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Being the Ham or Cheese Ain’t Always a Breeze
October 17, 2016
Tips for the struggling Sandwich Generation on how to keep it all together
Canadians stuck in the sandwich generation are often bombarded with stress from all angles as they spend their days juggling their own lives, the lives of their young children and the lives of their aging parents. Even the most mundane tasks such as organizing the laundry, medications, finances and groceries pile up leaving this generation overworked, exhausted and with zero downtime. Couple that with the after school activities, countless doctor's appointments and curriculum nights and there is little time if any to care about leading their own healthy lifestyle. As the sandwich generation lifestyle becomes the norm, staying organized becomes the key to surviving and enjoying life without stress.
"We are a generation that works long and hard to make sure everything is perfect for the family," says Marie Potter, Marketing Director of Professional Organizers in Canada (POC). "We need to organize our children's and parent's lives, health, finances and future, but more importantly we need to learn shortcuts and tips to keep our own lives running smoothly."
With the busiest season of the year approaching, Professional Organizers in Canada are offering tips on how you can make time to put yourself first while not neglecting family needs.
- Invest the time to get your finances, your parent's finances and your child's future in order, and be okay with seeking help from a financial planner or consultant that you trust.
- Have your advisor contact you regularly to review finances, you never know when you will suddenly need to adjust cash flow to take care of a parent.
- Teach your kids financial responsibility early. This essential life skill will help you, while it will also prepare them for the future.
- Know that you're not alone! The lifestyle of the sandwich generation is becoming increasingly common, so find other people in your position and help each other out.
- Plan carpools with your neighbours to get the kids to school and activities. Call or research how associations can help you, for example the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
- Organize an emergency contact list for yourself and your family to call for help in case something suddenly arises.
- If you have a more serious situation with an ailing parent, work as a team with your siblings and divide up duties that take advantage of skills and individual situations.
- As your children grow older, use this as a learning opportunity. Create meal schedules that are easy to follow and invite your children to help. If they are old enough to drive, encourage them to take their grandparents to the appointments. It will be a great chance to learn responsibility and bond with their grandparents.
- Replace "chores" with "life skills" and hire help when you can afford it.
- Often, being organized is simply letting things go.
- Striving for spotless can really create internal stress. Look around for things that could be done less often.
- We've become incessantly clean, washing things after only a short time wearing them. If clothes aren't dirty, sweaty or stinky, you could give them a second go or instead of washing sheets weekly stretch it out to reduce laundry.
- Get things on autopilot – if you need medications for ailing parents have the pharmacy prepare blister packs and have them delivered.
- Always schedule appointments, family time, medications and 'me time' to help you visually balance your life.
- Leverage technology by using apps like Planner Pro to sync all your calendars in one place, or apps like Road Warrior and Route4Me to plan the easiest route for errands.
- Combine family time with the basics such as eating breakfast or eating dinner.
- Be honest and stop volunteer work if it puts you over the edge, family comes first.
- Always schedule 'me time' at the end of every month. Let your family members know that the hour or two is special time for yourself to reflect and encourage them to do the same. With everything that you're dealing with, keeping yourself healthy is a necessity.
Find a Professional Organizer near you by visiting www.organizersincanada.com.
Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) is a national registered non-profit association that provides education, business development tools and a code of ethics for all types of organizers across Canada. Currently representing over 500 Professional Organizers in more than 14 chapters nation-wide, POC's mandate is to provide a supportive environment for members to learn, share ideas, network, and exchange resources. POC also works to educate the public about the organizing industry and the benefits of working with a POC member.
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