We’re all familiar with someone who simply wore themselves out with too much psychological and/or physical stress. The problem is preventable, but only if the person at risk is willing to prevent self-harm with self-care.
Sandwich Generation* children too often become involved in caring for their children, spouses, selves, and one or more aging parents. The pressures build up to the point that the person can’t cope with living everyone’s lives for them. They become emotionally worn out or physically weary, and usually at the same time. Sometimes, though, the suffering person only understands that with hindsight. The life lesson that they need to realize is that by not taking breaks to nurture their bodies and to rest their minds, they let themselves run out of energy and/or became ill, unable to manage their own life let alone anyone else’s. Psychological misery is another aspect of the overall situation.
Empathic people tend to feel the emotions and sometimes the illnesses of people around them. They become worn out if they fail to realize that they’re experiencing someone else’s reality, not their own. They also wear down their energies and health if they try to solve the problems which belong to other people in addition to their own. Psychiatrist and empath Dr. Judith Orloff shared some advice for empaths in Anchor Magazine‘s recent article 5 Tips for Caring People to Take Care of Themselves. They can help anyone else overwhelmed by a lack of self-care, too.
College students, ill people, and anyone else who faces relocation, schedule changing, life altering situations needs to indulge in self-care. Delaying that self-care can become problematic once a person loses the ability to arrange it. The result can be chronic or repeated bouts of short term illness and incapacity.
Men tend to suffer from the lack of self-care, too. Symptoms of the problem show up in strokes, heart attacks, divorces, weight problems, and depression, if not untimely deaths at young ages.
Here’s a thought to consider: “The way you frame something is the way you will feel about it.” If you are debating whether or not, and how, you need self-care, spend time figuring out what you value. If you won’t be able to act on those values in a satisfying way because you’re killing yourself with excessive stress and too little self-care, you can begin to realize the wisdom of nurturing your psychological and physical health so that they won’t wear out.
David Litke’s Budget Success newsletter, The Sandwich Generation (Sept. 10, 2013) defines the Sandwich Generation as: “The term “sandwich generation” describes the generation of baby-boomers, born in the years after WWII (1946-1964), who find themselves financially responsible to an extent for both the generation which preceded them — their parents — and for their own children as well. Due to longer life expectancy, the parents are living longer and are more likely to need some financial help, and due to economic upheavals of recent years, the free flow of credit and the increasing disconnect between university education and earning power, children are taking longer to get on their feet and require parental aid longer than they used to. Studies show that about 1 of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent. With the continuing increase in life expectancy, this burden is not likely to ease anytime soon.”