Our facial expressions show so much to those around us, and when you are feeling an elevated quantity of stress, well-meaning friends and family members will surely detect it, possibly encouraging you to simply, “Cheer up, buttercup!” In reality, of course, it will require a whole lot more than a couple of words to turn our mood around.
However, recent research does support the idea of positive thinking in order to minimize levels of anxiety and depression which might occur when we are flooded with stress – something important to take to heart to decrease the potential for family caregiver burnout.
Judith Moskowitz, lead psychologist in the study who developed a program to overcome the unpredictable manner of emotions so frequent in people providing care for a senior 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 primary techniques in her program include the following:
- Keep a journal of things for which you’re grateful – even the little things.
- Recognize a minimum of one uplifting event each day.
- Share about that event with your family and friends on social websites.
- Identify one new milestone each day, and keep track of your progress in achieving it.
- Identify one of your strengths and think about how you are applying that skill.
- Undertake one daily simple act of kindness for another.
- Remember a negative occurrence, and then discover a way to evaluate it in an optimistic light.
- Engage in focused breathing and mindfulness to restore a sense of peace.
For individuals providing care for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, the need to focus on positives is usually much more imperative to overall wellbeing. Family caregivers who participated in a recent 5-week study in which the effectiveness of these coping skills were evaluated, documented a reduction in depression scores of 16%, and a decrease in anxiety of 14%.
Together with the techniques above, it is crucial for family caregivers to avoid isolating themselves and trying to manage their caregiving duties alone, which can rapidly bring on caregiver burnout along with other serious health complications. Working with a knowledgeable in-home care agency, like JFS Care, is the perfect solution towards obtaining a much healthier life balance – both for family caregivers and also the senior loved ones in their care.
Life is stressful, but we are able to help! Contact JFS Care, the Burbank home health care leaders, at (213) 383-2273 for the reliable home care services that enable you a chance to focus on self-care and good quality time with those you love. See our full California service area.