Balancing Work and Life

Your Career Coach Balancing Work and Life Dear Michele, Is it really possible to balance work and life, or is that just something people say? I’m in that “sandwich generation,” working a demanding job while caring for ailing parents as well as school-age kids. There’s not much time left for me or my husband. I’m […]

Your Career Coach

Balancing Work and Life

Dear Michele,

Is it really possible to balance work and life, or is that just something people say? I’m in that “sandwich generation,” working a demanding job while caring for ailing parents as well as school-age kids. There’s not much time left for me or my husband. I’m stressed and frazzled. How do I find the balance?

– Out of Whack

Dear Whack,

When you’re in the middle of a crisis, it’s very hard to imagine the situation will ever change. But believe me: Someday your kids will grow up and move away, and someday your parents will, sadly, pass on. It may give you comfort to remind yourself that “this, too, shall pass” and accept both the anxiety and the great gifts in your situation as it stands today. On a practical level, try these things to relieve some of the stress:

1. Take brief breaks for yourself. Go for a walk. Read a magazine. Talk with a friend on the phone. Even 15 minutes can be refreshing – and can recharge your batteries.

2. Build a support group for yourself. Talk with other caregivers so you can share your experiences and learn from theirs.

3. Share the load. You’re only alone in this if you allow yourself to be. Find people to give you “respite care,” such as those who can come in for an hour or two so you can attend to other things you may have put off to care for your loved one. Giving other people a chance to show they love and care for the person in need can be a great gift for everyone.

4. Acknowledge that what you’re doing is hard. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can. It’s tough to accept that you might not be able to “fix” the situation, because we all can go to the place where we’re superhuman and “should be able to make this work,” but sometimes we just can’t. Being able to acknowledge that is a step toward maintaining your own balance.


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