The term “work-life balance” is often used to describe the ideal situation in which an individual is able to successfully manage both their professional and personal responsibilities. However, the reality is that work-life balance is harder to achieve than ever before. The demands of today’s workforce are constantly increasing, leaving less time for personal pursuits. In addition, the cost of living is rising thanks in large part to inflation, making it necessary for many people to work longer hours in order to make ends meet. As a result, achieving a successful work-life balance has become a major challenge for people all over the world, but for one group of people in particular: the sandwich generation.
The sandwich generation is a term used to describe adults who are caring for their aging parents while also raising their own children. This can be a difficult and emotionally draining task, as they are pulled in two different directions on top of trying to take care of themselves and juggle their own obligations. Many sandwich generation adults feel like they are constantly multitasking competing demands and never have enough time or resources to go around.
Having children is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have, but it’s also no secret that it comes with a hefty price tag. In fact, according to a recent study, the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 now exceeds $233,000. And that’s not even taking into account the costs of college or other post-secondary education. For many parents, these expenses can be a source of stress and anxiety. Coupled with the cost of caring for aging parents, from managing retirement funds to assisting with health care costs, and it’s no surprise that many adults in the sandwich generation are feeling burnt out. It can be a difficult position to be in. On one hand, you want to be able to provide for your own children and give them the best possible start in life. On the other hand, you also want to be able to support your parents as they age and make sure they are comfortable.
And then there is the emotional aspect. Caring for both young children and aging parents can be difficult to manage, and often requires making tough choices. For instance, if an elderly parent needs help with basic tasks like bathing or eating, but lives far away, it may not be possible to provide the level of care they need. Similarly, it can be difficult to balance work and childcare responsibilities. As a result, sandwich generation caregivers often experience a range of emotions, from guilt to anger, and feel pulled in different directions, which can lead to high levels of stress. The impacts of stress are well-known, and research has shown that chronic stress can lead to a variety of health problems, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. While some amount of stress is inevitable, it’s important to learn to manage it in a healthy way, especially when so many people are reliant on you.
How Can You Achieve Work-Life Balance?
Practice Time Management
To achieve a healthy work-life balance, it’s important to learn to manage your time well. One way to do this is to learn to say no. If you’re already stretched too thin, don’t be afraid to turn down additional commitments. It’s also important not to over-schedule yourself. Make sure to leave some free time in your schedule so that you can relax and recharge. Finally, it’s crucial to set clear work boundaries. If possible, try to avoid working during evenings and weekends. If you do need to work during non-traditional hours, make sure to take breaks and spend time with your family and friends when you’re not working.
Care For Yourself
Achieving work-life balance can feel like a never-ending juggling act. However, it’s crucial to remember that to take care of others, you must first take care of yourself. Give yourself regular check-ins to see how you’re feeling both physically and emotionally. Make time for the activities and people that bring you joy. And don’t forget to schedule in time for movement and fresh air—your body and mind will thank you.
Ask For Help When You Need It
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. It takes courage to reach out and ask for assistance, and it is a crucial step in achieving a healthy work-life balance. When we try to do everything ourselves, we quickly become overwhelmed and bogged down. This can lead to burnout, which is bad for our health, our work, and our relationships. Learning to ask for help is an important skill that will benefit us throughout our lives. It allows us to focus on what is truly important, and to delegate other tasks to those who are better suited to handle them. Asking for help is not easy, but it is essential to achieving a successful and balanced life.
At The Humphreys Group, we work with women in the sandwich generation to address some of the unique challenges they face and create sturdy financial plans that are built to withstand the ebbs and flows of life. We understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to addressing your work-life balance concerns, but with our team on your side, you can feel secure in the knowledge that the financial piece of your puzzle is taken care of and you are financially sustainable, now and going forward. Reach out to get started.
And if you think you might benefit from talking about some of these unique challenges, consider joining us for a conversation circle! Our Insights & Outcomes circles provide an opportunity for women to have authentic discussions about money — our fears, our successes, our memories, and the attitudes, behaviors and legacies we’ve adopted over the years. These aren’t rigid data-focused discussions. Rather they provide an opportunity for us to learn from each other and from ourselves.