With the new year on the horizon, now is an ideal time to think about new strategies that can help you become an even more effective caregiver and also provide benefits to your senior loved one. Journaling is a great way of coping with caregiver stress, and can be utilized as an outlet to problem-solve and keep a record of caregiving-related tasks. Additionally, journaling can:
- Make you healthier. Writing about challenging emotions and situations for as little as 20 minutes three or four days per week has been shown to boost immune system functioning, improve sleep, lower blood pressure, enhance mobility for those with osteoarthritis, and more.
- Improve your caregiving skills. Reading back over everything you’ve written at the end of each week allows you pick up on any patterns, triggers that upset your senior loved one, certain times of day that are better or worse for the senior, etc. You can then take measures to proactively manage these challenges before they become problems.
- Help you understand yourself better. Caregiving usually takes so much of your 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 thoughts, feelings and emotions to the surface.
- Help you understand others better. Along those lines, outlining misunderstandings and disagreements in your journal can help you see things more clearly from the other person’s standpoint, and provide insight into how to manage (and avoid) conflicts.
Just like establishing any kind of new routine, it can take some time to get accustomed to the idea of journaling and to make it a priority. The important thing is always to put 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 strategy for journaling is to use a “stream of consciousness” approach – not putting a great deal 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 or not it’s relevant to your caregiving duties or not. Remember, your writing won’t be seen by anybody else (unless you decide 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, call on Hearts at Home In-Home Care, a top provider of home care assistance in Kansas City. We are always available to provide regular, ongoing 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 highest possible quality of care, while you discover the healthy life balance you need and deserve.
Email us via our online contact form or give us a call at 913-440-4209 for more helpful caregiving tips or to schedule a no-cost in-home consultation for more information regarding our reliable home care assistance in Kansas City and the surrounding areas.