With the new year just on the horizon, now is a perfect time to consider new strategies which will help you be a more effective caregiver and also provide benefits to your senior loved one. Journaling to reduce caregiver stress is a great option, and journaling can also be utilized as an outlet to problem-solve and keep a record of caregiving-related tasks. Furthermore, keeping a daily journal can:
- Make you healthier. Writing about challenging situations and emotions for as little as 20 minutes every day for 3 or 4 days each week has been demonstrated to enhance immune system functioning, improve sleep, lower blood pressure, enhance mobility for those with arthritis, and much more.
- Enhance your caregiving skills. Reading back over what you’ve written at the conclusion of each week helps you to pick up on any patterns, triggers that upset your senior loved one, certain times of day which are better or worse for the older adult, etc. You can then take the appropriate steps to proactively address these challenges before they become problems.
- Help you understand yourself better. Caregiving normally requires so much energy and attention, it’s easy to lose sight of who you are and what’s important to you as a person. Journaling helps bring your own feelings, thoughts, and emotions to the surface.
- Help you understand others better. Along those lines, describing misunderstandings and disagreements in your journal will help you see things more clearly from the other person’s point of view, and offer wisdom into how to manage (and avoid) disputes.
Much like implementing virtually any new routine, it may take a while to get used to the idea of journaling and to allow it to become a priority. The key is to set aside a specific time each day, in a quiet, private place, and to tell yourself that it’s ok to write about anything and everything that comes to mind.
One good method for journaling to reduce caregiver stress is to utilize a “stream of consciousness” approach – not placing a lot of thought into what you are going to write and exactly how to write it, but merely to start writing and to keep writing continuously – whether or not it’s relevant to your caregiving duties or not. Remember, your writing will never be seen by other people (unless you choose to share it), or graded. Forget about perfect grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and just let your feelings spill out onto the paper.
If finding time and energy to spend on journaling is a challenge, turn to Live Free Home Health Care. We provide respite care services that allow family caregivers the time they need for themselves. Let us partner with you to ensure your senior loved one receives the highest possible quality of care, while you discover the healthy life balance you need and deserve.
Email us or give us a call at 603-217-0149 for additional helpful caregiving tips or to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more about our professional home care in Laconia and the surrounding communities.