Celebrating accomplishments reduces caregiver stress
Caring for an older adult can be exhausting, overwhelming, frustrating, lonely, and often thankless.
It’s no wonder so many caregivers struggle with stress-related health conditions.
That’s why it’s important to find a variety of ways to reduce stress.
It’s not realistic to eliminate all the worries and frustrations that come with caregiving. And it’s natural to focus on what went wrong, what to improve, or future challenges.
But what about all the amazing things you accomplish every day?
Recognizing and appreciating these victories is a simple and effective way to reduce stress and boost your mood.
It might sound simplistic, but celebrating accomplishments, both big and small, is truly an effective way to reduce stress.
Plus, you might not even realize how many successes you’ve had. Those wins deserve recognition.
We explain why this type of self-appreciation is important and how to notice and track your wins.
How caregivers benefit from self-appreciation
You might think that celebrating your caregiving accomplishments is something that other people should be doing, but it’s essential that you recognize and appreciate yourself as well.
The way you feel about yourself and how you talk to yourself actually has more impact than what anyone else thinks or says.
At first, it might be more difficult to notice what you’ve done right.
But getting into the habit of celebrating your success increases positive emotions like self-respect, happiness, and confidence.
It also reduces stress and boosts your mood because you’re focused on the positive and noticing all the great things you’ve been able to do for your older adult.
Plus, revising your accomplishments when you feel discouraged or defeated is a sure way to help yourself feel better and give you the confidence to overcome the next challenge.
Track your wins in a success journal
A simple way to notice and celebrate your caregiving accomplishments is to track them in a journal.
Write down each win, no matter how small.
Keeping a success journal gets you into the habit of noticing each time you achieve a goal or complete a task.
It also allows you to go back and review all the kind and wonderful things you’ve done to improve your senior’s life.
- Managed to get dad to take all his medication this evening even though he insisted that he didn’t need them.
- Got mom to eat a healthy breakfast even though she refused twice and it took 45 minutes.
- Stayed calm and cleaned up the mess after spouse accidentally dumped a full mug of coffee all over the sofa and carpet.
- Finally got mom to shower and change clothes!
- Helped dad brush his teeth and shave with a minimum of fuss.
- Got mom out of the house and to the doctor in time for her appointment.
No matter how trivial these accomplishments might sound to a non-caregiver, you know exactly how much energy and effort it took to get them done.
They truly are victories and deserve recognition and appreciation.
Keeping a success journal costs nothing and takes only a few minutes – why not give it a try?
Recommended for you:
- 15 Quick Tips for Managing Caregiver Stress
- 5 Top Mobile Apps for Caregiver Stress Relief
- 4 Ways to Reduce Caregiver Stress with Positive Self Talk
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Prestigious Home Care
R. Lynn Barnett
Your very good advice is what I did: I wrote down how I dealt with my mom in a book entitled, “My Mother Has Alzheimer’s and My Dog Has Tapeworms: A Caregiver’s Tale.” I tried to write it with humor and heart, 2 things everyone needs when dealing with Alzheimer’s. Your article mentioned self-affirmation when talking to yourself. I’ll tell you something funny about that: Years ago when I was in college, I was home visiting my parents, and I was practicing a speech (in whispers), for 1 of my classes. My father sees me “talking to myself,” and he was concerned, until I told him what I was doing. I then glanced down at the magazine on my lap, and a sentence read, “Nobody listens to me when I say something, but when I talk to myself, their ears perk up.” I learned as a caregiver, to have as many positive thoughts, spoken or not, about being a caregiver.
It’s wonderful that you found ways to cope with the difficult moments! Thank you for sharing this memory.