Care Partners Resource

Journaling for a better New Year

It is a New Year, time to review the past and make resolutions to improve your life for the year ahead. It occurred to me how often I would make and break resolutions year after year. As a caregiver it’s hard to set goals and promise resolutions when so much of your life is out of your control. Staying on task one day at a time is a challenge: how then can I possibly make a commitment to change for an entire year?

Looking back over my annual “It’s A New Year” Journals from the eight years I cared for my Mother there was a consistent theme:

  • This year I will take more time for myself
  • This year I will be more patient, tolerant and less critical of others
  • I will leave guilt in the year that has just past
  • Etc., etc., etc!!!

Skimming a few pages forward it becomes obvious very quickly that it did not take long for the stress of care giving to take hold and my resolutions to go right out the window. One journal entry spoke to my frustration as I watch everyone around me head into the New Year with such hope and excitement. All I could feel was dread, another year of doctor and therapy appointments and feelings of helplessness as I watched my Mom continue to be stuck in her world of post stroke challenges.  But then I read a book by Kay Adams called Journal to the Self and began practicing the techniques.

Soon my journal entries show hope and I begin to turn a corner.  I learned to use my journal to manage my feelings. Gradually I began use these pages as not only a safe place to express my feelings, but a way to manage daily tasks, keep track of my resolutions and check on my progress. Eventually I took back control of my life.  I found that by venting my frustrations and disappointments in my journal I was able to let go of them in a more constructive manner. This led to more patience, tolerance and less judgment of others. Because I wrote through these emotions I began to realize that care giving was what I was doing not who I was and this shift in thinking allowed me to be less than perfect. Soon the guilt began to lessen and I realized that all I could do was my best and if that was not enough then tomorrow was another day. By using my journal to manage tasks I became more organized and found time for self-care. All of these changes made me happier and a better caregiver.

I was so grateful for the improvement in my life that I became a Certified Instructor of Journal to the Self® and offer the course on my website www.carepartnersresource.com and in person. I hope to improve the lives of care givers one Journal at a time.

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2 Responses to “Journaling for a better New Year”
  1. Jessica Daly says:

    My first year as a caregiver I kept a “journal” of the events surrounding my husband’s diagnosis with congestive cardiomyopathy at the age of 28 through emails to friends and family. Five years later I used these same emails to write and publish my first book “Brian’s Update”. It has served as a healing tool for many caregivers since its release in 2011. It was therapy for me and now my story of survival inspires others!

  2. admin says:

    Thank you Jessica for this thoughtful reply.

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