Living in the Sandwich Generation: The Balance of Helping Your Parents and Being a Parent

Sandwich Generation Between Parents And Children

By Leah Brignall

The stress of being part of the “sandwich generation” is a very real concern for many adults. These are people who are not only caring for their own children, but are also taking on the responsibility of caring for their aging parents. Being caught in the middle of caring for different generations of family members can be stressful and overwhelming. It can cause physical, emotional, and financial strain. The article Sandwich Generation Moms Feeling the Squeeze from the American Psychological Association points out a few ways in which this type of stress can be dealt with. They focus the article on mothers, but the principles can be applied by anyone willing to put in the effort to make their stress more manageable. The steps that they suggest are:

  1. Identify stressors – In order to begin calming stress, it is important to identify the events, topics, or tasks that cause you the most stress. Many people feel stress and pressure from their jobs and finances. Another common stressor is relationships with children, parents, or significant others.
  2. Recognize how you deal with stress – When you feel the most stressed, what do you do? Do you have friends who you turn to? Do you you have activities that you participate in? Sometimes we choose healthy ways to manage stress, and other times we do not.
  3. Find healthy ways to manage stress – What are some things you do that are healthy ways of managing stress? These might include hobbies, talking with friends, or exercising. Activities like this can be good for you physically and mentally.
  4. Take care of yourself – When you are stressed it is easy to forget to take care of yourself, but it is very important to do so! Set aside some time to yourself and do something you enjoy like exercise, see friends, or take a bath. You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself so it is important to make sure you are physically and emotionally well.
  5. Ask for professional support – It is never a bad idea to ask for professional support, whether that means seeing a therapist for yourself, joining a support group, or getting professional care for your loved ones. Having support is necessary when dealing with stressful situations. There is no shame in asking for help!