Don’t Forget to Take a Break

5 - Don't Forget to Take a Break {Header Image}If you’re the lynchpin in your family, providing balance, support, and even financial assistance to parents, children, grandchildren, or others, you’ve probably experienced one thing in abundance: exhaustion.

Even though many Sandwich Generation members find a sense of purpose and satisfaction in their role, there’s no denying that it’s an intensive one. Factor in a job and the usual day-to-day responsibilities of a grown up, and you’ve got a recipe for overload.

So what do you do?

You should be at the top of your to-do list

Prioritizing your mental and emotional health is critical in the same way that prioritizing your financial future is.

In other words, the same logic applies to both: if you want to be truly supportive of others, you need to have a strong foundation. Otherwise, the whole undertaking can become unsustainable – or even damaging.

Think of it like saving for retirement – both financially and physically.

It’s not as silly as it might seem: stress and lack of sleep are clearly associated with long-term health risks, like higher incidence of Type 2 diabetes. 1 We all want to enjoy a healthy future and the benefits of mobility and financial stability, so do what you can while you can to help make it a reality.

Your first order of business? Finding time to take a break.

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But how!? When!?

Finding time for rest in an already busy schedule can feel like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. In fact, adding yet another obligation (even one that’s supposed to be, well, relaxing) to your packed day can seem like more stress and effort than it’s worth.

But it’s not! The benefits really do warrant the effort. It’s just a matter of finding the right way to do it – for you.

Here are a few free (or close to free) ideas to get your started:

  • Find someone else to take the kids to school a couple of days a week.
    Maybe it’s another parent who’s willing to switch days, maybe it’s a family member who can swing past your house. Maybe it’s the school bus. Try to use the time to buy yourself a little peace and quiet in the morning.
  • Enforce a devices curfew in your house.
    After that, nothing but books and banter. This is much easier if you keep all the chargers out of reach, and it can help make your evenings more restful (the blue light emitted from electronics is associated with sleep disturbance).
  • Use your lunch break to go for a walk.
    If you can get away for 30 minutes to an hour in the middle of the day, don’t fill the time with phone calls and extra work. Leave the office – without your phone! – and spend the time outside. If you work in a busy commercial area it might not be the most scenic of walks, but it can still be a powerful way to re-center and relax.
  • Try meditation.
    Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce stress, improve sleep, and even positively affect your mental health. You can try it for free with one of countless apps and downloads.

Need the extra oomph that can come with a financial investment? Try these:

  • Make an appointment with a personal trainer.
    Knowing you have an appointment to keep could also make it much easier to just go. If you don’t want to join a gym, consider working with a cheaper independent trainer – just be sure to check their credentials and references.
  • Hire a babysitter to come at the same time every week.
    Use the time to go for a run or walk – or a cup of coffee. Do not use the time to run errands and make calls. Again, knowing someone will be in the house at a certain time can help make it easier to go.
  • Hire a housecleaning service.
    This can seem like a ridiculous luxury for some, and for others it’s a necessary part of life. But if you’re struggling to relax, coming home to a clean house could be just the ticket.
  • Go for a weekly (or monthly) massage.
    Again, this is the power of appointments in action: not only that, massages are just very relaxing and require you to do nothing for upwards of an hour. Who can beat that?

Of course, no single way of “taking a break” works for everyone. One person’s relaxing and strenuous run might be a uniquely effective form of torture for someone else. The key is to find the strategy that works for you – and keeps working. It might take some trial and error to find the best way to fit relaxation into your life, but as a busy person with a full plate of responsibilities, it’s critical.

As we said, think of it as retirement planning – for your health.

Looking for more?

Our free eBook series on Sandwich Generation finances offers help with planning, guidance, and support for members of the Sandwich Generation. Covering everything from tax tips to lifestyle advice, you’ll get access to a lot of information in an easy-to-read downloadable format. Click here to download your copy today!

Let Us Help!

We can discuss this topic and more at a complimentary appointment. As a bay area retirement planning coaches, we can give you a review and make suggestions based on your retirement objectives.

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Important disclosures

The opinions voiced in this article are for general information only. They are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual and do not constitute an endorsement by United Planners.

To determine which investments may be appropriate for you, consult with your financial professional. Please remember that investment decisions should be based on an individual’s goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk.

Neither diversification nor asset allocation can ensure a profit or prevention of loss in times of declining values. United Planners does not render tax advice.