The Sandwich Generation – Are You One?
I will not answer you – I will leave you to determine for yourself by reading this article.
Let’s start with a parable that I will retell in my own words.
A Parable of Happiness and Our Children
A sage met a man in the field who was barely standing on his feet, busy with work.
The sage was delicate. He didn’t tell him how bad he looked, just invited him to talk in the shade, with the idea of resting.
The man flatly refused: “I can’t! I have to work! ”
The sage asked why he works so hard, advised to enjoy it a little on a sunny day, the freshness of nature…
The man was firm again: “I can’t! I don’t have time to enjoy anything. “
The sage wondered: “But so you miss happiness! Why are you doing this to yourself? Why do you vow to be unhappy? ”
“I don’t have time for my happiness. The man replied grimly. – You must ensure the happiness of your children and grandchildren. My grandfather did that, so did my great-grandfather, and so did he. ”
“Heh! That any of your family has ever been happy? ”The sage asked.
“Not yet, but my children will surely be and will be as grateful to me as I am to my father and my grandfather.” </ p >
“Man! Let me share something with you. The illiterate cannot teach anyone to read. The hen cannot raise an eagle. Listen to me: it’s best to learn to be happy so you can teach your children to be happy. “
Great, isn’t it? I get chills when I read…
In the parable, only one half of the sandwich is affected.
Generation theory does not describe in detail the “sandwich generation” because it covers the majority of people of several generations, and relatively geographically distinct (rather on the basis of ethnopsychology and in countries with a shortage of social services).
The generation of sandwiches burns in two fires and has almost no time to think for himself.
Which people can be called “sandwiches”?
This generation was first mentioned in the early 1990s. These are people who are trapped in the care of their growing children on the one hand, and their frail parents on the other. Both need financial and any other support, often urgently needed.
At that time, such were most often 30-40-year-old women. But as life expectancy increases, both women and men between the ages of 30 and 65 can find themselves in the sandwich situation.
Until recently, sandwiches were mostly “baby boomers” (see picture of generations), but future generations are now affected.
I have heard a joke that in Bulgaria childhood lasted until the age of Christ (33 years), but for some families this is not a joke.
The people themselves should not always be blamed for this, more and more often the reason is inadequate social policy of the state.
Recently, sociologists have been talking about the so-called Club Sandwiches generation. We are talking about people who take care not only of children and elderly parents – but also of grandchildren.
From personal impressions I can say that I have encountered even more severe cases – “club sandwiches with garnish”. Pets also intervene in them, and in this group there are people who, in addition to children, parents and grandchildren, provide unbearable care for a dog, cat or other ones, or even a few.
You must be wondering why I pay so much attention to these “sandwiches”?
Maybe now is the time to answer the question I started with: are you one of them?
In my job as a nutrition coach, I encounter such people on a daily basis.
I will not say who they are, they know. They are a lot! Certainly much more than half.
The good news is that most of them are trying to break free from this “devil’s circle” and learn to be happy.
To make their children happy!
This is also part of our history. We decided to pay serious attention to ourselves, our health and our way of life, so that one day we do not fall into the arms of our children.
That was even our main motivation.
We have decided to grow old healthy, slowly and beautifully, with minimal help and commitment from our children. And so far we are succeeding.
It is not an easy decision. Especially for people like us, baby boomers who have been brought up that selfishness is a vice.
Yes, it is a vice, but this behavior is not selfish. Thinking about your health and lifestyle is not selfishness , on the contrary – this is how you think about the future of your loved ones and their happiness. Remember the parable. It was no accident that I started with her.
You’re a sandwich if some of these things (sometimes all of them) are done:
- You give all your resources to your children and elderly parents (or almost all of them);
- No one removes you from work, household or other duties;
- There is not enough time, money and / or energy left for you (for your health, for your hobby, for your dreams and desired travels;
- They constantly harass housing or other life problems, often accompanied by quarrels, scandals and dissatisfaction with your loved ones, leading to emotional and mental exhaustion;
- You are forced to give up your job to take on another one that is not suitable for you, but provides you with the necessary time or resources for your loved ones;
- You are under constant stress about how to organize your day to cope with the care of your children and parents;
- You are proud that you do not pay attention to yourself and you have already decided that this is normal, that this is your destiny and there is no way out.
Is there a way out of the sandwich?
Of course there is. As someone had said, “Even in the most hopeless situation, there are at least two roads that do not lead to the cemetery.” Do not think about the cemetery, but about the roads! Note: not one, at least two ways!
12 ways to get out of the sandwich
- There is no easy and quick solution. Yes, you know that without me. But you have resigned yourself and you are not looking for him. In an ideal world, the state would provide decent conditions for the elderly, and everyone could make a secure investment in their old age as long as they could. Well, we do not live in an ideal world, we live in Bulgaria. But let’s not forget that this is one of the most beautiful countries and has huge resources, let everyone work on their own thinking and on the thinking of their trusted circle of people, which they could influence in some way.
- Take care of yourself. This is not a whim – this is a necessity! This will allow you not only to live better, but also to have the resources, energy and motivation to help others. Think that at some point you won’t be able to do it if you haven’t helped yourself by now. Set and prioritize by putting yourself first.
- Get at least the bare minimum you need. Set your priorities according to this goal. Eat right, balanced and healthy. Don’t sacrifice your sleep. Or at least minimize these casualties. Do not neglect preventive medical examinations. If you are not healthy, happy and emotionally stable, how do you expect your children to be?
- Take time for yourself. Teach your loved ones that this time belongs only to you, you need it for rest and recovery and ask them not to disturb you then. Always plan this time in advance – a holiday is complete when it is filled with activities that bring you joy, pleasure and restore your strength and energy.
- Get out. Get out of your comfort zone, too. If some people don’t allow or don’t let you take care of yourself, break up with them. Change your social environment and environment with positive people who believe in you and your abilities. How long have you not been to the movies or the theater? And on a trip, even to nearby landmarks and beautiful places? Don’t tell me you can’t afford it or you don’t have time – your real loved ones will understand you and provide you with that time. And for a walk nearby you often don’t need any money.
- Keep a diary. Take this minute for yourself. Do not neglect not only your physical but also your personal emotional state. Look for sources of stress, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, bad thoughts and other such things. You can fight them, I believe in that and I have witnessed many such success stories! Sometimes this happens indirectly, even with a change in your own thinking.
- Consider seeking help. Trust professionals. In some cases, it is better to entrust the care of your elderly parents to them, at home or in a private institution. Yes, in our country this is not accepted and there is a pronounced distrust in them. But lately, private institutions are “improving” thanks to European and other programs. Older people still live with the thought that “the state owes them” and will take care of them, instead of “stepping on the ground” and taking care of themselves in a timely manner. If professional care seems expensive to you, you probably don’t value your own time and qualifications. But yes, I forgot that you don’t think about yourself yet…
- Talk to your employer. Use all the advantages that the company can offer – they are usually not publicly announced, but often exist. There is nothing shameful about this, on the contrary – it is possible to increase the authority among colleagues and employers.
- Delegate! It is unlikely that the person who needs your care is with only one close person and that is you. Most likely you doomed yourself to be a victim. You are so used to donating your time, taking care of it, entertaining it, comforting it, that you have accepted it as your only duty. But this person has other close people – husband, wife, brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren – each of them could take part in this commitment. And there is nothing unfair about that, on the contrary – the people to whom you have delegated something will one day be grateful to you for the moments with the person who needed care and they were shared in the family. In order to delegate, you must first prioritize and delegate everything that is not necessarily up to you. I am endlessly amazed when I see parents carrying their children’s school backpacks or making room for them on public transport. I don’t know where the world is going…
- Plan ahead as often as possible so that the care of everyone involved in this activity can be shared successfully. Make a calendar accessible to anyone at any time. Don’t be afraid to talk to your loved ones about tasks, especially when you’re all together. Think of colors to indicate whose duty it is.
- Use technology. Use online calendars. A group chat can be extremely useful in a crisis situation. And not only that – why not tell something good to everyone as soon as someone finds out about it?
- Find an emergency fund to use only when things go awry. Don’t rely on credits and quick winnings by rubbing tickets. Life is difficult and surprises us, often at the most inopportune moment. And you have to be prepared for that.
E? Are you one of the “sandwiches”? Can you get out of there?
Share in the comments, please.
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