’s sports activities for the kids, doctors appointments and community functions, and now you have the holidays to deal with on top of it all. That’s enough to make you want to pull your hair out! That’s why we developed these sandwich generation tips for a stress-free holiday.
Cut Your List by 50% – Seriously look at everything you “have to” do and cross half of it off. There is only so much that each person can accomplish and it’s better to do less and enjoy the things you do and do them well than to be scattered between too many activities. Do you really need to send Christmas cards this year? What functions can you say no to? What gifts can you leave off the list? What can others do instead of you? What can you alternate between this year and next year? Do you need to cook the big meal this year or can someone else?
Be Gentle on Yourself – Go into each day knowing you will make mistakes and that your emotions will run thin at times. Give yourself a break when things don’t go perfectly or when you feel burned out. You are dealing with a tremendous amount and you should be gentle with yourself so that you can handle it with more grace.
Be Flexible – If your personality is one that is more rigid, this might be a tough one for you, but it is so important because life requires flexibility, especially when you are living the sandwich generation lifestyle. It’s good to have a plan for each day but then allow that plan to have flexibility for changes and issues that might come up. And who knows, you might need to be flexible for good things too, such as a friend calling and inviting you out – if you need a break, you might consider taking her up on it.
Keep Outside Ties – It’s easy to let the outside world fall to the wayside when you are undertaking so much responsibility inside the home. After all, it’s hard to maintain it all. But when you lose your ties with the outside world, it all becomes harder because you start to feel isolated and suffocated. It’s important to get out with friends and take time to nurture the things you enjoy doing.
Be Grateful – Caring for your parents is a beautiful thing, and it can help strengthen relationships between you, your parents and your children. It can often work really well when the whole family is involved in the care of your parent(s) so that everyone can take part of the burden, allowing all of you to also enjoy the relationship. Focus on feeling grateful that you have this time with your loved ones so that you can focus less on the burden.