COVID-19 has been a strain for people of all ages, but the sandwich generation faces unique challenges. According to a recent study, more than one-third of parents are simultaneously caring for aging parents and raising their own children. In fact, 68% of these parents reported that their senior loved one is living with them. This amount of financial and emotional pressure can lead to stress, which could have serious health consequences. Taking time to de-stress has a wealth of benefits.
Looking for more info on how to prioritize self-care? Our physicians share stress management tips for sandwich generation caregivers.
What Are Some Issues Facing Those in the Sandwich Generation?
Members of this generation cope with a variety of responsibilities daily. Some statistics suggest that 15% of sandwich generation adults find themselves financially supporting their children and parents, and 32% are the primary means of emotional support. Add remote learning and school shutdowns to the mix, and it becomes easy to see the levels of stress mid-aged adults are currently experiencing. These hectic schedules also make it difficult to devote time to one’s self. However, there are some simple ways to make self-care time while still caring for your loved ones.
5 Effortless Self Care Tips
To be an effective caregiver, you have to prioritize your own physical and mental health. Our physicians share five easy coping strategies to help you relax and recharge:
1. Get More Sleep
Getting adequate sleep every evening is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Consistent, deep sleep has many benefits, including:
- Improved memory
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Boosted immune system
- Lowered risk of heart disease
To take advantage of sleep’s therapeutic virtues, our health care providers recommend an average of seven to nine hours a day. If you have difficulty falling asleep, try some of these tricks to help you get some ZZZ’s or make an appointment with your NWPC physician to discuss options.
2. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Did you know that your diet has a profound impact on your stress levels? Certain foods can help manage stress in addition to keeping you healthy. Incorporate more antioxidant-rich foods, like leafy greens, to give your immune system and brain a boost. Sticking to fiber-dense foods and whole grains can fill you up without the added health risks found in refined grains.
3. Make Time for You
When caring for others, it’s easy to neglect your well-being. Set aside time for yourself each day to enjoy something you love. Put on your favorite song, go for a walk around the block, journal, or practice mindfulness. Start small, even just 15 minutes a day. Once you have established the routine, see if you can increase your personal time incrementally.
4. Find Ways to Laugh
Laughter sometimes really is the best medicine. It can improve mood and even reduce physical pain. Try to introduce some humor into your care routine. Share a silly joke with the family, watch a clip of your favorite comedian, or listen to a fun podcast. Involving your family in some giggle time can help them alleviate some stress too. Plus, it’s a great bonding activity.
5. Aim for Regular Exercise
A simple exercise regime has multiple benefits. It helps you connect with your body, strengthens bones and muscles, staves off heart disease, and improves mental health. Worried you don’t have time to devote to working out? We’ve found that even 10 minutes a day can prove beneficial. Note: Before delving into any exercise routine, it’s important to check in with your NWPC physician.
Health Care for the Sandwich Generation at NWPC
At NWPC, we take the effects of stress seriously. Whether you are searching for self-care resources or looking to schedule an exam, we are here for all your health needs. We welcome new and established patients at all our Portland locations. Contact us to schedule an in-person or telehealth appointment today!