If you have ever kept a diary, you probably already know the clarity getting your thoughts down on paper can bring. Writing is a therapeutic form of self-expression known to relieve anxiety and stress.
The Therapeutic Value of Journaling for Caregivers
Caring for aging parents or another senior loved one can be tough on many different levels. There are moments of joy and then there are times of sadness. The rollercoaster of emotions is often difficult to manage.
Journaling is one tool family caregivers can use to process their own feelings and record life events. It provides family caregivers a safe place to honestly record their innermost thoughts.
Words that Heal
Journaling can also be a powerful healing tool for caregivers. A few common benefits include:
- Physical Health: Journaling positively impacts physical well-being. Research shows it can reduce symptoms of chronic diseases like arthritis and asthma.
- Reduce Anxiety and Stress: Caregivers may experience a wide range of emotions every day from sorrow and despair to joy and gratitude. Writing can help you understand and process difficult feelings like anger and resentment. It can also allow you to find moments of happiness amidst the toughest days of caregiving.
- Personal Time: Every family caregiver needs a few minutes of personal time every day. Journaling is a way to slow down and focus on your own feelings and fears.
- Problem-solving: Writing your worries down on paper allows you to access the right side of the brain. It’s the part of your brain where creative thought comes from. Let’s say you’ve been struggling with how to talk with your mother about her diabetes and the impact a poor diet is having on her health. After journaling about the problem, you may realize one solution is to talk with your mom about moving to a Michigan senior living community. Healthy meals that meet her dietary restrictions will be provided for her.
Journaling Prompts about Caregiving
If you would like to give journaling a try but aren’t quite sure how to get started, this exercise will help.
Set a timer for 10 to 15 minutes once every day. Use the time to write freely and to complete each of the following sentences:
- Today I feel…
- I’m looking forward to…
- I’m worried about…
- I’m grateful for…
Remember, when you are a caregiver, it’s important to make an extra effort to take care of you. By caring for your own health and well-being, you can be present to more fully care for your senior loved one.