With the new year just around the corner, now is a great time to think about new strategies that will help you become a more effective family caregiver and also provide benefits to your senior loved one. Journaling is an effective way to minimize caregiver stress, and can be utilized as an outlet to problem-solve and keep track of caregiving’s associated tasks. Additionally, journaling can:
- Make you healthier. Writing about challenging emotions and situations for as little as 20 minutes three to four days per week has been shown to boost immune system functioning, improve sleep, lower blood pressure, enhance mobility for individuals with osteoarthritis, and so much more.
- Sharpen your caregiving skills. Reading back over everything you’ve written at the end of every week enables you to pick up on any patterns, triggers that upset your senior loved one, certain times of day which are typically better or worse for the senior, etc. You can then take the appropriate steps to proactively address these issues before they become problems.
- Help you understand yourself better. Caregiving usually requires so much energy 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 thoughts, feelings and emotions to the surface.
- Help you to understand others better. Along those lines, outlining disagreements and misunderstandings in your journal will help you see things more clearly from the other person’s perspective, and provide understanding into how to manage (and prevent) conflicts.
Similar to starting any other new routine, it will take some time to get used to the concept of journaling and to make it a priority. The key is to set aside a specified time every 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 approach for journaling is to use a “stream of consciousness” approach – not placing a great deal of thought into what you are planning to write and exactly 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 will never be seen by anyone else (unless you choose to share it), or graded. Forget about perfect grammar, punctuation, and spelling, and simply let your feelings spill out onto the paper.
If finding an opportunity to devote to journaling is a struggle, contact Anthem Home Care, the trusted experts in home and dementia care in Portland, any time. We’re always available to provide respite care services which allow family caregivers the time they need for themselves. Let us partner with you to make sure your senior loved one receives the best possible quality of care, while you enjoy the healthy life balance you need and deserve.
Email us via our online contact form or give us a call at 361-643-2323 for more helpful caregiving tips, or to set up a free in-home consultation for more information regarding our professional home and dementia care in Portland and the surrounding communities.