With the new year on the horizon, now is an excellent time to consider new strategies that will help you be a more effective caregiver and also provide benefits to your loved one. Journaling is an excellent way to decrease caregiver stress, and can be utilized as an outlet to problem-solve and keep track of caregiving-related tasks. Furthermore, the benefits of journaling can include:
- Making you healthier. Writing about difficult emotions and situations for as little as 20 minutes three or four days each week has been shown to enhance immune system functioning, improve sleep, lower blood pressure, enhance mobility for individuals with arthritis, and so much more.
- Improving your caregiving skills. Reading back over the things you’ve written at the conclusion of every week enables you to pick up on any patterns, triggers that upset your loved one, certain times of day which are better or worse for the senior, etc. You can then take measures to proactively anticipate these challenges before they become problems.
- Helping you understand yourself better. Caregiving normally takes so much of your time and attention, it’s easy to lose sight of who you are and what is important to you as a person. Journaling helps bring your own feelings, thoughts, and emotions to the surface.
- Helping you to understand others better. Along those lines, describing disagreements and misunderstandings in your journal will help you see things more clearly from the other person’s perspective, and provide understanding into how you can manage (and prevent) disputes.
Much like establishing virtually any new routine, it will take some time to get comfortable with the idea of journaling and to enable it to be a priority. The important thing is to set aside a specified time each day, in a calm, 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 going to write and how to write it, but merely to start writing and to keep writing continuously – whether it’s relevant to your caregiving duties or not. Remember, your writing will not be seen by others (unless you decide 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 to devote to journaling is a struggle, turn to Home With You Senior Care, the Ellicott City senior care leader, any time. We are 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.
Call us at 410-756-0959 for more helpful caregiving tips or to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation for more information about our experienced Ellicott City senior care and respite care services. For a full list of all of the communities we serve, please visit our Locations Served page.