Surviving and Enjoying the Holidays

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As the Holidays are fast approaching, I have spent much of my time during sessions preparing clients for visiting and enjoying their time with their families and loved ones. Most vacations away visiting families or staying home are wonderful and full of long lasting positive memories. Sometimes, this is not the case with all families or all trips. One idea to help navigate through potential troubled waters, is to create a mini traveling survivlal kit that will help soften some of the intense feelings that occur after a family trigger. Trauma Expert, Janine Fischer suggests this with people who are at risk for self harm, but I have found that1Y0-A20 dumps
this idea helps many people cope in all situations. We are always packing for EVERYTHING–why not “pack” a kit that will help you cope with potential family triggers. asking alexandria Triggers can occur in any sensory experience: sight, taste, smell and auditory.

The contents of the kit depends on YOU and the details surrounding the trip. To prepare,  you must think about potential pit falls and triggers, as well as, the events that you really want to ENJOY! With this in mind, pay attention to how you are feeling when thinking of the triggers — Windows 8.1 Professional Key how intense are they? where are you feeling them in your body? Now –what are some things that might help you cope IF this situation occurs during your home holiday or your vacation away. Some suggestions are: exercise, going to the movies,  listening to a great song list, knitting/sewing, reading a book that is pleasurable, calling/texting a friend…. . Make list and practice preparing to use it.  You can literally create a box to bring or even something in a separate bag that would also include your favorite quote, stones or other “grounding” objects.

When faced with difficult family situations, this survival kit gives you a plan to help control feelings that can be overwhelming and can cause you to feel flooded. Most importantly, the goal is to ENJOY the events that are important to you and not remain STUCK in the emotional storm. Hope this tip helps you in enjoy your holiday.

Sandwich Generation: My contribution to a recent article in PARENTING magazine: May 2013 issue

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More commonly, moms and dads are caring for their kids and their parents. Read about what’s it like to live together as an extended family

By Janene Mascarella

“There was a day where I was nursing a baby during a conference call and simultaneously searching for ramp installers online,” says Mona Shand of Brighton, MI. She and her husband help care for her 81-year-old father, who is wheelchair-bound and suffers from Parkinson’s disease, and their three children, ages 5, 3, and 1, while balancing full-time jobs.

The Shands are members of the sandwich generation, a colloquial term for Windows 8 Professional Key
those caring for kids and aging family members simultaneously. It’s a demographic that’s becoming increasingly crowded. In a recent poll from A Place for Mom, Inc. (APFM), the nation’s largest senior-living referral information service, more than half of the respondents (95 percent of whom were parents) said an older family member is either already living in their home or expected to within the next five years. It’s a statistic I can relate to. While my 84-year-old father-in-law is active and self-sufficient, it’s understood that Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 Key sometime in the not-so-distant future, he will move in with us. That would bring us to two kids, two Betta fish, a dog, a bearded dragon, and Grandpa.

Caring for an older relative is nothing new, but dual caregiving is a relatively recent phenomenon due to advances in medicine, longer life spans, and starting families later in life. The recession—and the shrinking retirement savings it created—served only to cement the trend.

In the end, multigenerational caregiving presents a complicated family landscape to navigate. It’s no wonder the sandwich generation finds itself, well, squeezed.

Stuck in the Middle

“I knew I was in the sandwich generation when in the course of one week, my elderly dad said to me, ‘I hate you, I wish you weren’t my son,’ and my daughter said, ‘I wish you weren’t my father,’” says Herb Lin, a father of one in Washington, DC. “I responded to them both the same way: ‘I’m sorry you feel that way, but I love you and you’re stuck with me.’” Lin says his father and 11-year-old daughter were not close, which he attributes to a cultural and generational divide. (Lin’s father was a Chinese man who came to the U.S. as an adult, and did not acclimate well to American culture.)

One of Lin’s biggest challenges was shaking the feeling that he was neglecting one while spending time with the other. “My priority was my daughter, who I felt needed me more, but I had to respond to my dad’s emergencies quite often,” he says. “I was able to reduce the stress only by compartmentalizing—dealing with each one separately rather than trying to integrate the relationships under one family umbrella.”

For those taking a cue from Lin, make sure some of that compartmentalizing qualifies as quality time, advises Meredith Gelman, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in Fairfax, VA. “In these situations, it’s important for parents and kids to spend time alone,” explains Gelman. “A simple, inexpensive afternoon together can remind them that they are still an intact family.”

Alot of sandwich generationers feel pressure to do everything for everyone in their nest. That’s a first-class ticket to a guilt trip, says Dana Dorfman, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and family counselor in New York City. “Guilt is a normal response, but in order to help either generation,” says Dorfman, “you have to meet your own needs.” Find an outlet: exercise, plan a regular girls’ night out, find private time with your spouse. “Prioritize your own physical and mental health first.” To avoid burnout, suggests Gelman, don’t just ask friends and family for help; ask them to help with specific tasks.

Hand-Me-Down Life Lessons

While the challenges are great, there are benefits—for all generations. In the APFM survey, nearly 41 percent cited the opportunity to reciprocate the care they received growing up as a plus. “A lot of people say it must be very hard taking care of my mother, my daughter, and my business,” says Monika Hengesbach, who owns a tax practice in Pleasant Hill, CA. “But knowing that my mom doesn’t have to worry about being alone when she’s sick is the greatest gift I can give her.”

When the time comes for my family, my kids will witness empathy in action and caring come full circle, a lesson that’s not lost on Fitton’s children. “My kids have a greater understanding of love and responsibility,” Fitton explains. “They see that sometimes parents and grandparents need help, and because we love them, we do whatever we can to take care of them.”

It’s bonding on a whole new level, Gelman explains. “These situations really expand a child’s mind-set and avail them to think a little less about themselves,” she says, “if only for a moment.”