‘But you’re young!’ people say. ‘You aren’t even forty yet!’. Comments like these are unhelpful when you are feeling exhausted the whole time, as they suggest energy levels correspond with age, which isn’t necessarily true. However, if you fall between the ages of 35 and 50, you are part of the sandwich generation – people who may be caring for both dependent children and elderly parents. This can take its toll.

Pressures of Being Responsible

Having the burden of caring for both the younger and older generation can weigh you down. You may feel you are living life on repeat, especially if you are doing the same tasks for both your child and your parents, such as washing clothes and preparing meals. This, along with knowing everyone is depending on you, can be both mentally and physically tiring. Where possible, share the load. You could draw up a roster with siblings or hire help to reduce the number of tasks you take on. Even taking one item off your to-do list can help reduce stress.

Putting on a Brave Face

When people are relying on you to be strong, you may mask your emotions so as not to worry them. Putting on a brave face is, in effect, acting – which is tiring. It can be helpful to have someone you can share your emotions with, whether it is a partner, trusted friend or therapist, so you can offload. There is no shame in admitting you are finding things tough.

Always Being Contactable

While there are advantages to having a cell phone, it can seem as though you are working an on-call shift, especially if your parents and/or children ring you multiple times each day. It is natural to worry about your family, but it is also important to have time where you can literally and metaphorically switch off. This can be easier to manage when your children are in school, and you know they are being cared for by responsible professionals. 

If you are concerned for the safety and wellbeing of senior parents, perhaps it is time to consider alternatives where they are also benefiting from support. With high quality senior living and memory care in Arizona you can relax knowing there are people on hand if your parents require help.

‘Having It All’

21st century women are taking on more than previous generations, juggling a career, social life and family responsibilities. We have been sold the promise that we can ‘have it all’ but at what cost? Although many women now work full-time jobs, most of the housework and caring duties still fall on them, meaning they feel pulled in multiple directions. Be realistic about your capabilities and prioritize your tasks each day. Much of the pressure comes from within, so be kind to yourself!

Take care of yourself in the same way that you care for your loved ones. This means knowing when to ask for help and when to rest, leaving you feeling more capable and, most importantly, energized.