Is midlife starting to not only feel like a crisis but a sandwich too?
Let me guess that’s you the one squeezed in the middle. If you’re
reading this then perhaps midlife and sandwiched is what caught your
eye? Your world on any given day is probably shuffling through endless
practises, soccer, football, volleyball, carpool obligations, trips to
buy last-minute project supplies within a blink of an eye, not even a
second to catch your breath your pivoting to hearing aids, walkers,
mitigating memory loss issues, and doctor visits all fluid changes
associated with aging and elder care. Yes! a bit of an oxymoron but this
is YOUR WORLD sandwiched between teenagers and elder care is where a
lot of us baby boomers have found ourselves these days.
Never in a million years did I think I would find myself here a dichotomy between young and old without a script feeling spent much of the time and basically winging it. Now don’t get me wrong I am truly blessed fortunate to have an aging parent to care for with healthy teens to keep track of worry about and sure to keep my vocal cords on a maximum pitch on a near-daily basis. But make no mistake this is one blessing that leaves most of us feeling squeezed and downright exhausted.
Living life to it’s fullest you expect the rough bumps along the path. But in midlife, the road forks often moving in opposite directions. If you were as fortunate as I was, you have fond memories of your maverick that pillar of strength in your life, you’d lean in strong soaking up their strength and courage as they zipped seamlessly through life’s challenges creating magic in your world beyond belief. The zip is now gone the strength is frail they lean into you now for the fortitude and courage they so graciously passed along. As they lean in on one side, you are no doubt feeling the squeeze on the opposite side being fully engaged, nurturing, strengthening and supporting young adults as they begin to navigate the world. So, for those of you mid-lifers resonating with this dichotomy, the opposite roads of sorts daunting and often seemingly impassable. Here’s a shout out and a high five for making it this far!
If you’re at the rest stop along the way feeling alone and bewildered-looking to your left down one road and to your right down the other wondering if this sandwich will loosen long enough for some me time? Yeah, me too. But instead of letting those thoughts have you feeling overwhelmed and a tad ungrateful. Realize your blessings as wonderful as they can be leave you exhausted, emotionally spent, and in need of some real coping solutions. I’m sure no two situations are alike but here are 5 things I think help manage the midlife squeeze.
1. First, understand you can’t do it ALL and don’t even try. Instead, find some ways to make your life easier, yes like a freakin crockpot. So 1950’s I know, do yourself a favor and remember some old secrets just can’t be improved upon and the crockpot might be one. This just might be how June Cleaver and Lucille Ball made it all look so easy. Tasteless and boring has got to be your next objection? But you just might be pleasantly surprised what wonderful dishes you can whip up in that pot. On any given day in my kitchen, you might find oxtails, chili, lemon chicken or beef stew brewing, and best of all ready to eat when I walk through that door.
2. YOUR 5 things- Yes! This is all about you. 5 things you enjoy doing I’m talking about those things that make you feel alive like a child not a care in the world, make sure one of them is added to your calendar at least once a week.
3. Stop skipping the essentials to good health- Midlife might be a time to just realize it’s harder to skip things you once could and still bounce back. Like sleep, exercise, and nutritious food. Also, consider you may not be getting all the nutrition you need and supplements may help fill some voids. Like adding a great Fish oil with a good amount of EPA supporting cognitive function and mental clarity. Or how about supporting your cellular health, yes all of your 37.2 trillion cells, that get you through the day. A molecule known as NAD essential to energy production has been shown to decrease by as much as 50-60% in Midlife. Replacing your NAD with Tru Niagen may help curb some of those energy dips throughout the day, and assist in a few other age-related changes.
4. Sleep! Sounds simple something we do every day but if you are one of the millions having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep and find basic sleep is eluding you. This is something you cannot ignore. Without proper sleep, you cannot function on a normal level let alone meet the demands of a Midlife sandwich A few suggestions set up an environment conducive to sleep drop the TV and other distractions in the room, warm bath, or an herbal tea with chamomile. If these things don’t work schedule an appointment to discuss with your doctor, and never accept poor sleep habits as “its ok” it can never be a part of good health.
5. Recalibrating the mind- Mediation, deep breathing, quiet time free of
electronics and outside stimulation is what the mind needs to relax.
Mind support, nutrition, and health cannot be overlooked and neglected.
Giving your mind time, attention and support to recalibrate will be key
to your well being. One of my favorites for relaxing my mind and
recalibrating in an instant throughout the day is Dr. Andrew Weil’s
4-7-8 Breathing Exercise.
Trapped in a Midlife crisis, sandwiched between Teenagers and Eldercare? In search of some more great tips, to help ease the squeeze? Check out these articles: Role Reversal: Care giving for aging parents, Bridging the Generation Gap, Older people offer resources younger people need
Photos- Courtesy Unsplash: Yvonne-Lee-Ha, Ting-Tian, Victor Garcia
Faith M. Whittier M.D.