When my Aunt Patty became the caregiver to her husband, I observed her often journaling during this time. I didn’t think much of it, until she mentioned how helpful it was during this hard time of her life. Journaling for Patty became a way for her to focus and have moments of reflection allowing her to feel less stressed. Since then I have done more research and am impressed with the many benefits of journaling for anyone, including caregivers.
I do realize that journaling can be hard to start, if you don’t know where to start, especially when you are already so busy with caregiving. However, I hope these tips help provide some insight on how to start so you too can reap the benefits of journaling.
- Find a small, pretty book with an appealing picture on the cover. Having something you enjoy looking at can encourage you to write.
- Write what you want to write. There is no set amount of style or words.
- Choose a particular place and time that will help develop a mindset for your thoughts. Some people like a busy lounge, others like a cozy nook.
- You choose the medium, write about anything you choose. Write about your day, celebrate small wins, write down future goals, or write about memories.
- Review your journal entries from time to time. It’s great for reflection and to dive deeper into the meaning of what you are trying to express.
Just do it, you’ll be happy you did. Journaling really can be transformative to your life. Here is a list of benefits that this simple activity can do:
- Develops Self-Worth – Caregivers realize the many things they are doing right by writing down daily events and thoughts.
- Provides Clarity – The simple act of writing words on a page brings clarity. When difficult situations present themselves, journaling helps identify the significance of events.
- Reduce Stress – A caregiver’s anxiety and health levels have a direct impact on the person they care for. If you care for yourself by reducing your own stress levels, you will be better prepared for what comes your way.
- Deflects Anger– As you write about anger, you should notice a decrease of emotion and start moving toward a calmer state.
- Develop Personal Insight – This can help identify personal traits that you may need to work on. Some people realize they need to work on being more of a patient caregiver.
- Provides Time to Reflect – Journaling forces caregivers to slow down, take a few minutes to breath during a busy day. Time for yourself can really help a caregiver re-focus and re-charge.
Journaling is like speaking with a trusted friend who listens and provides transformative respite. It presents an opportunity for emotional catharsis and helps the brain regulate emotions. It provides a greater sense of confidence and self-identity. Our hope is that if you choose to journal that it will be a key tool in your journey, and that you may too see the benefits it has waiting for you.