Sometime I feel like I’m being squeezed from all sides. My parents on one side of me, my kids on the other, and here I am in the middle taking care of both. I am sandwiched, just like so many other people my age who are going through the same thing…

Sound familiar?

If you are like most people, you’ve probably got an idea of some calming activities you want to build into your life. Maybe you’ve considered meditation or exercise, but they always seem to end up on the bottom of your to-do list. Maybe you put them off because you fear what you might discover while meditating or exercising, or you feel guilty at taking “me time.”

The “sandwich generation” is a tough and wonderful place to be, so we found a few voices from this age and stage who are writing about their experiences. Hopefully this will encourage you to step outside your daily life and build in some of the calm you need.

Voices from the Sandwich Generation: On Meditation and Calm

How to Meditate

“Every meditation practice starts with focusing on the breath.

Mindfulness meditation is about being in the moment, and nothing gets you back to this moment more effectively than focusing on your breath. Take 10 slow breaths in and out if you don’t have time to meditate but you need to focus, realign or just settle the mind in the midst of a very busy day.”

Your Biggest Fear

Marjory Abrams’ at discusses the excuses and problems that come with meditating and offers solutions:

“Problem: The "mind chatter" won’t stop. You may hope that meditation will clear your mind of thoughts, but invariably the thoughts keep on coming -- a conversation you had last week ... what you want to eat for dinner. Your mind just won’t shut down.

Solution: Don’t fight the thoughts. Just observe them as they pass through your mind.

It’s like sitting on the bank of a river and watching the water float by, noticing leaves, twigs, fish, flashes of sunlight and shadow -- without being swept up by the current.

If the thoughts persist, gently bring your attention back to the sensations of breathing... or the feeling of your feet on the floor. When more thoughts arise, repeat the process.”

Create a Simple Day of Rest

Christina Katz’s article on tells us how:

“Spend an hour of family time in total silence. Turn off any televisions, stereos or noisy appliances. Encourage family members to meditate, read or simply nap.”

One final note if you are having trouble getting free of life’s worries: counting your breaths is a great way to start clearing your thoughts and focus only on your breathing. Meditating isn’t always easy to try, but it can have big payoffs for your “sandwiched” life.

Have you tried meditating or prayer as a calming activity? How do you settle yourself in the midst of such a busy life? We’d love for you to share your tips and experiences!


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