Many people are in what is called “the sandwich generation”. A time in your life when you have young kids at home and aging parents. If one or both of your parents become ill, it can place increased demands on your time. The combination of the two can create stress and anxiety as you feel like you are being pulled in different directions. Being a direct caregiver can cause caregiver burnout. A well characterized condition where you reach a point of exhaustion by spending all of your time taking care of others. You don’t take enough time to take care of you.
With our aging population and life expectancies going up, people are living longer than ever before. What is also happening is that people are spending more time living with ailments and disability. This can create a circumstance where people are needing extra help for more years in their life. They often rely on family to help them get by and stay in their homes. This is something family members want to do most of the time but it can’t be denied that this decision has its toll.
If you’ve been in this sandwich for a while. The exhaustion can be building. More days where you wake up and don’t feel rested. Like you’re trapped in a situation that you just wish would get better. Spread too thin with no end in sight. For many people, this is extremely overwhelming and leads to feelings of sadness. Your quality of life ends up suffering because you are trying to improve someone else’s quality of life.
If this describes you, you aren’t alone. Many people are feeling the same way. I am here to tell you that it’s time for you to take care of you. I know, I know. You’re going to tell me that there isn’t time for that! You’re doing everything that you can and there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything in.
But taking care of you is the BEST thing that you can do to be able to take care of other people. The better you feel, the better your energy level is. If your energy is higher it means that you are able to take care of your loved ones. It permeates into every part of your life.
To take care of you, it can mean that you go for a run or a walk for 30 minutes every day. Enough to get a little bit of time on your own. Being outdoors can revitalize you. Doing exercise and getting you
blood pumping will make you feel better. Your mood will go up and you’ll be ready to take care of your family the rest of the day.
I have had times in my life which meant that I had to get up 30 minutes earlier in order to be able to exercise. It was a sacrifice I felt was important to make. For some who aren’t getting nearly enough sleep, that might be the ideal thing to do. I realized that the exercise time was non-negotiable. Bring your family members with you if you can (or if you want to!). Make it a family affair. But moving is what will make you feel better. For me the gym is the distance I need to be on my game the rest of the day.
Exercise is important. So is just breathing. Taking two minutes, going into a quiet space (for many spaces that seems to be the bathroom haha), and just take deep breaths. It can do WONDERS for your mood, your outlook, and your perspective. Deep breathing can calm down your nervous system. Get you out of that stress reaction and tell your body it can relax.
Your family is important so you want to have the energy to take care of them
This is me giving you permission to take 32 minutes out of your day to take care of you. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it later!