April 04th, 2023 The Impact on your relationship due to being part of the "Sandwich generation"
Feeling stretched thin with the demands of caring for aging parents and caring for your children at the same time? Welcome to being a part of the “sandwich generation”. And you are definitely not alone.
The sandwich generation refers to a group of people who are simultaneously taking care of their children and aging parents. This group is often sandwiched between the responsibilities of caring for their children and fulfilling their obligations towards their elderly parents. This can have a significant impact on their relationship or marriage, and it's essential to understand how to navigate these challenges, and it can be especially difficult for couples who are trying to balance their caregiving responsibilities with their own relationship needs.
One of the most significant impacts of the sandwich generation on couples is the increased stress levels. When couples have to juggle the demands of their careers, children, and elderly parents, it can be incredibly overwhelming. This stress can lead to conflicts and tension in their relationship, making it difficult for them to connect emotionally and physically.
Moreover, being part of the sandwich generation can also lead to financial strain. The cost of raising children and caring for aging parents can be a significant burden on a couple's finances. This financial pressure can lead to additional stress and strain on the relationship.
Another significant impact of the sandwich generation is the time and energy it requires. Caring for children and aging parents can be time-consuming, leaving little time for couples to spend together. This lack of time can lead to a decline in intimacy and emotional connection, which can strain the relationship further.
Despite the challenges, there are ways for couples to navigate the impact of the sandwich generation on their relationship. Here are some tips:
One of the biggest impacts of the sandwich generation on couples is the added stress and pressure that comes with caring for multiple generations. This can lead to increased conflict, communication breakdowns, and overall dissatisfaction in the relationship. When couples are dealing with the emotional and physical demands of caregiving, it can be difficult to find time for their own needs and for each other.
In addition, the financial strain of caring for aging parents and children can take a toll on a couple's relationship. Couples may have to make difficult decisions about their finances, such as cutting back on vacations or other activities that they enjoy, in order to make ends meet. This can cause tension and resentment, particularly if one partner feels like they are bearing the brunt of the financial burden.
The sandwich generation can also impact a couple's intimacy and sex life. When couples are dealing with the stress and exhaustion of caregiving, they may find it difficult to connect emotionally and physically. Sleep deprivation and the demands of caregiving can also lead to decreased libido and overall dissatisfaction with sex.
Despite these challenges, there are ways that couples in the sandwich generation can maintain a strong and healthy relationship. Communication is key - couples should make an effort to discuss their feelings, needs, and concerns openly and honestly. They should also try to carve out time for each other, whether it's a date night or a weekend getaway. Seeking support from family, friends, or a therapist can also be beneficial.
In conclusion, the sandwich generation can have a significant impact on couples and their relationships. However, by recognizing the challenges and taking steps to address them, couples can navigate this difficult time together and emerge with a stronger, more resilient relationship.
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The "WHY" behind your goal(s)
Benjamin Franklin said: "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man [or woman] healthy, wealthy, and wise".
Asking yourself thoughtful questions throughout the process of working towards your goal is key. Throughout all of the steps to setting and achieving a goal, from planning, initiating, working through the ups and downs on your journey, and then finally, reaching your goal, can start with your WHY…
Asking yourself WHY this goal, and WHY this goal NOW, can increase your motivation and help you to stay on course when motivation gets weak.
Do you want to be healthier? Weathier? Wiser? Or? ____fill in the blank.
The WHY is what can get us to get up 30 minutes earlier to exercise, to say “no” to that second helping of food, and to give up unhealthy habits.
What will be fundamentally different in your life when you reach your goal? Is your goal something that can be achieved in the short-term? Is it more of a long-term goal? What are some milestones along the way that will keep you going where you know you are making progress? Do you plan to reward yourself for success or take something away if you don’t stay the course? This can make a huge difference, but the most important thing is what motivates you?
When it comes to self-improvement, everyone has different things that motivate them to start, perhaps set some intermediate goals, and define what their final goal would be.
Celebration! How will you celebrate reaching your goal? Will it be something you do on your own or with others?
Maintaining and staying on course when you have reached your goals can be one of the hardest parts of goal maintenance. When working at a major weight loss agency, it was a strongly held belief that losing the weight and reaching a weight loss goal was the easier part and that maintaining the weight loss and keeping your weight stable over the long-term was much more difficult. Focusing on weight stability, especially in the absence of not having the tangible victory of a “loss” every week, but trying to celebrate that you were staying stable in your weight loss, proved to be more difficult for most of the people who came through the doors every week.
Conversely, sometimes growth and change are the main measures of success and it is important to define what growth would look like and what guidelines you would use to measure ongoing success. It is important to set strong goals for growth but perhaps equally important to reality-test these goals to avoid discouragement. Again, having an accountability partner can be a source of collaboration and feedback in the process of defining reasonable goals for growth, such as in a business start-up.
CELEBRATE AND REWARD YOURSELF
What kinds of types of things that keep you motivated? What would be a good reward for your hard work and your success in reaching your goals or the benchmarks that you have decided on, along the way? It is important to consider having the reward be something that is meaningful and whether you will be celebrating on your own or if you will be celebrating with others. Gratitude towards others who have helped you along your journey can be validating for both them and for yourself and perhaps sharing in the success with someone who has been your source of support, can encourage them to continue with you, but can also be an important part of staying motivated. It is important to consider tokens of appreciation for anyone who has helped to fuel your success, if this is permitted. Maintaining a core group of supporters can help to sustain you in the long term.
All the best on your journey!
Series on goal-setting ready
Using SMART goals to Make a Change – 5 Key steps
Are you ready for change? Tired of feeling like you are never making progress on important goals? Following the Steps for Success as outline in SMART goals can be the key to reaching your short-term; medium-term; and long-term goals, using SMART goal principles.
Establishing a goal is an important first step as you need to know what the target is in order to hit the target. The you can start to make a plan.
There are a variety of similar acronyms for SMART goals, and the one I will suggest is:
SMART = Specific/My own goals/Achievable and action-oriented/Realistic/Time-based
I would add a second “A” wherever possible, which is accountability – self-accountability/monitoring is paramount as this is something within your control, whereas accountability via others may not always be within your control, but it does not mean to discount valuable resources such as: close family members and friends; paying someone such as a life coach or counsellor to keep you accountable. For example, weight-loss programs such as Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig can be very helpful because there is education and accountability built into such programs.
Next weeks blog will focus on sharing your goal with someone and the power of support and accountability.
Tanya Hansen, MSc (CMHC), MTS (Coun), CCC is a psychotherapist/counsellor and life coach
Web-based and telephonic services are also available for distance client in Canada. Life Coach services are available internationally.
5 Tips for Helping Your Children Choose (and keep) Good Friends
Friendships can be difficult, even for adults and for children, it can be difficult to navigate friendships that can sometimes seem ever changing and evolving due to moves, changing activities, changing schools, and sometimes just friendship “break-ups”.
Tanya is the Founder of Tanya Hansen Therapy, and is a regular contributor to various online and print media outlets as an authority on personal and relationship counselling.