With the new year on the horizon, now is an excellent time to think about new strategies which will help you be a more effective caregiver and also provide benefits to your senior loved one. Journaling is a fantastic way to minimize caregiver stress, and can be utilized as an outlet to problem-solve and keep track of caregiving’s associated tasks. In addition, the benefits of journaling can:
- Make you healthier. Writing about difficult emotions and situations for as little as 20 minutes for three or four days each week has been demonstrated to enhance immune system functioning, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, enhance mobility for those with osteoarthritis, and a lot more.
- Sharpen your caregiving skills. Reading back over what you’ve written at the end 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 steps to proactively address these challenges before they become problems.
- Help you understand yourself better. Caregiving normally requires so much of your energy and attention, you can easily lose sight of the person you are and what is important to you as an individual. Journaling helps bring your own personal thoughts, feelings and emotions to the surface.
- Help you understand others better. Along those lines, outlining disagreements and misunderstandings in your journal will allow you to see things more clearly from the other person’s perspective, and offer understanding into the best way to resolve (and steer clear of) conflicts.
As with implementing just about any new routine, it may take a while to get accustomed to the concept of journaling and to make it a priority. The important thing is always to put aside designated time each day to find a calm, private place, and to tell yourself that it’s ok to write about anything and everything that comes to mind.
One useful strategy for journaling is to use a “stream of consciousness” approach – not putting a whole lot of thought into what you are planning 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 not be seen by anybody else (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 and energy to devote to journaling is a challenge, turn to At-Home Care Company, a Des Moines dementia care provider for the surrounding areas. We can provide respite care services which allow family caregivers the time they need for themselves. Let us partner with you to ensure your senior loved one receives the best possible quality of care, while you discover the healthy life balance you need and deserve.
Call us at (515) 292-2650 for further helpful caregiving tips or to schedule a free in-home consultation for more information why we are the most trusted Des Moines dementia care provider. To learn about each of the communities we serve, please visit our Service Area page.