Providing care for a loved one is a very rewarding yet stressful responsibility, which is why there are so many resources out there offering caregivers the chance to de-stress. Getting a substantial amount of exercise and sleep can be especially helpful when balancing a busy schedule, but another relaxing activity has recently risen in popularity among caregivers: journaling.
How Journaling Helps
As it turns out, there are many benefits of journaling for caregivers. Not only does it provide insight into our daily lives, but it also reduces stress levels. Stress can have serious long-term effects on your metabolism, heart and mental health, which is one reason why it is so important for caregivers to take the time to de-stress after a long day. Similar to yoga, journaling promotes deep breathing and an overwhelming sense of calm. It forces the writer to slow down, and making time for oneself can help caregivers re-energize.
Beyond these physical health benefits, caregivers who frequently write in a journal are able to enjoy a sense of clarity and optimism. Caregivers are often faced with difficult situations, and writing about your problems can help you find a solution that you simply overlooked or disregarded before. After journaling for some time, you’ll begin to notice positive patterns in your behavior, such as kind thoughts or actions, that will help promote self-worth.
As it points out your strengths, journaling can point out your weaknesses as well. This is not meant to discourage you (after all, who is perfect?) as it is merely a way to discover personal development opportunities. For example, when reflecting on previous entries, you may realize that you lose your patience or temper frequently, which can help you be more self-aware and improve on these tendencies.
How To Get Started
Starting a journal may seem daunting at first not only because of our busy schedules, but also because it is an unfamiliar activity for many of us. However, the best thing about journaling is that it’s all about you – there is no right or wrong way to do it.
To get started, choose a medium that works for you. Do you prefer to handwrite or type journal entries? This answer can also help you determine when and where you prefer to write. Whether it’s at a peaceful place in your home during the early morning or at a busy coffee shop at night, the options are endless! Whatever you decide, try to stick to a scheduled time and place so you can easily get into the mindset of writing.
Next, realize that there are no set rules to journaling. Stick to whatever works best for you, and don’t focus too much on spelling, grammar or a specific topic – simply let your thoughts flow onto the page. Once you’ve been journaling for a while, try answering specific prompts through your writing, such as “Today I feel…” or “It was the best feeling when…” to focus your thoughts on a specific topic.
You don’t have to be a caregiver to experience the benefits of journaling either – practically anyone can benefit from this activity in one way or another. Whether it’s a long or short entry, written at an isolated or crowded place, in a book or on a computer, the important thing is that you’re focusing on yourself and taking the necessary time to relax.