Caring for aging parents or other senior loved ones can be tough on many levels, and the associated roller coaster of emotion is often difficult to manage. If you've ever kept a diary, you probably know that writing is a therapeutic form of self-expression known to relieve anxiety and stress.
Journaling is one tool caregivers can use to process their own feelings and record life events, providing a safe place to honestly record their thoughts.
Common benefits include:
- Research shows journaling can reduce symptoms of chronic diseases such as arthritis and asthma.
- Caregivers may experience a wide range of emotions every day, from sorrow and despair to joy and gratitude. Writing could help you understand and process difficult feelings such as anger and resentment. It could also allow you to find moments of happiness amidst the toughest days of caregiving.
- Journaling is a way to slow down and focus on your own feelings. Every caregiver needs a few minutes to herself or himself, every day.
- Writing your worries down allows you to access the right side of the brain, where creative thought comes from. Say you've been struggling with talking to your mother about her diabetes and the impact a poor diet is having on her health. After journaling, you may realize one solution is a discussion about moving her to a senior living community where healthy meals meeting her dietary restrictions are provided.
To get started with journaling, try setting a timer for 10 minutes once every day and use this time to complete the following:
- Today I feel...
- I'm looking forward to...
- I'm worried about...
- I'm grateful for...
Remember: When you're a caregiver, it's also important to take care of you. By caring for your own health and well-being, you can be present to more fully care for your loved one.
Heritage Senior Communities is committed to addressing the total needs of each resident as an individual and as a member of one of their senior living communities, located in Byron Center, Grand Haven and Holland. Learn more online at www.heritageseniorcommunities.com.