The Caregiver Cup Podcast

Celebrating Three Years of the Caregiver Cup: A Journey of Growth and Community Building

October 10, 2023 Cathy VandenHeuvel Episode 182
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
Celebrating Three Years of the Caregiver Cup: A Journey of Growth and Community Building
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
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What if there was a space where caregivers could come together, share their stories, and gain support? A place where they could learn to replenish their cups after pouring so much into caring for others? Welcome to the third anniversary celebration of the Caregiver Cup podcast! Over these incredible years, we've not just built a podcast, but a community of caregivers who've found a solace in shared experiences. I am overjoyed to walk you through our humble beginnings, the journey of how a simple hope of making a difference resulted in this impactful platform, and the inspiring stories of those who helped shape what the Caregiver Cup podcast is today.

Do you remember the sheer excitement of starting something new, fueled by nothing but raw passion? That was me three years back, discussing my dream of creating a podcast, facing doubts, yet plunging right in. I share my story of seeking mentorship and planning tirelessly for Caregiver Cup, hoping it inspires someone to start their own venture! As we've grown, so has our vision - from a name change to content expansion, there's much more to come. Stay tuned as we talk about offering free coaching opportunities and introducing a podcast inbox. Also, hear about our plans to expand to YouTube! Whether you're a caregiver yourself or know someone who is, I promise this episode will inspire, motivate, and guide you.

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Speaker 1:

Well, hello, my friend, and welcome to another episode of the Caregiver Cup podcast. It's Kathy here. Boy, do we have an exciting, exciting podcast episode today to share with you. But before we start, I'm going to just go ahead and keep it low right now, and concerning, because I wanted to take a moment and send my thoughts, and, I'm sure, your thoughts, for Paula from our Caregiver Cup community. She lives in Israel. I heard from her yesterday via email and she is safe. Being a caregiver is tough enough and now she has to live with the war. Paula, if you are listening, know that this community is holding you in our thoughts and our prayers. Please be safe, my friend, and I hope that we can connect again, but know that our words and our thoughts are with you and we continue to pray and keep you in our thoughts. So now let's shift into the episode today, and it is going to be a fun one, because it's all about the Caregiver Cup podcast three-year anniversary. Let me start out by saying it was October 10, 2020, when I hit the start button Well, in the podcast world, it's the publish button my hope was that I was going to be able to help one caregiver see the importance of taking care of herself. It was a simple hope to make a difference in the lives of caregivers. Little did I know that this journey would lead me to where I am today, exactly three years later on October 10. First of all, I am deeply grateful for your downloads, for your time, for your support and for you listening to the episodes. I do this entire podcast from my own budget because it feels right. It's something that I'm passionate about and I want to help you as a caregiver. I would look when I was in 2020, I would look at my podcast host site say that again, my podcast host site, which is Buzzsprout to see how many downloads I had. After a few hours of publishing my first one, I saw that I had 10 downloads. I knew one was mine, one was probably my spouse and probably another one was my mom, but seven people listened to my podcast. After a few hours, I got off my chair and I rang my cowbell yes, a cowbell. Of all things, a cowbell means to me. When I was running my half marathons, I heard cowbells all the time and they were loud enough where I could hear them, and that gave me momentum. It was one of my very first half marathons. When I went to the finish line which seemed like forever because it's 13.1 miles one of the guys on the sideline handed me his cowbell and he said I want you to ring this for the last block so that I can hear you cross the finish line. I had no idea who he was. Today I have this cowbell and I use it all the time I tie the ribbon to it. I use it for different purposes now, but it is that momentum. I would ring the cowbell every time I got more downloads. Then what happened is I started receiving emails, messages and reviews. I didn't need these things to stroke my ego for the podcast episode, but the words just reinforced that you and I, as caregivers, are hurting, challenged, stressed and burnt out. What it did is it gave me more fuel to keep going. One of the emails that I wanted to share with you today came from Vale, and this was back in 2021. She said I listened to your podcast and I'm trying bits of respite during the day. I'm also planning a trip to see my grandkids and leaving my hubby at home. I just have to plan what ifs the what ifs that could happen and he said he would be fine, I will hide the car keys and make sure there's plenty of food and find coverage to check on him each and every day. It was nice to see that somebody was taking those tactical pieces and then I got a review online and it said I'm just about a year into my caregiving from my spouse in hospice care and I've joined support groups plus looked for podcasts on this issue. Kathy's is definitely the best podcast on the topic Very well thought out, realistic, compassionate and deep. I feel the emotion in her voice sometimes and, no, she has much experience in this area. I have found this podcast so helpful and so appreciative her sharing her insights and then my dog barks at the same time. If you heard that, that's what happened. But those things fuel my fire and when I get things like that, it just reinforces and keeps me going. Little did I know this podcast, this little bitty podcast called the caregiver cup that I started in the middle of one of the most stressful seasons of my life would be I would be here today. I was in the midst of a COVID lockdown in October of 10th of 2020. My husband finished up his chemotherapy, but then, months later, we found out that he had to go and and refighted again with his third round of chemotherapy. My mom, within six months of starting that podcast, had. She found out that she had lung cancer and had to fight that. And then, within a year of doing this podcast, I had major reorganizations in my corporate job. But there was something special about this podcast microphone that I was talking into. It got me out of bed every day and actually, as a matter of fact, sometimes I lay in bed with ideas and I'm like I got to put this on a pot in a podcast episode. It gave me purpose, it gave me an outlet for all of the other bad things that were happening in my life and it kept me grounded from that perspective. So it did. Now, not everyone wants to do a podcast. I remember my first conversation over direct message with Alice, one of my clients, and she started. She decided that she needed to find an outlet, she needed to find a purpose and she picked her office to remodel. Her husband was was terminally ill and she had miscellaneous nurses coming in throughout the day, but otherwise she was confined to her home. And when she decided she needed to do something, she picked, picked her office. It was causing her a lot of stress, and so we started out talking about reorganizing it. But then, as she went forward, she's like I need to go ahead and find a different paint color. She would send me paint chips and saying what do you think? And then she built herself a bookshelf and then found a fun light at a flea market and had that installed and her main focus was still her terminally ill spouse. But she got away when the nurses or or she, her husband was sleeping and she had this renowned energy that kept her going. And if you think back to episode 179, which was on September 19th, I'm going to lean back and grab her book. Once Debbie Wise wrote her book on second thought. Maybe I can, and if you haven't listened to that, just go back a few episodes and grab it. She wrote this book while her husband was in hospice. Right after her husband passed away. She published the book and she talks about that. She got away an hour each day and went up to her office up in the upper level and she wrote. Some days it was easy, some days it was hard, but it got her focused on more than just the caregiving. There was another podcast episode on September 23rd 2021 that I interviewed Candice Draw. She was dealing with, as she was caregiving, her mom, who had ovarian cancer, and through her challenges, she became an advocate and an activist for ovarian cancer research alliance, the AIDS Foundation and Gilda's Club Chicago, and she became an associate board member. And so she took all of her pieces and used those from her caregiving experience and is using that as fuel for her even to this day. As I was entering my third year in caregiving, that's when I started this podcast in 2020. I realized that I needed to continue to work on my well-being, and what better way to improve your health is when I talked to you as a listener, hold myself accountable, and I started sharing tips that were working, that were not working. I talked about my struggles. I brought on guests that could help both you and I. Some of my most memorable guests when it came to well-being and mindset were Kelly McCarthy, and she was from Australia, or she's from Australia back on June was it June? No, may 24th, I'm trying to count five, it was 524, 2022. And her whole podcast theme was there's always a way, no matter what life throws at you, there's always a way to fit time in for yourself, and her inspiration really took it to another level. And then, after Mabobsy and she is from, I'm trying to think where she's from. She's from Europe. I can't remember exactly where she's from, but she's an oncology nurse and she back in December 1st of 2020, she was one of my very first podcast interviews and she talked about what she saw as an oncology nurse and, most importantly, saw in caregivers, and she talked about how important recharging was and she used the phone analogy and saying you can't go ahead and use your cell phone forever and ever and ever. You have to plug it in and recharge and that's what you have to do for yourself. Another one that I shared this my stem cell transplant journey with you and was very those six weeks that I was through that stem cell transplant, I shared that process with you. After it was all done, I interviewed Patty from the Kathy's house, which she is the founder and CEO of the Kathy's house, and back on March 15th of 2022, she talked about the importance of self-care and she also talked about the importance of different aspects of self-care what does sunlight do? What does music do? What is, what does meditation do? And she talked about it from the eyes of seeing the people staying in this building across the street from Freedert Hospital in Milwaukee that goes ahead and opens their doors up to residents that are away from home and have to stay there for long periods of time, and so it's just awestruck. I'm just awestruck at all of the things that have happened over the years, when it those three years when it came to podcasting, and all of the books I've read and all of the information I've shared. So I want to rewind it back to six weeks before the start of the podcast, and I remember when I told my family, I told my spouse, I told my friends that I was starting a podcast. They looked at me with this blank stare. First of all, my mom had no idea what a podcast was. My spouse said I support you, but I'm concerned about you working full-time taking care of me, taking care of my mom, taking care of the house, all that kind of stuff. So he had his concern. My friends only knew the name, the top name podcast out there. And how were you going to do this when you weren't well known? And that was one of their concerns. Well, I'm stubborn that way. Their doubts, their objections, their disbeliefs fueled me to prove them wrong, and that's kind of the feisty side of Kathy that maybe you don't hear, but that's just fuel for the fire. I got the same reaction when I was running my half marathons. My dad would say, you just be careful, you're gonna hurt your knees. Or I would get people to say, well, what's your time? And I'm like, I don't care about my time, I'm just gonna run 13.1 miles. I am not this Olympic athlete that can run and this would just fuel my fire. And I ran nine half marathons plus many, many more, and I'm thinking if I could do that, I can start a podcast. I found that you have to find a reputable and a great mentor and a coach for and a course to help you. And I've had Crystal Prophet on the podcast before and she's from Prophet Podcast and she had a course that you could get a podcast up and running in a month. And so I found her and she is still my podcast coach, my mentor and a friend now that I rely on. And so I did my research. I chatted with Crystal and I was convinced that this was the right move for me because I wanted to help other caregivers. So I planned out my plan just like I did for, like when I was running for a half marathon. I mapped it out because I knew I couldn't probably get it done in a month, but I probably could get it done within two months, and so I mapped out my plan to take her digital course. I had to buy a microphone and I didn't spend a lot of money on a microphone and I upgraded eventually a couple years later, and I had to work off of a shoestring budget because I was funding this myself and I wasn't going to be looking for a top name sponsorship. I just wanted to spread the word organically. I didn't want those extra pressures underneath on my shoulders. I just wanted to talk on this microphone and Crystal helped me when it came to doing things reasonably priced, cheap or without any cost, and I got scrappy. I had a lot of decisions to make as I was taking the course. She guided you along the way. The biggest thing she guided is that you had to come up with a list of topics, and I believe it was 25, at least 25 topics to talk about, because the big thing most podcasters do is they quit after 10. They quit after 20 because they don't know what to talk about anymore, and so she challenged me to sit down and think of all of the topics that I wanted to talk about in brainstorm, a list. I didn't have to think about everything. I had to say just what the topic titles were going to come up with. Well, I came up with two pages long of topics, of over 125 topics to talk about. I knew I was set and that reinforced my decision. And then I had to come up with picking a host site that I could pay for that would go ahead and make it really is making all the bells and whistles behind pretty much easy. You just upload it to this host site and then they go ahead and take care of communicating it with Apple and Spotify and Google and all of those things, and then they store the information and they spew it out for you. That's more or less. And then I had to come up with a name of my podcast and and then record a couple episodes in advance, and I also had to learn a process and remain consistent each and every week. And so because I decided I wanted my podcast to come out on Tuesdays and so I needed to go ahead and do things before Tuesday and learn how to go ahead and do all of the things that needed to be done. So it worked. It worked and I've had a lot of learning lessons along the way, but it was fun, the big thing. It was fun to talk into a microphone and it was taught and I got all of these ideas out of my head. So, if you're and, by the way, I started my podcast it took me about six and a half weeks to go ahead and go through all the content and record and all of that, but I thought that was pretty darn good when it came to going ahead and starting it, because I took the course in August and then I implemented in six weeks, and so you could argue if that was longer than that, but it was. It was pretty fast, knowing my situation. But if you're looking to start your own podcast, I can help you with that. Crystal's course is now open and I am an affiliate of Crystal's course, and so drop me an email and I'll send you a link to the course, plus my bonuses that I'm giving to you. If you join Crystal's course, she has an upcoming resource and a free webinar that I can help you with too. So go to my email at Kathy, at KathyLVancom, and email me and tell me you want to start a podcast, and that's with all C, c-a-t-h-y L-Van. Or you can go to KathyLVancom start a podcast, and there's a link out there and I'll put it in the show notes for you. Did you know that I started with the name the Caregiver Wife Podcast? First I thought that I was going with that and just an FY for you. That's one of the hardest things to do and more or less, you'll probably change it. So Crystal's coaching said Kathy, don't rely on it too much. You'll probably change it. And I started receiving feedback from other caregivers saying well, I'm not a wife, I'm a daughter, I'm a fiance, I'm a sibling, I'm a neighbor, you know. So I started receiving that feedback and after a few rounds of that feedback, I realized I needed to change my name. And then I started getting really focused in on I don't want to talk about all of the insurance and equipment and all of that, because I'm not good at that piece. What I'm good at is helping you guide through your self-care and filling your cup. And so little did I know that in 2021, I changed my podcast to the Caregiver Cup, and so there's one episode that I changed and that really opened the door to more listeners, because not only was I helping caregivers, I was helping caregivers with the importance of putting themselves first and how important it is physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and all of that to fill your cup first and overcoming that guilt and that shame and that time to go ahead and do that. And what are the reversed effects? So, as my podcast grew, I realized that my business needed to have more opportunities and so, at that time then I opened it up to coaching and, as a matter of fact, you can go and get a free 30-minute chat with me to feel, to see where you're at with your caregiving, and I can go ahead and tell you what opportunities I have. I can tell you if we're a good fit or where I think you should go next. There are many chats that I've had with caregivers that I felt like they needed to go to therapy or they needed to go to a licensed professional, or you know what. I don't think you need this. Let me just give you this resource, and so we talk about that. I also, in 2022 and a little bit in 2023, I had a group coaching program, which was wonderful, but then I realized this year I needed to open the doors to a digital course and find a strategic way to go ahead and do that, and so if somebody wants to go ahead and really look at their caregiver situation, I have the Empowerful Caregiver School. That is really a self-paced learning environment where you can go ahead, and the whole theme of it is a transformation to being Empowerful and being a Season 3 caregiver, where you lose the guilt and the shame and you learn how to go ahead and control your stress and burnout or, when it happens, you know how to work through it, and so that's what that is all about, and so the transformation is just amazing, and I couldn't have done it without the caregiver podcast, your listener support, the feedback, the connections, the community that I have as a caregiver myself. I would listen to podcasts, and I still do, and, as a matter of fact, I'll be sharing some of my favorite ones through my emails and posts this week, and they've made a difference for me, and so I could get the daily motivation and the resource and the tips that I need. It's easy to listen to a podcast because you can do it at your own time, you can put it in when you need to be inspired when you need a dose and they're always there for you, but when caregivers need more, I'm there to help at whatever capacity that they need. And in the past, before I started my caregiver cup, I had communities, I had therapy, I had resources and so and I needed those. So you might be wondering what's next for the caregiver cup podcast. Well, my friend, are you up for more of me? Because I have a lot in my head. I just brainstormed another list. I've looked at more books and resources to go ahead and dissect and unload. That's one of the things over the past three years that's opened up new avenues for me is I found so many resources and books and YouTube videos and TED Talks that I listened to that have inspired me, and now I'm buckling at the seams and I can't wait to share it with you in the caregiving world, because you know, you and I, this caregiving world is a constant change in process for both of us. I've collaborated with so many amazing caregivers. We've talked and we've shared. I mean, you all send me emails and resources and DMs with things and saying this article is really good, this has helped me and we continue to keep sharing these. I'm also collaborating with some amazing podcasters out there as well, everything from menopause to midlife, oh, to different tools and techniques, and I can't wait for you to see the fun that I have planned for you in the rest of 2022 and, most importantly, 2020 or 2023 and, most importantly, 2024. And so I'm also going to expand my podcast consistently in 2024 to YouTube. I'm working on ways to go ahead and do this podcast via YouTube and in my podcasting whole site together, because I think there's power in finding a platform that you all feel like you want to be in, because not everybody wants to be in a podcast app, not everybody wants to be listening to YouTube, not everybody wants it via email. I have to find different ways and paths for you to get this information, so I think that's going to be opening up more doors to listeners. And another thing that I'm working on is a podcast inbox. What it is? It's an email voice box where you can ask me questions, share your stories and connect with me. I want to take in your suggestions, your topics and your questions. You can do that via email, but also this voice box is something that you can ask a question and I can broadcast that on the podcast and you can hear the voice of the question and I can create a podcast episode off of it, and so I can't wait to go ahead and start that. I know there'll be some bumps and some of you may not want to record something, but some of you may want to, and that just gets all of us to hear another voice. So let me close today here with I have a week long celebration plan for the caregiver podcast. I have some fun things that I want to share with you, like resources that I continue to use, my favorite books, my favorite podcast. I have resources that you can click on that I'm gonna dust off and bring back up, and so if you are not on my email list, you wanna be. Go out to kathyelvancom and that's my website and scroll down to the bottom and you're going to go ahead and see join my email list. Make sure you do that Now. If you've gotten a freebie or a resource from me, you're already on my email list. But if you're not on my email list, you'll want to this week for sure, and just know that you can unsubscribe if you don't want. If you get it and it's like I just get too many emails, kathy I can't keep up. That's fine, but this week I want you to do that because there's gonna be some things that you're gonna wanna take advantage of. Another thing that I wanna do is I'm giving away a free Amazon gift card and maybe some other little trinkets, and I'm giving those away to anybody that puts a review on a podcast app or sends me a review. This is a huge, huge favor, I'm asking, but this is the only way podcasters get their name. No one out there. This is the only way that my podcast bubbles up, and so, if you have, if you're using the Apple app for your podcast, you can click on my episode and, before or after you play, just scroll down to the bottom and you're gonna see the stars and you can click on hopefully, click on five stars for me, and Apple podcast allows you to go ahead and put in a description. Now, if you listen off a Spotify, it's a little bit more difficult. It's hidden more. You have to click on the show the caregiver cup show, then all episodes. So click on the show, all episodes and then there's three dots in the upper right-hand corner and it says rate the show. It doesn't allow you to put a description in, but it allows you to put in those five stars. Now, if you go out and rate my podcast and if you have a different app, you'll probably have to just search. But if you want to rate that and if you do that, please drop me an email or a direct message and tell me you rated my show, because and I'll look, but, like for Spotify, I can't tell who rated my show, or, if you have a different handle, I might not recognize you. And let me know who you are so I can put my name, put your name in the drawing, and if it's too much for you and you're like frustrated with the app, then just go out to my email and drop me an email at Kathy, at KathyElvancom, and give me a review. Whatever it is, it means the world to me and I know that you are loving what you're loving and it'll only help get more people onto the show. So, before I end today, I want to end with my cowbell and my gratitude for you listening today. I can't thank you enough for making these three years so momentable or monumental and memorable, for letting me in your earbud, or in your ear or your earbuds, doing whatever you're doing. I hope that my nuggets of information, my resources, my tips are helping you are helping you, because you need to hear that you deserve to take care of yourself. You are amazing. You are doing tough things and you are continuing to provide this beautiful gift to your loved one. That is hard, that is difficult, that is challenging, but you know what? When you look back on this day, you should be very proud of yourself for giving your time to your loved one, because it is a beautiful gift. And so, until we meet again next week, thank you for listening to the Caregiver Cup podcast celebrating its three years and, as a caregiver, I hope that you are doing well and have a great week. We'll see you next week. Bye for now.

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