Recently I coached a young woman who is part of the “sandwich generation”—people who have responsibility for their children and their aging parents.
She has a tough work travel schedule and is a divorced parent. A few months ago she contracted walking pneumonia from the stress of juggling everything, something she has never suffered from before.
While she has said “no” to increasing the financial responsibility for her mother, she is having a hard time making it stick. It feels to her like she might even have to sacrifice having a relationship with her mother if she doesn’t continue to contribute in the way her mother wants.
The guilt and strain on her was apparent.
Responsibility is obviously a key value for her, but it is being overused. When a strength or value is overused, it can become a weakness.
Some serious self-care is in order. Luckily she has a sympathetic boss who cut back her travel schedule.
Through some quick coaching we figured out some short-term steps for her to develop self-care, including walking on the nights she doesn’t have to pick up her son.
It will obviously take some strategizing to find longer-term solutions to her difficulties with her mother.
If you are in a situation where it feels like one of your strengths is overused or is being used against you (and particularly if it is compromising your physical or mental health), please identify the values that are being compromised.
Then commit to at least one step you can take to honor the value that has been overlooked…particularly if it has anything to do with your health.
May we pursue our paths, honoring all our values,