Our facial expressions expose so much to those around us, and if you’re experiencing an abnormal level of stress, well-meaning family members will surely notice it. Perhaps you have heard some encouraging you to simply, “Cheer up, buttercup!” In reality, of course, it will take a lot more than a few words to turn your mood around.
Nonetheless, new research does support the notion of positive thinking as a method to reduce levels of depression and anxiety, which may occur when we’re overwhelmed with stress – something important for busy family caregivers to take to heart to minimize the potential for burnout.
Judith Moskowitz, Head Psychologist in the research project who subsequently launched a program to combat the downward spiral of emotions so prevalent in those 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 core techniques in her program include the following:
- Maintain a journal of things for which you’re thankful – even the small things.
- Identify a minimum of one positive event each day.
- Share about this event with friends and family on social networks.
- Establish one new milestone each day, and keep track of your progress in achieving it.
- Identify one of your strengths and think about how you’re utilizing that strength.
- Undertake one daily simple act of kindness for another.
- Remember a negative occurrence, and then discover a way to view it in an optimistic light.
- Practice focused breathing and mindfulness to bring back a sense of calm.
For all those providing care for a senior loved one with dementia, the necessity to place emphasis on positives is usually even more imperative to overall wellbeing. Family caregivers who participated in a recent 5-week study, in which the effectiveness of these coping skills were analyzed, reported a reduction in depression scores of 16%, and a reduction in anxiety of 14%.
In addition to the ideas above, it is essential for family caregivers to avoid isolating themselves and attempting to manage their caregiving duties alone, which can rapidly bring on caregiver burnout and other significant health conditions. Working with an experienced in-home care agency, like Heaven at Home Senior Care, is the ideal strategy to gain a much healthier life balance – both for family caregivers and the older adults in their care. There are available services that can help, such as periodic respite or routine home care services.
Life is indeed stressful, but we are able to help! Consider how reliable home care services can enable you time to concentrate on self-care and high-quality time with those you love. Call Heaven at Home Senior Care, one of the top-rated home health agencies in Denton, TX and the surrounding areas, at (940) 380-0500 or (972) 245-1515 to find out how easy it is to get the help you need.