With people living longer than ever before, more and more individuals find themselves sandwiched between caring for their children and caring for their aging parents.
Coping with our fast-paced world is stressful enough, but when you add double or triple the family responsibilities, life gets overwhelming and chronic stress set in quickly.
As your responsibilities and role in your family changes, you will experience one of more of the following.
- Lose time and energy worrying about things that aren’t getting done or things you have to do next.
- Underestimate how much physical and mental stress you are under.
- Experience diminished effectiveness at work and/or home.
- Feel guilty you’re not doing enough for your own family while caring for your parents.
- Encounter feelings of grief and loss as you see your parents changing and the roles of your family shifting.
- Feel fearful about your parent’s mortality, which gets you thinking about your own.
With the extra time you need to take care of others, there is less time—if any—to spend recharging yourself.
Here are five ways to take care of yourself while taking care of your aging parents.
- First, meet your own needs. You can’t help anyone else if you are so sapped of energy and joy that you are physically and mentally exhausted. Block out time every day for something that’s just for you. Give equal attention to your emotional, spiritual and physical needs. Protect that time as your most important appointment—because it is!
- Get support for your parents. You will rest easier knowing professionals are involved.
- Get support for yourself. Reach out to supportive friends or family members; even a short phone call can give you a much-needed lift. Also, seek out a support group or coach to keep you moving forward in your own life.
- Banish guilt. Accept that you’re doing your best and acknowledge the efforts you’re making. Actually list them on paper if you need to!
- Celebrate life and family. Focus on remembering and sharing positive memories of your life together. Also, create new rituals and traditions everyone can take part in.
Start right now with one of these strategies. It will feel like a breath of fresh air loosening the grip of your packed life.
To your success,
Stress & Mindset Coach ⋅ Speaker ⋅ Author
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