Gone are the days when Dad worked 9 to 5 and Mom stayed home raising the children and taking care of the household. In 1967, 49 percent of mothers were stay-at-home moms, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Today it is roughly at 29%, and has been on the rise since an all time low in 1999 of only 25% (Pew Research Center) Being a working mom or a single working mom can certainly take its toll on your health as you try to juggle all your responsibilities. Let’s face it; Mom’s put everyone else’s needs first.
But there’s an even bigger drain on women these days as the number of 40-year-olds enter the Sandwich Generation. If you haven’t heard of the Sandwich Generation, this is the age group that is taking care of both elderly parents and grown children.
According to the Pew Research Center, just over 1 of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent. We are living longer these days and as such there is a growing need for taking care of and supporting our elderly parents. And on the other side of the coin, as we make our way out of a very long recession, more adult children are having to live at home with their parents.
The financial toll can definitely add stress your life, but it’s more than that. Being in the position of both financial and emotional support to both your parents and children is draining and can be unhealthy if you don’t take care of yourself too. Of course I am not saying to ignore your family’s needs, but I am saying you won’t be much help if you’re stressed and sick. For some reason what is best for our mental and physical health seem to be the first we put on the back burner. It’s not uncommon for anxiety and depression to start to be an issue with women in this age group. Taking care of you means paying attention to body and mind and soul.
Feeling lethargic, getting overwhelmed easily, feeling irritable or anxious are all signs of being overloaded and overstressed. And what happens when you’re feeling this way? You overeat, or eat the wrong foods, which leaves you feeling even worse, your workouts are inconsistent or non–existent, and forget about ME time! Now, on top of the stresses of daily living, you’re gaining weight, your body is acquiring new aches and pains, and you can’t remember the last time you did something for you. You have officially been put on the back burner.
taking back your time
So what can you do to remedy this situation? How can you get back on the road to good health and feeling good about yourself without neglecting your laundry list of responsibilities?
Here are few things you can start doing that should help:
What do you do to get a little "me time" into your day? Feel free to share your thoughts and tips below.
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Lisa Swanson is an ACE Certified Health Coach, Personal Trainer and Orthopedic Exercise Specialist as well as a certified AASDN and PN level 1 nutritionist. With over 35 years experience helping people turn their lives around, she is on a mission to provide relevant and useful knowledge to help women in midlife reach their goals.
Check out my interview with the Magnificent Midlife podcast on staying fit and healthy long-term.