With the new year just around the corner, now is the perfect time to consider new strategies which will help you be an even more effective caregiver and also provide benefits to your loved one. Journaling is a great way to cut down on caregiver stress, and can be used as an outlet to problem-solve and keep a record of caregiving-related tasks. In addition, keeping a journal for family caregivers can:
- Make you healthier. Writing about challenging emotions and situations for as little as 20 minutes for 3 or 4 days per week has been shown to increase immune system functioning, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, enhance mobility for individuals with arthritis, and much more.
- Sharpen 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 senior loved one, etc. You can then make a plan to proactively anticipate these issues before they become problems.
- Help you understand yourself better. Caregiving can take so much of your time and attention; it is possible to lose sight of the person you are and what is important to you as an individual. Journaling helps bring your feelings, thoughts, and emotions to the surface.
- Help you understand others better. Along those lines, outlining misunderstandings and disagreements in your journal makes it possible to see things more clearly from the other person’s point of view, and provide wisdom into how to manage (and prevent) conflicts.
As with implementing any other new routine, it can take some time to get used to the idea of journaling and to allow it to become a priority. The important thing is to put aside specific time each day, in a calming, private place, and to tell yourself that it’s ok to write about anything and everything that comes to mind.
One useful method for journaling is to utilize a “stream of consciousness” approach – not putting a lot of thought into what you are planning to write and how to write it, but merely to begin writing and to keep writing continuously – whether it’s connected to your caregiving duties or not. Remember, your writing won’t be seen by other people (unless you choose to share it), or graded. Forget about perfect grammar, punctuation, and spelling, and simply let your feelings flow out onto the paper.
If finding time to devote to journaling is a challenge, get in touch with Morning Glory Home Care, a provider of top-rated home health care in Alton, IL & surrounding areas. We are always available to provide regular, ongoing respite care services that enable family caregivers the time they need for themselves. Let us partner with you to make sure your senior loved one receives the highest possible quality of care, while you achieve the healthy life balance you need and deserve.
Call us at 618-667-8400 for further helpful caregiving tips or to set up a free in-home consultation for more information regarding our professional home health care in Alton, IL and the surrounding areas.