Our facial expressions divulge so much to people around us, and when you are feeling an unusual amount of stress, well-meaning family members will surely recognize it, possibly encouraging you to simply, “Cheer up, buttercup!” The truth is, of course, it will require so much more than a couple of words to turn our mood around.
Yet recent research does support the idea of positive thinking as a method to eliminate degrees of anxiety and depression that can arise when we’re overloaded with caregiver stress – something critical for busy family caregivers to take to heart to decrease the possibility for burnout.
Judith Moskowitz, lead psychologist in the study who consequently established a course to overcome the unpredictable manner of emotions so typical in individuals providing care for a loved one, 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 key techniques in her program include the following:
- Keep a journal of things for which you’re thankful – even the little things.
- Identify at least one uplifting event on a daily basis.
- Talk about this occurrence with your family on social media.
- Identify one new milestone each day, and keep track of your progress in achieving it.
- Identify one of your skills and think of how you are making use of that talent.
- Perform one daily small act of kindness for another.
- Remember a negative occurrence, and then find a way to evaluate it in a positive light.
- Practice focused breathing and mindfulness to restore a sense of peace.
For people providing care for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease, the necessity to focus on positives is usually even more crucial to overall wellbeing. Family caregivers who participated in a recent 5-week study in which the effectiveness of these coping skills were analyzed documented a reduction in depression scores of 16%, and a reduction in anxiety of 14%.
Along with the strategies above, it’s important for family caregivers to stop isolating themselves and attempting to manage their caregiving duties solo, which can quickly lead to caregiver burnout and other serious health risks. Partnering with an experienced in-home care agency, like Atlanta Home Care Partners, is the ideal solution towards achieving a healthier life balance – both for family caregivers and the senior loved ones in their care.
Life is indeed stressful, but we’re able to help! For the best caregiver help Atlanta, GA families could ask for, contact Atlanta Home Care Partners at 404.228.0103. We provide trusted home healthcare services that allow you time to concentrate on self-care and quality time with those you love.