No doubt that as a caregiver of an aging parent, you have a lot on your plate. With love and care, you make sure your parent has everything he needs to live independently with joy and good health. As you provide care for your parent, and probably numerous other people in your life, you sometimes to forget to take care of yourself. Journaling can be a great way to improve your mental health as well as provide you a place to express yourself safely and without judgment.
Even if you’ve never journaled before, it’s an easy enough habit to pick up. First, purchase a journal. You can go simple and pick up a nice one at a local dollar store or you can search numerous online sites that provide gorgeous books for you to record your thoughts in. You can also choose between completely blank pages (with or without lines) or find journals that guide you through what to write about. They’re all equally valuable. It’s just a matter of you deciding which style best matches what you want to do.
You might open that first blank page and simply stare at it, wondering where to start, what to write.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started on your journaling journey.
Count your blessings. If you’ve been struggling to find joy or pleasure lately, writing down 3-5 items to be grateful for each day is a good start. You might even find at first it is hard to think of 3-5 things. Start small! If you are grateful for blue skies, write it down. Think of people, places and things that make your life better and write them down each day.
Record your concerns. Whether you are having personal concerns, concerns regarding your parent or even concerns of the world, write them down. Putting them down on paper takes them out of the scary dark places in your head and puts them in the light. Sometimes this simple act alone takes away some of the power those concerns have over us.
Highlight the small things. Over time, our brain filters out the smaller details because there’s just too much other stuff to remember. Use your journal to record a joke your parent told or perhaps a favorite line in a song you hear your parent humming all the time. These little things that fill your days can become important anchors to your memory building and story sharing in the future.
Write down those stories. Perhaps your aging parent has told you the same story a hundred times about her third-grade teacher and you feel like you’ll never forget it. But memories fade so getting the details down now will be a gift you can enjoy in the years ahead and even share with future generations.
A caregiver is a very special person who sacrifices a lot for her loved ones. To be the best caregiver you can, you need to take care of yourself in the process as well. Journaling could be a great way to do that as you find your voice, even if it’s only on paper for now.
If you or a senior family member are considering hiring Caregiver Services in Franklin Lakes NJ, please contact the caring staff at Caring Solutions Home Care LLC. In-home senior care servicing Bergen & Passaic Counties. Call today at (973) 427-3553.
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