June 20, 2019
Our facial expressions divulge so much to people around us, and when you’re experiencing an unusual degree of stress, well-meaning friends and family will surely pick up on it, possibly encouraging you to simply, “Cheer up, buttercup!” The truth is, of course, it takes a lot more than a couple of words to turn our mood around.
Yet new research does support the idea of positive thinking in order to diminish levels of depression and anxiety that could possibly occur when we’re overwhelmed with stress – something important for busy family caregivers to take to heart to decrease the potential for burnout.
Judith Moskowitz, lead psychologist in the research project who consequently created a program to overcome the unpredictable manner of emotions so prevalent in individuals providing care for a loved one, says, “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 core techniques in her program include the following:
- Keep a journal of things for which you are thankful – even the small things.
- Recognize a minimum of one happy event every day.
- Talk about that occurrence with friends and family on social networks.
- Establish one new milestone each day, and keep track of your progress in reaching it.
- Identify one of your skills and contemplate how you are making use of that talent.
- Perform one daily small act of kindness for another person.
- Think about a negative event, and then find a way to look at it in an optimistic light.
- Engage in focused breathing and mindfulness to restore a sense of peace.
For all those providing care for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease, the necessity to concentrate on positives is often even more vital to overall wellbeing. Family caregivers who participated in a recent five-week study where the effectiveness of these coping skills was evaluated, reported a decrease in depression scores of 16%, and a reduction in anxiety of 14%.
Along with the ideas above, it is essential for family caregivers to avoid isolating themselves and trying to manage their caregiving duties solo, which can rather quickly bring about caregiver burnout along with other significant health problems. Working with a knowledgeable in-home care agency, like Continuum, is the ideal strategy to acquire a much healthier life balance – both for family caregivers and also the older adults in their care.
Life is stressful; however, we can help! Contact Continuum to learn more about our trusted services in senior care St. Louis families recommend most. Find out how our care team can allow you time to focus on self-care and quality time with those you love.