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This post was supposed to come out before March 14, but…life. I hope you enjoy it anyway!
March 14 was National Write Your Story Day. Don’t you think it’s time to tell yours?
Families have been caring for older family members throughout history, but it has never been like it is today. No longer do the majority of people live on one income, leaving someone home all day to care for an elderly family member, families don’t always stay close geographically, and technology has literally changed everything. And, for the first time, we also have a large number of young people caring for their grandparents.
It’s definitely time to tell stories!
Who Do You Want to Tell?
Do you want to write your story for the whole world to see, or do you just want to write your story for record keeping? We are going to start with writing your story in a journal for personal use.
This is Not Your Teen Journal
(Unless that’s what you want)
Your caregiver journal can be anything as simple as a spiral-bound notebook or composition book, or as elaborate as a leatherbound volume with fancy paper. The choice is entirely up to you, and yes, you may use a fuzzy pink diary with a little padlock if you wish.
You don’t have to be a “writer” to journal effectively. In fact, your writing skills don’t have to be good at all. Just the act of putting your thoughts into logical order and translating them to written form can help you to understand what you’re feeling, and why.
Writing is one of the best ways to gain clarity about thoughts and feelings. This can be especially helpful if you’re feeling conflicted or confused about certain situations that come from being a caregiver, writing your thoughts out can be incredibly enlightening!
Let It Go
Don’t hold back your thoughts and feelings. No one else has to see this. Release your anger and hurt so that you can move on.
One of the hardest parts of caregiving can be the hurt of your loved one not knowing who you are or being angry and taking it out on you. Your journal is the place to explore the feelings those actions evoke.
You know in your head that your loved one didn’t mean what they said, but writing it out allows you to let go of those feelings and the guilt they bring. (To learn more about dealing with caregiver guilt, see this article.)
Don’t forget to include the good things that happen. Those things that make you smile or laugh. Note what you’re grateful for that day.
Look Back Occasionally
Looking back at your journal entries allows you to see patterns that might otherwise go unnoticed. It also gives you a chance to relive those things that made you smile.
The most important thing is to be objective while you look at your entries. Don’t judge or belittle yourself. Keep the focus on personal growth and development. Instead of beating yourself up or cringing over your latest rant, ask yourself, “How can I use this knowledge to improve my circumstances now?”
Tell Your Story, Your Way
If you’re not a natural writer, journaling may seem like a lot of effort at first. But it is so worth it!
Don’t feel that you have to follow any set rules with your journaling. Do what works best for you, and enjoy the journey!
Who knows, maybe someday you’ll decide to share your writings with the world. When that happens, it’s time to look at more public options.
Sharing Your Story
My first suggestion for sharing your story publicly is Medium. Medium is a space on the web where anyone can publish their stories. They do have a paid program where you can earn money based on reader response, but it’s not necessary to join. There are a lot of pieces about caregiving.
My second suggestion would be to start your own blog. I plan to write a post about that in the near future, but in the meantime, check out Girl Bosses Rock’s How to Start a Blog.
Now It’s Your Turn – Write Your Story!
What are you waiting for? Get going and see how much better you feel about the wonderful service you are providing your loved one.
Let me know how it goes.