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  • Writer's pictureCelise de Carvalho

Sandwiched in the middle

Every stage of life comes with its own challenges and isn’t it lucky we can’t anticipate it until we are in it.

It is easy to look back on the first years of high school and understand how awkward it feels, how overwhelming all the new spaces and people felt. Or to remember the tiredness and exhaustion of the years raising a baby and toddler. It’s harder to look forward and imagine the difficulties of retiring or being middle aged…until you are there.

Hard yards

What could be hard about being middle aged? It sounds like you’ve done the hard yards.

You may of raised children, worked hard and found a job that suits you, established where you would like to live and are heading towards things getting more comfortable. If you are part of the sandwich generation you might be starting to feel that this is not quite going to plan. It might feel like the hard yards are getting harder.


The sandwich generation is the group of adults who are caring for children and parents. To some this might not sound too bad but the stress builds as the complexity of the situation does. For example:

-your child might have lost their job and needs your financial support.

-your parents might want to downsize, need help managing all their appointments/planning and thus, you need to take time off work.

-your child might be struggling with making friends at school.

-one of your parents might have died and the other parents needs your emotional support as you also try to acknowledge your own grief.

One or all of these things might be happening and you may have:

-finally landed your dream job

-returned to full time work

-moved to a new city

-your own health challenges

-ended a relationship

-started studying

-a sibling who requires additional care

This can lead to an increase in financial, emotional and physical toll on you which will lead to straining your financial, emotional and physical wellbeing. And your sandwich might be starting to feel a bit like this -

A little bit basic, weighed down, just doing the job.


Sometimes you will require extra support so you can continue to support those around you. This can look like:

Acknowledging and reflecting on your role as a carer. Taking stock of how much you do and why this is important (or not) to you.

Scheduling in self care in the way that best suits you. It could be exercise, socialising, resting or talking to a counsellor.

Asking for help. This may be asking a partner, sibling or friend for a hand or it might be seeking professional support, such as a GP, aged care services, school based services or mental health services.

Setting boundaries and understanding your limitations. Accept what you can do and let go of the rest. There are limits to your time, energy and mental wellbeing so try to be honest with yourself about these. We thrive when we work within these limits. Pushing these limits is when stress, anxiety, worry starts to overwhelm us.

Good luck navigating this stage. I hope all the positives of this stage are outweighing the hard parts. If you feel that the stress of it is starting to impact you, reach out. I am here to listen.

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