Monday 25 May 2009

Top Ten Self-Fullness Tips For Sandwiched Women

No need to look up "self-fullness" in the dictionary - you
won't find it. And it's also not likely to be in the vocabulary
of women who are pulled between their careers, children,
parents, spouse or even grandchildren. No matter what age women
have attained, many still act the part of the 'good girl,'
responding to the needs of others first. It's fitting that these
multitasking women are called the Sandwich Generation - since a
sandwich often means a quick bite to eat on the run for those
who don't have the time for a sit-down meal.

No matter what challenges you face in your career and at home
with children growing up and parents growing older, it's not
selfish to set aside time for a taste of healthy self-fullness.
Vow to put your feet up and think about yourself for once. What
brings you happiness? What relieves the stress you face every
day? What will bring balance to your life? These ten tips will
guide you as you make plans to nourish yourself.

1. Whether you are changing jobs, having a baby, facing an
empty nest, welcoming a boomerang kidult home, caring for a
parent with Alzheimer's or anticipating your spouse's
retirement, you don't have to cope with it alone. Find others in
like situations or a women's group and gain emotional support as
you share ideas.

2. As caring for your family-in-flux requires more and more of
your energy, you may not be able to spend as much time with your
friends. Resolve to stay in contact with them - even though your
to-do list keeps growing and your calendar is full. Friendships
and the social support they provide can be a potent antidote to
the toxins of daily hassles.

3. Schedule in some quiet, private time and do something that
gives you pleasure - take a walk by the water, enjoy the beauty
of a sunset, immerse yourself in a good book. Think of this as a
personal retreat that provides the opportunity to reconnect and
re-center yourself.

4. Guilt runs rampant among caregivers who often worry that
they're not doing enough for their loved ones. Remind yourself
that you're dancing as fast as you can, given the realities of
your life situation. You don't have to be the perfect mother,
daughter, or wife. Set your own reasonable standards rather than
falling in the trap of trying to live up to others'

5. Work to release additional areas of negativity - both in
thought and emotions. When you are afraid of what the future
holds in store or angry about what you need to cope with on a
daily basis, acknowledge these as normal reactions and accept
that they will come and go. Your frustrations and resentments
make up part of the tapestry of your life but they need not be
in the forefront. Once you understand that they are common
responses to a difficult situation, you will find it easier to
let them recede.

6. As you free yourself from negative feelings, begin to
replace them with a more positive attitude. In your journal,
write about what you are grateful for in your life. End each
evening by reviewing three pleasant things that happened that
day and savor the warmth these memories generate. Let your
creativity emerge as you explore new interests.

7. Develop personal stress relievers to counteract the burnout
that at times overwhelms you. Practice techniques of deep
breathing, relaxation or your own form of meditation. Begin an
exercise program that you will enjoy - commit to a schedule at
the gym or take in the great outdoors, walking with a friend,
biking in the neighborhood, hiking in the countryside on

8. Give yourself the gift of laughter - look for humor in your
daily life, share a funny movie or television show with a
friend, participate in activities that bring you joy. After you
read the news section of your daily paper, turn to the Comics
page to lighten your mood and release endorphins. Recent studies
have found that a positive mood creates the atmosphere for
better decision-making.

9. Ask for what you need from your family members and seek out
professionals for their expertise and guidance. You don't have
to do everything yourself. Let your spouse, children and
siblings know exactly how you feel, what you want from them, and
how they can do their share.

10. Recognize that it is healthy to receive as well as to give.
Taking help when it is offered doesn't diminish your abilities.
Accept and integrate the admiration that others express for you.
Relish the gratitude and love that your partner, parents and
children demonstrate.

As you decide to take better care of yourself, you will
discover the strength to find balance in your life. Develop a
firm core of self-fullness - it will sustain you as you continue
to nurture your growing and changing family.

© Her Mentor Center, 2008

About The Author: Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D. & Phyllis Goldberg,
Ph.D. are founders of, a website
for midlife women &, a Blog for the
Sandwich Generation. They are authors of a forthcoming book
about Baby Boomers' relationships & publish a free newsletter

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