The Mighty Powers of Journaling
December 1, 2022
A go-to tool for caregivers
The holiday season is amongst us and this time of the year can be magical for some but stressful for others. People that consider themselves to be unpaid, older adult caregivers in the home may be one of those groups feeling the pressures of the holiday season on top of life’s normal challenges. To make it through, try keeping a tool that packs a mighty punch when it comes to managing our mental health – a journal.
At Pisgah Valley we understand the pressures on full time, live-in caregivers, They have a lot on their shoulders, especially those that operate solely without extra support- managing daily schedules, managing the household, cooking, cleaning, hygiene management, keeping their loved ones engaged mentally and physically, paying bills, and more. The list goes on…. In fact, AARP states that “seventy-two percent of people who say they feel alone as an unpaid family caregiver say they have high emotional stress.” These folks tend to be constantly occupied and the holidays are no exception so journaling can be one of the most convenient methods for handling stress in a healthy way.
Benefits of Journaling
According to positivepsychology.com, the 5 surprising benefits of journaling are improving anxiety levels, reduce symptoms of depression, support coping with stressful events, creates space needed for reflection, and aids recovery from emotional trauma. For caregivers, journaling can also provide these additional benefits:
Journaling day to day experiences can help a caregiver document the goods and the bads. Using a journal to write down good memories as well as the bad can give some historical context to their situation. This data can also be used when visiting medical professionals to provide insight into their daily lives while living with a someone suffering from a specific condition.
Use your journal to identify what you would like to do this holiday season and why. Try not to get caught up in the expectations of others. Take the steps to have the type of holiday that you really want.
Take time to pause
Journaling gives us an excuse to stop and think. It provides time to share your most inner thoughts and reflect upon them for as long as you’d like.
When the pressures of life and the holidays creeps up, a journal can provide you space to recognize what you are grateful for. Think of the big things and small things in life that help you out in some way. In fact, a 2010 research study by Fredrickson suggests that “study participants who regularly drew their attention to aspects of their lives that made them feel blessed increased their positivity” according to positivephychology.com. Another tip is to only record gratitude a few days per week as it can become monotonous, which can lead to a decrease in positivity. So, find that fine line that works for you.
Much like recording gratitude, using a journal can help you reflect on lessons learned. Perhaps you have time to think back through a situation that was difficult and what lessons were learned. Again, it is like historical data that can be useful moving forward. No matter what your intention is with journaling, it is a chance to pause, sit with yourself, reflect, display self-love and maybe even learn from within.