6 Benefits of Journaling for Caregivers

Journaling helps caregivers manage stress and find solutions

Journaling is an effective way to reduce caregiver stress

Caregiver stress is no joke. Not only can it make you resentful or depressed, it can also cause serious health conditions.

That’s why adding stress reduction and coping tips to your daily routine is so important.

One effective stress reduction technique that’s perfect for caregivers is journaling. Writing in a journal is free, takes as much or as little time as you’ve got, and can be done anywhere.

We explain how to get started with journaling and share 6 ways it makes caregiving easier and reduces stress.

 

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How to start journaling

To start journaling, all you need is a paper notebook or a notes file on your computer or mobile device.

Keep it private so you won’t have to worry about anyone reading what you wrote.

It’s a wonderful ritual if you’re able to journal for a set amount of time each day, but you don’t have to follow any rules to get the full benefits of journaling.

Write for as long as you want as often as you’d like.

The one thing many people recommend is to write continuously and use a “stream of consciousness” approach. That means writing down whatever thoughts come into your mind.

It’s important to let it flow and not edit your thoughts or worry about grammar or spelling. You don’t even have to use full sentences – anything goes.

 

6 benefits of journaling for caregivers

1. Reduce caregiver stress
Writing about anger, sadness, resentment, and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings.

After getting these thoughts out, you’ll likely feel calmer and less stressed.

2. Improve your health
One study found that when people wrote about emotionally difficult events or feelings for just 20 minutes at a time over 3 or 4 days, their immune system functioning increased.

The relief gained by writing also improved the body’s ability to withstand stress, infection, and disease.

Additional benefits of journaling include decreased blood pressure, improved sleep, less need to visit the doctor, faster healing, greater mobility in people with arthritis, and more.

3. Find solutions to tough challenges
Journaling can also be used for problem-solving. Writing out your thoughts helps you connect dots and come up with solutions that you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.

Next time you’re up against a sticky caregiving challenge, try writing about what’s going on. It could help you think of a creative way to solve the problem.

4. Make caregiving easier
Journaling makes caregiving easier because writing things down helps you see patterns.

That gives you the ability to spot things that could be improved, simplified, or eliminated to make life run more smoothly.

Maybe you’ll start to notice that mom gets upset every time you talk about leaving the house, but doesn’t make a fuss if you just leave. Or maybe you’ll find that your spouse is much more willing to bathe during the early afternoon than in the evening.

5. Resolve arguments with other people
Writing about fights or misunderstandings helps you keep from stewing over it in your mind.

It might even help you see the other person’s point of view or figure out a way to resolve the conflict.

6. Get in touch with yourself
It’s easy to lose yourself to the pressures of caregiving and your older adult’s needs. Journaling helps you clarify your thoughts and feelings.

Taking a few minutes to write down your unedited thoughts and emotions will help you get in touch with your true self.

 

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By DailyCaring Editorial Team


2 Comments

  • Reply June 5, 2020

    Mary Kuypers

    My mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s and is in Assisted Living. She has never been happy since we moved her in. She does not get out of her room and does not do activities unless it involves food. She goes to Bible Study because Pastor comes and makes sure she goes. She goes to Ice Cream Social and Birthday Party. We have tried everything to get her to go but all she wants go do is lay in bed and sleep. When we can go visit her she would always be in bed. Right now due to the COVID-19 she is really depressed. Because of her disease she can not u understand why we can not come. We are her caregivers but not seeing her does not help. She has fallen in the past and about 3 or 4 times passed out. She gets lost when she leaves her room. Someone has to be with her when she leaves her room. She is becoming a hoarder. Not a bad one but because we can not get in her room to clean we do nog know what we will find. She will not let the staff touch anything of hers. But we clean it and she does not like it but if we didn’t they would kick her out. We have no room for her in our home for her.

    • Reply June 5, 2020

      DailyCaring

      We’re so sorry to hear about this. The pandemic has been especially difficult for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia who are living in care communities and can’t have visitors.

      Unfortunately, it can be difficult for someone with dementia to self-motivate or make good choices. It’s wonderful to gently continue to encourage her to do more activities, it won’t hurt and may help.

      Hopefully, the care staff will be able to help set up phone calls or video calls so you can at least have some form of contact with her. Or, they may be able to set up no-contact methods for in-person visits.

      In case it’s helpful, we’ve got an article about how to set up video calling with someone who has dementia (so they don’t have to do anything to answer the call) – Best Way to Make Video Calls to Seniors with Alzheimer’s or Dementia in Nursing Homes https://dailycaring.com/best-way-to-make-video-calls-to-seniors-with-alzheimers-or-dementia-in-nursing-homes-during-coronavirus/

      In the meantime, the unfortunate reality is that we have to adapt to the changing situation and follow regulations that are reducing the spread of Covid-19 in care communities.

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