Even though it can be a highly gratifying experience, caring for a loved one can be stressful with everything else on your plate. In addition to pent-up stress, informal caregivers must often deal with negative feelings that include guilt, frustration, anxiety, and worry. With that in mind, one of the best ways for overworked caregivers to decompress is by starting a caregiving journal. As a proven self-care practice, what follows are several benefits of starting a caregiving journal when caring for another.
Journaling is a Stress-Reliever
When not addressed, caregiver stress can morph into full-blown caregiver burnout, which then places the health and well-being of you and your care recipient at risk. As was mentioned above, writing about anger, sadness, resentment, guilt, and other painful emotions helps reduce the intensity of those feelings. Once you’ve gotten those feelings out and written down on a page, you’ll more than likely feel calmer and less stressed.
Journaling Helps You Problem-Solve
Writing out your thoughts helps you see the big picture more clearly and then envision solutions you might not otherwise have considered. Next time you’re facing a complex caregiving challenge, try journaling about the situation – as it could help you think of a creative way to solve the problem.
Journaling May Improve Your Health
A recent study found that when test subjects wrote about emotionally trying events or feelings for only 20 minutes at a time over three to four days, their immune system function increased appreciably. In other words, the stress relief that writing provides helps your body fight off infections, illnesses, and diseases.
Based on available evidence, physical benefits of journaling include improved sleep, fewer doctor visits, faster healing rates, decreased blood pressure, and greater mobility for those with arthritis.
Journaling Often Makes Caregiving Easier
Writing things down allows you to see patterns that you might typically overlook. That ability lets you spot opportunities to simplify, improve, or eliminate obstacles in your life. For instance, journaling might help you realize that Dad gets upset every time you mention the lack of food in his fridge, but he never complains when you stock it with groceries and don’t tell him.
Journaling Can Help You Re-Find Yourself
It’s easy to lose touch with yourself due to the pressure of caregiving while trying to meet your loved one’s changing needs. Journaling helps you refocus and clarify your thoughts and feelings. Taking a few minutes each day to record your innermost thoughts and emotions will allow you to reconnect with your true self.
Journaling Helps You Resolve Disputes
Whether it’s with a disgruntled sibling or an unhappy boss, writing about misunderstandings or disagreements can keep them from festering in your head. Seeing the specifics written down on a page might even help you see the other person’s perspective or figure out a better way to peacefully resolve the dispute.
How to Get Started
Starting a caregiving journal is easy, as all you need is a blank paper notebook or a notes file on your mobile device. Be sure to keep your journal private so you won’t have to worry about someone reading what you wrote.
Some caregivers like to write in their journals daily, while others prefer to journal less often. With no set timetable, write for as long or as often as you like. Many journaling experts recommend using a “stream of consciousness” approach, which means writing down thoughts whenever they pop into your head.
And finally, it’s crucial to let your words flow unedited without worrying about spelling or grammar. You don’t even need to use full sentences if you don’t want to, as anything goes when journaling!
Flexible In-Home Respite Care for Seniors in Naples, FL
In addition to journaling, hiring a respite caregiver from a reputable home care provider is another great way to avoid caregiver stress. Put your mind at ease by contacting the caring professionals from Home Instead® Senior Care. Conveniently available in Naples, Fort Myers, and Charlotte County, FL, our senior care services help to enhance the aging experience by providing practical support at home delivered with a human touch.
Our reliable in-home solutions help aging adults stay engaged in everyday life with tailor-made support to stay safe and well at home. At Home Instead, it is always our mission to provide a care plan personalized to your family’s needs – bringing you all comfort, companionship, and peace of mind. To learn more or schedule a time to talk with one of our home care specialists, please visit us at www.homeinsteadswfl.com.