7 Journal Prompts that Can Help Reduce Caregiver Stress

Let’s face it; as human beings in the 21st century, we have a lot to manage on a daily basis. From educational endeavors and careers to relationships, responsibilities and everything in between, stress is a natural reaction to our jam-packed lives. One effective way of taking everything that is jostling around in your brain and minimizing it is to get it out of your head and down on paper. That’s right, we’re talking about the archaic exercise of, wait for it, WRITING. 

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In an electronic age where we’re constantly accessible and feeling even more pressure to respond to situations and communications immediately, writing in a journal can act as a tool for relieving stress. Especially for caregivers.

So what are some journal prompts that can help you to reduce your mental clutter and be a more productive, healthier and happier person? Here are a few:

Am I taking time for self care? If not, what would I like to do about this and when?

Making time for self care is incredibly important when you’re a caregiver. It’s easy to lose sight of your own needs when you’re focused on fulfilling the needs of someone else. However, it’s imperative that you acknowledge what you need, decide what it is that will make you happy and calm, and then to set a concrete date or time of day when you’ll engage in behaviors that satisfy YOU.

Describe your stress.

If you find that there are particular triggers throughout your day, identify them and chronicle them. Think about how these stressors impact you emotionally, mentally and physically. When you can actually see these words on paper, you may process them in a different way and teach yourself how to react to said triggers differently the next time they are present. 

What can I learn from what I’m facing? 

Everyday is different in its own unique and nuanced ways when it comes to the life of a caregiver. If you’re feeling stressed, burnt out, guilty or riding a wave of other negative emotions, then try to identify positive learning opportunities that you can take away from these trying situations.

Today was a difficult day. What made it difficult and how can I work to fix that?

Similarly to the prompt above, this question deals with really analyzing what challenge you faced and if it’s preventable or manageable in a way that you couldn’t quite determine today. Conversely, you could reverse the prompt and focus on what made a particular day easier than usual, and then find a way to replicate what you did that day.

Is there a specific adjustment I can make to my morning routine? Evening routine?

You may notice a pattern when it comes to a particular time of day being more difficult than another. It may be that waking up 5 minutes earlier will give you the time you need to enjoy a cup of coffee and, in turn, start your day on the right note. You might also find that getting into bed earlier, reading a book for 15 minutes before lights out, or taking a bath before bed will remove stress accrued throughout the course of the day and settle your mind so that you can sleep more soundly. 

What are 3 things you would like to be doing for the rest of you life?

Look toward the future. Consider long-term goals you’d like to set for yourself, or make a list of your passions and then narrow it down to three you’d enjoy whether you were compensated or not.

Look at the bright side - jot down 5 things that make you smile.

Finding the positivity, the silver lining, can help you to reground yourself in times of stress. Conjure up an image of your happy place, think about a joke that always makes you laugh, or a memory that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Perhaps most importantly, think about how your work as a caregiver is positively impacting the life of your loved one.

What are some journal prompts that have helped you to relieve stress and reconnect with your original caregiving mission? 

CareZare is a FREE app for family caregivers to help them manage their care team and ensure the highest level of care for their loved one.