Staying calm and collected during stressful times is what caregivers do best. For the sake of the person you are taking care of, you push your emotions deep down. Not many people can do that, so not many people know how hard it is to keep your feelings bottled up. Avoiding to express negative thoughts is considering for others but it can do you harm.
Our body and mind aren’t designed to endure keeping all the stress inside. If you do that for a longer period of time, it will reflect negatively on both your physical and mental health. That’s why you need an outlet. Something or somewhere where you can let everything go. Writing can be that something. This is how writing can help you cope with the stress of caregiving.
Release Your Emotions
When you can’t express your emotions verbally, express them in writing. The doubt, anger, resentment, and sadness aren’t the emotions that we rush to share. But they are still there. Inside. Let them out in writing. Since you’ll be the only one who’ll be reading it, you can finally express everything you are holding back.
Just write whatever comes to your mind. Don’t think about punctuation and don’t read over what you have written. In the end, you can burn the paper as a symbol of letting go. Dr. Habib Sadeghi talks about using writing as an emotional cleansing tool in his book The Clarity Cleanse. He suggests practicing this writing exercise for 12 minutes and says, “If you can release negative energy on a regular basis, it doesn’t accumulate. You could look at this exercise as an act of freedom.”
Improve Your Health
The health benefits of writing aren’t a myth. They are a fact. A study published by Cambridge University Press showed that people who wrote about their emotional difficulties for just 20 minutes at a time over 3 or 4 days had seen an increase in their immune system.
Stress is one of the biggest enemies of health and writing helps you release it. Consequently, writing has proved to help with improving sleep, decreasing blood pressure, and dropping off other markers of stress. Writing gives you a place to process and move on instead of letting the negative emotions attack your health.
Take a Moment to Relax
Look at writing as something that is solely yours. When you take your laptop or pen and paper all your worries can disappear. Besides writing about your thoughts and feelings you can write fictional stories. You don’t have to be the next J.K. Rowling, but you can create your own worlds.
Use your imagination and travel to unknown places and experience adventure. Nothing can hold you back. Use writing to express your creativity and spend your free moments doing something relaxing. Go outside, get some fresh air, and teleport from your stressful environment to anywhere you like.
Get a Better Perspective on Things
Whenever something negative happens we create a scenario in our minds. It is something we can’t help but do. However, that scenario doesn’t always represent the truth. As a caregiver, you face a lot of difficult situations. Sometimes you can get so overwhelmed that even the simplest troubles can bring your stress level to maximum.
What writing can do for you is to help you cope with such situations by giving you a different perspective. Write down what causes you stress at a moment, put that away, take a few deep breaths, and then read it again. Is it still as bad as it seemed a few moments ago? Probably not.
Write What You Are Grateful For
During stressful times we can easily forget about our blessings. When you feel like everything is falling apart, you should stop for a minute and revise what you are grateful for.
I found that forgetting about tour blessings comes naturally when you aren’t in the best place in life. That’s why I started writing a gratitude list. It helps me refocus on what’s truly important even when I’m stressed.
Making a list of blessings such as being healthy, having a place to live, sleeping in a warm bed, eating regularly every day, etc. will help you remember that some people don’t have that privilege. Some people didn’t even live long enough to reach your age. Writing down the things you are grateful for will remind you that there is still so much good in your life despite the stress.
Remember the Good Times
Writing can keep your favorite memories alive. If you write down certain stories you can save all the little details and fun conversations that you would’ve probably forgotten. In the moments when everything seems too much to bear, you can take a look back.
Time-traveling through writing can help you remember that life isn’t always tough as it seems right now. It will remind you that good times are just around the corner. It can also help you reflect on all the improvements or happy moments you had with the person you are taking care of. Looking back can be a solid proof of the unexpected and beautiful journey we call life.
The immense power that writing has is not valued enough. Presenting your thoughts in written sentences can help you battle with stress in a healthy way. You may not be able to eliminate the stress from your life, but you can choose how you can cope with it.
Being a caregiver proves that you have a huge heart and great strength. However, that doesn’t mean that you should keep all the negativity to yourself. You are the one that always provides help, now let writing help you.