Sandwich Generation Tips to Avoid Burnout
The Sandwich Generation is “a generation of people (usually in their 30s or 40s) who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.” If you are a Silicon Valley professional and a member of the Sandwich Generation, you are well-acquainted with the multiple pressures and demands of balancing workload with family responsibilities.
Extreme Pressure and Stress
Between e-mail, instant messaging, and videoconferencing, a typical workday is full of interruptions and shifting priorities. Combine these elements with the unpredictability of parenting - school absences, doctor’s appointments, teacher’s conferences, homework - and the additional demands of supporting elderly parents, and you have a recipe for fatigue and unhappiness.
Five Ways to Prevent Burnout
1) Stop resisting. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed by your situation, but panic and anger are wasted energy. As mentioned in our article on reducing stress, avoid getting trapped in extended emotional responses to your many stress triggers. Lower your resistance, be accepting of your situation, and focus your energy on productive activities.
2) Make time for yourself every day. Mental “white space” is incredibly important for peace of mind. It helps us keep things in perspective, reminding us of our priorities and preventing us from overreacting. Whether you take a 10-minute midday walk or simply pull over in the car to listen to your favorite song on the radio, make sure to create time to connect with yourself each day.
3) Practice gratitude. Starting the morning or ending the evening with a mental or written list of things you are grateful for will help remind you of all of the positive things in your life. If you are in a situation where you’re not receiving regular gratitude from others (for example, from young children or parents with dementia), thank yourself for everything that you do to make their lives better!
4) Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Chances are, your life is full of friends, relatives, and colleagues who are willing to assist with small or large tasks. Allow yourself to ask for help from time to time. One thing less on your to-do list is one step closer to sanity for you. In addition, the effect of simply knowing that help is available can have a tremendous impact on your daily experience.
5) Remember to laugh. Seek out people who are quick to laugh and find humor in almost every situation. The physiological and emotional benefits of regular laughter will re-energize you and allow you to be more productive and successful.
Share Your Tips with Us!
Menlo Partners Staffing welcomes your insights on the Sandwich Generation, as well as your questions about a job search, career change and work/life balance in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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