With the new year just around the corner, now is a fantastic time to consider new strategies which will help you be an even more effective caregiver and also provide benefits to your loved one. Journaling is a great way to minimize caregiver stress, and can be utilized as an outlet to problem-solve and keep a record of caregiving tasks. Compassionate Nursing Services has compiled the following list outlining the importance of journaling, which can:
- Make you healthier. Writing about challenging situations and emotions for as little as 20 minutes per day for three to four days each week has been shown to improve immune system functioning, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, enhance mobility for individuals with arthritis, and so much more.
- Sharpen your caregiving skills. Reading back over the things you’ve written at the conclusion of each week allows you to pick up on any patterns, triggers that upset your loved one, certain times of day which can be better or worse for the older adult, etc. You can then make a plan to proactively manage these challenges before they become problems.
- Help you understand yourself better. Caregiving normally takes so much energy and attention; you can easily lose sight of who you are and what is meaningful to you as a person. Journaling helps bring your own feelings, thoughts, and emotions to the surface.
- Help you understand others better. Along those lines, outlining disagreements and misunderstandings in your journal may help you see things more clearly from the other person’s point of view, and offer insight into how to resolve (and prevent) disputes.
Similar to establishing any new routine, it may take a while to get comfortable with the concept of journaling and to make it a priority. One of the keys is to set aside a specific time each day, find a calm, 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 placing a great deal of thought into what you’re going to write and how to write it, but merely to begin writing and to keep writing continuously – whether or not it’s relevant to your caregiving duties or not. Remember, your writing will never be seen by other people (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 time and energy to spend on journaling is a challenge, call on Compassionate Nursing Services, the trusted Oakville dementia care and home care experts. We can provide respite care services to enable family caregivers to have the time they need for themselves. Let us partner with you to ensure your senior loved one receives the highest possible quality of care, while you achieve the healthy life balance you need and deserve.
Call us at 314-432-4312 [for more helpful caregiving tips or to arrange a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more about our Oakville dementia care experts and respite care services. To discover each of the communities we serve, please visit our Service Area page.