We may have turned the calendar page on Thanksgiving, but there’s good reason to hold onto that attitude of gratitude, especially if you’re a family caregiver. A thankful heart is actually a great remedy for something you’re likely facing on any given day, and even more so during the hectic holiday season: caregiver stress.
What Gratitude Is NOT
Let’s be honest. While providing care for someone you love is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding and selfless acts of service that you can offer, it’s not without its unique challenges. And we in no way want to minimize the difficulties caregiving involves. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that these tips for focusing on gratitude are not intended to gloss over any hardships.
How to Realistically Maintain a Thankful Heart
That being said, there are ways to incorporate a positive perspective into your role as a family caregiver. As the saying goes, there is always something to be thankful for. It may take a little digging to uncover, but finding and focusing on the positives will:
- Train your brain to gradually think more optimistically, improving your overall outlook on life and what it has to offer.
- Help you appreciate the people and circumstances in your life that are making life better for you as well as the senior in your care.
One simple but very effective way to accomplish this is through gratitude journaling. While typical journaling’s purpose is to get out any and all feelings you may be experiencing, a gratitude journal should be used simply to record your thankful thoughts.
How to Get Started with Gratitude Journaling
Dedicate a few minutes each and every day and commit to writing or drawing what you’re thankful for. Struggling for positive thoughts? These ideas can help:
- Avoid negative TV shows, podcasts, movies, etc. Intentionally seek out media that builds you up rather than adds extra negativity to your day.
- Step outside for a breath of fresh air before opening your journal. Take in the beauty of nature through all of your senses.
- Do a quick online search for uplifting, positive quotes. When you find one that speaks to you, write it in your journal and refer back to it often.
- Include any accomplishments - no matter how small. Even something as seemingly minor as saying something kind that brought a smile to the senior’s face should be included.
- Try offering third-person advice - the advice you’d give to a friend - to yourself. This can help you see the situation more clearly and without the emotion that can cloud your perspective, allowing you to create and implement a plan.
- Make a list of activities that lift your spirits, so when you’re feeling down, you can refer to it and choose one to try.
- Routinely read back over what you’ve written, especially when stress begins to creep in and you need a pick-me-up.
At American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care, our referred care providers are here to share in your caregiving role, allowing you time to step away for self-care and down-time – crucial components to reducing caregiver stress. Our respite care services are ideal for the senior in your care, too, offering opportunities for socialization to enjoy engaging activities and conversations.
- American In-Home Care – Serving North, Central, and West Coast of Florida
- Advocate In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
- Whitsyms In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661