Are you the ham in an intergenerational sandwich? Stress amongst the sandwich generation is mounting, and mental health experts are ringing the alarm bells. “When you’re caring for a loved one, it’s easy to forget about your own needs, putting you at serious risk of burnout.”(1)
You’re trying to be all things to all people, and your physical and emotional well-being can get pushed to the back of the line. But, let’s face it: you’re no good to anyone if you’re constantly getting sick, taking too long to recover, stressed and anxious, not getting enough sleep. And if you’re physically unfit, it’s a safety issue for both you and your elderly parent: if you’re not strong enough to help your limited-mobility mother get in and out of the car safely/climb up and down the stairs/etc, you’re both at risk for injury. Not only will regular exercise keep your body well, it is also a great way to relieve stress: “Force yourself to get moving. Exercise is the best stress reliever. Not only will you feel better right away, the surge of endorphins that exercise triggers lifts your mood, clears your head and helps you sleep better at night.”(2)
Exercise is one form of self-care to help you manage sandwich generation stress. Other techniques include:
1 & 2: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving-resource-center/info-12-2011/caregiver-burnout.html
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Amanda Sterczyk is an international author, Certified Personal Trainer (ACSM), an Exercise is Medicine Canada (EIMC) Fitness Professional, and a Certified Essentrics® Instructor.