As a family caregiver you are likely to encounter a wide range of emotions throughout your journey. Some of these will be wonderful, such as the joy and fulfillment of helping your elderly parent live a high quality of life, and the love that you have for your senior. Others, however, will be difficult, such as the stress and anxiety that can come from having so much on your plate and the worries and concerns that you have for your parent’s future and well-being. Journaling can help you to manage these emotions effectively, improving your caregiver efforts.
Some of the ways that journaling can be a positive addition to your caregiver efforts include:
• Easing stress. Stress is one of the most common issues of caregivers. In fact, most caregivers of adult parents express that they feel more stress now that they are in this care role than they did prior to starting it. Reducing and managing stress is critical to preventing burnout and other serious issues. Journaling allows you to reduce stress through the expression of your emotions and what you are going through.
• Time for yourself. Being a caregiver, particularly if you are in the sandwich generation, means that you are always thinking about others. If you are not directly caring for your parent or your children, you are thinking about what you need to do the next day or what you have not done that day that you think that you should have. Journaling allows you to take time for yourself. The act of writing, no matter what you are writing, brings your thoughts away from what is going on around you and enables you to process and rest. This counts even if you are writing about your care efforts.
• Absorbing anger. You are likely to feel anger at some point in your care journey. You do not want to express this anger by yelling or taking it out on your parent or your children. Journaling gives you the chance to express this anger in a safe, healthy, and controlled way. Letting out your aggression, frustration, and hurt in this way gives you the time to cool off so that you are better able to approach those around you.
• Gives you a chance to work through situations. Some of the issues that you encounter during your caregiver journey can be confusing and complex. You might not know how to approach them or how you are supposed to feel about them. Journaling gives you a chance to work through these issues so that you can gain better perspective about what is happening. This lets you make better decisions and approach the situation in the best way for you and for your aging parent.
• Reaffirmation of accomplishments. A journal is, above all, a record. This is your place to record the things that you have experienced, what you have gone through, and what you did about them. When you are feeling stressed or hopeless, you can look back through these and reaffirm what you have been able to accomplish in your journey. This gives you confidence that you will be able to get through more and enables you to share these accomplishments and insights with others who may be facing the same situations in their care journeys with their loved ones.
For caregivers in Southern NJ and the surrounding areas, call and talk to us at Home to Stay Healthcare Solutions (856) 321-1500.