One Simple Way to Replace Caregiver Stress with Joy
Our facial expressions divulge so much to those around us, and when you’re feeling an unusual level of caregiver stress, well-meaning family members will certainly recognize it, possibly encouraging you to essentially, “Cheer up, buttercup!” In reality, of course, it takes a whole lot more than a couple of words to turn our mood around.
Nonetheless, recent research does support the concept of positive thinking as a method to minimize levels of depression and anxiety which might develop when we’re bombarded with stress – something critical for busy family caregivers to take to heart to decrease the possibility for burnout.
Judith Moskowitz, head psychologist in the research project who consequently established a program to combat the downward spiral of emotions so typical in individuals providing care for a senior, explains, “We’re not saying don’t be sad or upset about what’s going on. But we know people can experience positive emotions alongside that negative emotion, and that positive emotion can help them cope better.”
The primary techniques in her program include the following:
- Keep a journal of things for which you’re thankful – even the small things.
- Identify at least one positive event every day.
- Talk about this event with friends on social networks.
- Identify one new goal each day, and keep an eye on your progress in reaching it.
- Identify one of your talents and reflect on how you are applying that skill.
- Perform one daily simple act of kindness for another.
- Think about a negative event, and then discover a way to see it in an optimistic light.
- Practice focused breathing and mindfulness to rebuild a sense of peace.
For those providing care for a senior loved one with dementia, the need to concentrate on positives can be even more vital to overall wellbeing. Family caregivers who participated in a recent 5-week study where the effectiveness of these coping skills were analyzed reported a reduction in depression scores of 16%, and a reduction in anxiety of 14%.
In addition to the techniques above, it is important for family caregivers to avoid isolating themselves and trying to manage their caregiving duties solo, which can rather quickly result in caregiver burnout and various other significant health complications. Working with a professional in-home care agency, like Hired Hands Homecare, is the perfect method for achieving a much healthier life balance – both for family caregivers as well as the senior loved ones in their care.
Life is indeed stressful, but nevertheless we’re able to help! Get in touch with Hired Hands Homecare, the top provider of at-home caregivers in Marin and the surrounding areas, for the trusted in-home dementia care services that allow you some time to concentrate on self-care and high quality time with those you love.