The Caregiver Cup Podcast

Confronting and Overcoming Fears in Caregiving: A Halloween Special

October 24, 2023 Cathy VandenHeuvel Episode 184
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
Confronting and Overcoming Fears in Caregiving: A Halloween Special
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Get ready to journey into the haunted realm of fear, as we explore not just Halloween traditions, but also the deeper, more personal fears that can creep up on us, especially as caregivers. Prepare yourselves for a chilling tale from my childhood, where a homemade witch costume won me second place in a costume contest! This Halloween, let's swap ghost stories, share our fears and carve out a path towards overcoming them, all while celebrating the spooky season.

Fear can be a daunting phantom, especially when it takes the form of caregiving challenges. From feeling underprepared and making mistakes, to the chilling grip of potential financial instability, these fears can cast long shadows. Yet, it's important to unearth these fears, as acknowledging them can lead to much-needed support. How can we differentiate between the truths and the haunting lies we tell ourselves? How can we prevent our thoughts from spiraling into the darkest recesses of our minds? These are the questions we'll grapple with in this episode.

Finally, we'll step into the light as we discuss strategies to overcome the fears that lurk in the corners of our caregiving journey. Unleashing the power of your journal, we'll create a go-to tab that will serve as your personal beacon of hope. By distinguishing fear from anxiety, acknowledging truths and reaching out for help, we can disarm the frightful specters of our minds. So, throw on your favorite costume, grab a hot mug of pumpkin spice latte, and join us for this Halloween-themed episode as we banish our fears into the night.

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Speaker 1:

Well, hello there and welcome to another caregiver cup podcast. It is Kathy here. I am so glad you're joining me today. Before we get started today, I wanted to take care of some unfinished business. If you are waiting for the drawing for the Amazon card, I forgot it last week. Yes, I forgot. And so this week I drew for the Amazon gift card. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, when I was celebrating, just a couple weeks ago, the three year anniversary of the caregiver cup podcast, I did a little what is it called? A little incentive, and I asked for ratings and reviews on my podcast on your podcast platform, or send me an email or post a review on social media, and your name would go into the drawing for an Amazon gift card. And I, I forgot, I forgot, and so I wanted to go ahead and celebrate today, because I did do the drawing and I wanted to announce the winner. She already knows and she already got the gift card, but I wanted to go ahead and publicly share with you her name, and the winner of the Amazon gift card is Kimberly Weatherton. So thank you to each and every one of you for submitting your reviews and ratings. They mean the world to me. They help make this caregiver cup podcast possible and it helps find other caregivers out there, because I'm just this little old, tiny podcast with no sponsorships yet and the only way for me to get visualization and be seen is through ratings and reviews, through me constantly marketing it and for you sharing it. And so, before we get started with today's episode, if you know of a caregiver, please, please share this podcast episode or this podcast with them and let them know that this is something that they can go ahead and listen for for free If they like it. They can follow it or subscribe to it, and I hope that I can help. Our community gets bigger and bigger each and every day.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so, without further ado, let's jump into today's episode and I want to talk about. It's just about a little over a week away from Halloween. Some people call it Halloween, I call it Halloween. So, just so you know, I just want to make the small a that way. So if you say Halloween, just ignore my Halloween. But I want to ask you do you love this time of the year? There are people in my neighborhood that have their homes all decked out with these creatures and lights and noises and sound machines and what is the fog going. It's just amazing.

Speaker 1:

As a kid we would do my mom and dad, we would have the typical trick or training in the neighborhood, but we would always have these parties, that city hall or the city center and have parties, and what I did is I would go ahead and get dressed up. My mom would help me. Well, one year and I'm trying to look, I'm trying to picture it, I think it was maybe I was 10 and I won with a witch costume. I won second place in the costume contest and there was probably 50 kids there and so I won. My mom had this blonde wig that at that time they wore wigs, and so she let me wear this blonde, grayish kind of wig. She sprayed some extra black in it with streaks in it, and then I had this fun witch costume and I won second place. But what I remember the most was this blonde wig was given to me by a couple of years ago and what I remember the most was this blonde wig was getting in the way of everything because it was not only was it a party, it was. There was tons of activities. We had a bob for apples. Now, this, now a today's day and age? I'm not sure if they would, because of all of the spit and everything in the apples. We carved pumpkins and we went into this carving contest. We picked a partner and we carved pumpkins and then we had we danced, so we had there was dance contest, there was different types of relay races, and then they had this haunted house for kids there, which was really cool. But all I remember that day was trying to keep this wig from getting in the way and this long black gown was was not helping me with any of the contests, but I did win the costume contest.

Speaker 1:

Now fast forward to when I raised my three boys. We did the traditional trick or treating, but what was really fun is my sister was this really great sewer and she still is to this day, and she sewed costumes for my kids. She sewed a Tyrannosaurus Rex for my middle son, which was really cool. He had this big stuffed tail. Then she did Ninja Turtle outfits when the Ninja Turtle movies came out and so all of three of my kids wore Ninja Turtles. So we were really festive when it came to Halloween and we did not only the trick or treating in the neighborhood, we did all of the city things that were trick or treatings, but in addition to that we did corn mazes and haunted houses age appropriate with my kids, and so it was really a fun time for us from a trick or treating perspective and a Halloween perspective.

Speaker 1:

Now haunted houses brought out the true colors, are true colors when it came to the fears that we had, because I remember dating my husband, dennis, and going through haunted houses. I hated the spider web feelings that when they would do the cotton and the stringy spiderwebs. I hated that because the feeling of spiderwebs even to this day freaks me out. My kids, when we went to haunted houses, any clowns or clown like characters they freaked out about, they would hide behind. Even when we would go to parades not during the Halloween time you would see my adult boys stepping back behind the light poles or stepping back at least 10 feet, and so they were always afraid, and I would be the one that couldn't sleep after the Wizard of Oz because I thought the wicked witch was coming with her monkeys into our house. I just couldn't sleep. And so today I want to talk about fears and I wanted to make it light first Before we get into the more serious stuff. But what are you afraid of? What are your phobias? I would love to hear it and you can go ahead and drop me a message. You can go. If you're on the Facebook the caregiver cup podcast Facebook page or group you can go ahead and put it out there. But what are you afraid of? I'm going to just take a sip of my coffee here.

Speaker 1:

Once, as a kid for me, we had this ranch home, but we also had the second. The basement was all it was a rec room. It was all fixed up and my mom and dad had this carpeting down there. We had a family room down there. One side was a bar area, so we did most of our entertaining in our basement area. But there was a refrigerator down there for pop. We called it pop or soda, whatever you want to call it. We my mom and dad also used it as extra storage for things that didn't fit in the upstairs, and my mom and dad would send me down the basement to go ahead and get something out of the refrigerator. And I hated going down there because not only was it, was it dark, the furnace made noises, the stairs made noises, and so I'd walk down the basement, turn on all of the lights and then, at the bottom of the stairs, I would try to run up as fast as I could because I was afraid somebody was down there coming to get me at the bottom of the steps. Yeah, I watched too many horror movies or the Wizard of Oz, whatever it would be. Well, funny that I say this because my dad was also very afraid of the show very much drama or graphical when it came to his fears as well.

Speaker 1:

I remember the halloween movie the very first one coming out must have been in the eighties and it came out maybe even in the late seventies. It came out and I went with my dad and my mom and, I think, dennis, because we were dating at that time and we went to the halloween movie in the theater and it was in the downtown area of green bay, wisconsin, and we went to the movie theater. I remember walking out of there and my dad's glasses were broke because my dad was watching the movie and he put his hands over the top of his glasses and hit his glasses so hard that they he was trying to hide from the screen by covering his eyes and we were laughing, but then at the same time we were all leaving the movie theater freaking out because we thought what was it? Michael mires was hiding behind the cars. We were so scared.

Speaker 1:

So it got me thinking about what's the difference between being scared or afraid versus fear, and I'm like, is there a difference in? So I looked it up, because scared, afraid and fear are all related to the emotions of fear, but they are used in slightly different contexts and convey different levels of intensity. So here's a breakdown of the difference. So scared this term generally describes a sudden or immediate feeling of fear. It often implies a temporary state of being afraid, often triggered by specific situations or events. For example, if you see a snake suddenly slithering across your path, which I would freak out, you might feel scared at the moment. Okay, so here's afraid.

Speaker 1:

Afraid the term. That typically refers to a more prolonged or persistence data fear. It can describe a feeling of unease, worry About potential dangers, whether real or imagine. It is not necessary necessarily linked to an immediate threat. For instance, you're afraid of the dark or afraid of heights, indicating a more long lasting or reoccurring fear. And I'm definitely afraid of heights, and so I can get myself worked up and I'm afraid to climb bleachers if I can see the bottom, or go up high if I can see the bottom. So let's talk about fear now.

Speaker 1:

This term refers to the emotion or feelings of being scared or afraid. It is a fundamental human emotion that arises in response to a perceived threat, whether it's a physical, emotional or psychological threat. Fear can be rational or irrational. It can range from mild, on ease to intense terror. It is a broader term that encompasses both scared and afraid and can be used to describe both temporary, temporary or persistent states of apprehension. So, in summary, scared usually described sudden or temporary feelings of fear. Afraid typically implies more prolonged or persistent states of fear, and fear is the broader term that encompasses both temporary and persistent states of apprehension.

Speaker 1:

So I don't know. I just wanted to look it up because I think it's important. As caregivers, we may experience both temporary, temporary, prolonged and persistent fear, and so what fears have you experience? What scares you? I want you to really think about that this week. My quieted fear that I've been putting in my closet, in my mind, because it's now been what? When did he have his stem cell transplant? January of 2022, so it's now been almost 18 months. My fear came out of the closet because my husband Dennis.

Speaker 1:

This past Friday he had a six month scan and then he gets his blood work every three months, so it was time for his blood work in a six month scan. Well, he's now going to these on his own because most of the time they're usually routine, and this time, though, he came back and he had to tell me that there are causes of concern in his scan, which means that he's got chronic lymphocytic leukemia, which means he's got cancer of the blood that shows up in his lymph nodes, and so his lymphoma, his non Hodgkin's lymphoma, was in remission. It's always going to be here, and his Hodgkin's lymphoma Was in remission and very successful after the stem cell transplant. And so he we don't think he has Hodgkin's because we think that stem cell transplant took care of that. But the non Hodgkin's can flare up, and so his lymph nodes in the back of his neck, between his, his trachea and his spine, are inflamed, are very larger than normal and showing the the largeness I don't think that's a word from prior to his stem cell transplant and down in his pelvic and the lymph nodes by his kidneys are larger and of concern. And so the doctor wants and his blood work wasn't perfect. I mean, there were some signs of his blood work saying that something is off, and so what we have to do next now is he has to go in for a biopsy. And reason we have to go in for a biopsy is to make sure that it's it's the CLL, which is the piece that can, we can control and it will never. It'll never go away, but we can keep it under control. And that's the chronic leukemia in the lymph nodes, and if it's, that will be happy. But if it's Hodgkin's from that they assume that the stem cell transplant would cure, then we have another battle in front of us. So we go in for this broadcast or this podcast will come out on Tuesday, we go in on Wednesday and then we get all of the results on November 3rd. So it's going to be a long wait now, but we have to do that.

Speaker 1:

Like I said, my fear of it coming back is plummeting and I did a post last week on Peaks and Valleys, so but that's the fear, and so I want to. I want to talk about fear today, and I'm reading this book from Chris Carr, and it's called I'm not a morning person, morning me and grieving from from grief and loss. But it has so many good pieces about fear that I wanted to share a clip from you. It's on page 42, so I want to give her credit and make sure you know that I'm reading it. But I want to read this piece for you. It says Think about it.

Speaker 1:

Is there anything scarier than all the awful stories we tell ourselves? We're so damn good at devising the most frightening tales, yet most of us have no desire to be to be Stephen King, channeling our darkest thoughts into bestselling horror novels. Instead, we do our best to bury our paranoid thoughts in the boneyard of our psyche and desperately try to become fearless an impossible task that goes against our very own DNA. Isn't that true? Because we create these stories, and I'm creating these stories about oh my gosh, what? What if this happens? What are we going to do now, versus just living in the present and waiting for the results? And then, once the results come back, we can go ahead and deal with it. But right away I'm going into, you know, the worst case scenarios. So I want to talk about here.

Speaker 1:

Family caregivers often face multiple challenges and some of their greatest fears can include many things, and I want to talk about the greatest fears that caregivers usually have, and then I also want to talk about maybe even extra fears that we that I have thought about. But some of the greatest fears that caregivers have is the feeling of inadequacy. Caregivers often feel they are not doing enough or providing the best possible care. They might worry about not being equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to handle the complexity, so we fear not being good enough. We also may fear we're making mistakes. I felt this way with my mom. The responsibility of someone else's well-being can be very overwhelming and leading to the fear of making critical mistakes that could negatively impact their love, their health and quality of life. Or the one that I have right now is the fear of the unknown.

Speaker 1:

Dealing with a loved one's illness and condition can be unpredictable, and caregivers often feel the uncertainty associated with the progression of the illness, the potential complications or the effectiveness of the treatment. And, like Chris Carr said in her book, yeah, you start going ahead and dreaming the worst case scenario when 99% of the time it's not going to be true. We also fear the elongation or the emotional and physical exhaustion of caregiving. I had a pity party last week feeling like I've been doing this six and a half years and this is what my mind was telling me. I don't know how much longer I can do this. And reality is we have that fear of emotional and physical exhaustion because emotionally and physically it's demanding, it leads to the fear of burning out and not being able to sustain the level of care needed over an extended period of time. I have an attitude right now where going into a doctor's office or a hospital with a loved one is torture and I have to get over that because I have been in that seat so many times and I don't like to do it anymore. I don't want to do it. I want to quit caregiving and I can't, and I know you and I do that. So, yeah, we have that fear of burning out or we know that it burns us out.

Speaker 1:

What about the fear of financial instability? You may be feeling that the costs associated with caregiving for your loved one or for yourself Because if it includes, like for your loved one, medical expenses, specialized care, potential loss of income for yourself, for your loved one, reduced working hours can lead to the fear of financial instability and even bankruptcy. In my mind I am going through OK, where's he at with his deductible? Does he have short-term disability? Does he have long-term disability? You know what? Do I have to give up now? All of these things? Or we may have fear of neglecting our personal life and our relationships. We may want to be with our real life and now we have that fear that will consume our entire life, leaving little time for self-care, personal interests, nurturing our outside relationships or family members or friends. Yeah, I have fear of having to go back for a stem cell transplant again and not being home for weeks and months on end because the next phase I'm just going to be blunt on it with you he could not go through the stem cell transplant and he went through before with his own stem cells. He would have to get the donor, which could mean up to 90 days away from home, and I have the fear of having to do that again. I'm just gonna be blunt, not honest. Did you know you were gonna be my therapist today?

Speaker 1:

Or the fear of your loved one declining. Witnessing the gradual decline of your loved one's health can be emotionally distressing for you, leading to the fear of losing them or being unable to provide the necessary care of their condition. We deal with that with our elderly parents, or the fear of being socially isolated. The demanding nature of caregiving can often lead to social isolation challenging. We may find challenging to maintain our social connections, engaging activities and being locked up. The pandemic was bad enough, but caregiving is like the pandemic on steroids, in my opinion. So acknowledging and addressing these fears can be crucial to ensuring that you and I, as caregivers, receive the necessary support resources to manage caregiving effectively. It's important for caregivers to really think about their self-care and help and seek help where they need to, to prevent these fears from being or consuming and overcoming us. So one of the biggest mistakes I see caregivers make is they turn their fear into stress, or they turn their fear into anxiety and letting it consume them, and so I'm gonna go back to Chris Carr's book and I'm gonna go to page 46, and just read her thoughts on the difference between fear and anxiety. There are some really good stuff here that I think will be valuable for you.

Speaker 1:

People often confuse fear and anxiety because they can feel the same way in our bodies. Our heart is pounding, sweaty palms, racing thoughts, and while they're both designed to keep us safe, they're actually different. Fear is automatic. It's designed to protect us from the tangible and immediate threats. It signals a clear and present danger, prompting us to take instant action. For example, like you see the tiger, you run to survive. Right, and that's what you do. Though we can be afraid of something from the past or the future let like getting into a car accident again or losing another job more often than not we confuse this fear with anxiety. In fact, many of us who identify as being fearful fearful are probably more anxious than we fully understand. That was certainly the case for Chris Carr when she wrote it in the book and she started talking about it.

Speaker 1:

Anxiety is nervousness, unease and worry over things that may or may not happen in the future. Here's where I think many of us, as caregivers, are. It's the anticipation of the threat rather than the threat itself. It's the feeling of dread that comes over us when we think about a potential hazard, especially when we turn it over and over again in our minds. Chris had some things like if you speak up to your brother like I know I must he's going to go ahead and be mad, or he's going to go ahead and argue with you. Or if you don't get on the flight out, away from the hurricane or before the hurricane hits, I'm going to get stuck in the weather channel hell. So again, those are kind of some things that you might think. If I quit my fancy job or my unsatisfying job, I'll never find anything else and wind up broken hungry. So those might be some things. Now, if you think about it, if I don't, or if my loved one doesn't go ahead and take care of himself and he doesn't eat right, he's going to end up with diabetes, and you might be thinking about that. Or if we don't go ahead and ask the doctor about this, or if he doesn't go ahead and get his daily checks, he could get his cancer back. Whatever, you need to think about what that is.

Speaker 1:

It's fierce job to identify a threat and quickly take action. Anxiety's job is to run worst case scenario and gauge what happens or gauge what could happen, in order to come up with a plan and protect ourself. Anxiety keeps us vigilant so we can pay attention, strategize and stay on top of things. Remember, all of our emotion serves as a purpose. We can thank fear for helping us swerve out of the way of an oncoming car or jump when we see a slithering snake toward us. Fear makes us call 911 when we see our house on fire. We can applaud anxiety for forcing us to finally get that persistent pain checked. Anxiety alerts us to choose another street to walk down late at night. It tells us to yell, not friendly, to like a dog approaching like a dog on a leash, and the owner has the dog on a leash and they're coming your way.

Speaker 1:

Anxiety can be beneficial beyond saving us from doom and gloom scenarios. In healthy doses it can make us more productive, foster good nature, competition and inspire us to be our best. Most importantly, anxiety reminds us to wear pants, especially in public. I love her thoughts. I mean, do you have dreams about things that could happen to you that totally aren't true? Yeah, but anxiety can also be sneaky. It manifests into many unhealthy ways. For example, there are two common forms that many of us can recognize. We hustle harder to get things done and feel like we're in control. Number two we get frozen and overwhelmed, so we do nothing and we avoid things and procrastinate. Both of these behaviors often lead to the same stellar result more anxiety, and it's a vicious circle. So both fear and anxiety naturally spring into high alert when our world plunges into a free fall and really I wanna just finish up her book here once and then get back into my thoughts.

Speaker 1:

Today, more than 40 million people suffer from full blowing anxiety disorders in the United States alone, and so, living in this state of heightened alert, stress and general emotional upheaval, we feel as if our alarms won't turn off. This damages our bodies by perpetrating a prolonged stress response that weakens our immune system, messes with our hormones, blows out our adrenals and impacts our resilience. None of us want that. And yet here we are. Oh, it is so good. Thank you, chris Carr, for those words.

Speaker 1:

So the big question for us in this podcast is how do you and I overcome or control our fear so it doesn't consume us? So, as I navigate this season now, I refer really to my journal that I have a tab in when I feel anxiety associated with fear. Yes, as I was actually having more fear and anxiety with my dad, with my mom, with Dennis's multiple I mean, I think it's going to be number six now Alerts when it comes to cancer and probably new diagnosis I created a tab in my journal that I have labeled my go to plan when my worry, my anxiety, my fear wants to take over my brain, wants to invade the anxiety and stress and overwhelm wants to invade the whole parts of my brain. So these are my hacks. I've experimented with that them and I keep adjusting them and they seem to work for me. And I want to encourage you to come up with your game plan, especially in your good days, so that when you have hard days, you open up to your words, your hacks, your quotes, a book that you read, whatever it will be, so that you can ground yourself again, and I think that's the best way. My little disclaimer is these are my hacks, this is my strategy. Yours may have to be customized. That's what we do with in the Empowerful Caregiver School that we're on the last week. If you want to get on that wait list for the upcoming class again on in January, go out to KathyLVancom forward, slash Empowerful and get on the wait list so that you can learn all of these little strategies and hacks that you can go ahead and do when you are not at your best. So here I'm going to look here once.

Speaker 1:

I have five of them in my go to tab in my book, and the first one I call it truths and lies and I go through these questions and saying what do you know right now Kathy and I physically talk about and think about? I know that Dennis has two areas of concern. I know that he has a good oncology team that's staying on top of it. I know that they moved fast because they detected it on Friday and they're already doing the biopsy on Wednesday. And then the next question is what is confirmed true? What is true right now? What is true? And I pretty much the same thing I said. What is true is we know it's either Hodgkins or non-Hodgkins. We know if it's non-Hodgkins, probably very treatable. They're thinking maybe a chemo pill, maybe a short stint of chemotherapy to shrink those and get those lymph nodes back into order and he can go ahead and move on with his life. The truth is, if it's Hodgkins, then we have a transplant team, another specialty team in Milwaukee. That's all I know right now. So I can't go ahead and teeter with one side or the other.

Speaker 1:

Then I talk about it underneath truths and lies. Where are my thoughts or where are your thoughts going? That might not even be true. And I go through all of my untruths. I go through them all. Why am I thinking about being away for three months and worried about timing and thinking about what if he can't work again All of these stupid things that I'm thinking about, and so this helps me. If I'm in a crisis mode, I write these down. And then the other truth is education and information. Learn as much as you can about your loved one's condition. My husband called me today and he said the doctor's notes are all in my file now so you can go out and read all of the findings and understand everything, and so understanding what to expect can alleviate some of the fear of the unknown and provide a sense of control. So what are the truths and the lies? That's what I have to do first, because if I don't do that, I go into this spiral of Googling and researching and thinking of the worst case scenario, because your brain wants to protect you, but it sucks all of the living energy out of you, all of the living energy out of me especially.

Speaker 1:

Number two is and I did this already number two is call your support team. Do you have a group of people or do you have a friend? Do you have contact people that you can call? And I call this those people that will listen and talk you off the ledge of your emotional mess. That's what I call it, those people that you can call to go ahead and saying they may have to go back through the truths and lies. They may have to saying this is all you know, cathy, why are you going this far? Or let's talk it out. Let's talk it out, you'll make you feel better.

Speaker 1:

So shout out to Amy and Naomi, who are my business accountability people, because I reached out to them and they both provided me with support. Amy called me and said okay, where are you at? Dennis is strong, you're strong. Think about it. You've done this so many times, cathy, so don't let those negative thoughts get you. You know that kind of thing. My girlfriend, julie, that I bowl with on Wednesday nights. I reached out to her, so you know she's like you. Stop worrying about the things you can't control and remember you have a team behind you. So why are you obsessing over the what ifs when you won't have to worry about a lot of the what ifs? I also have my siblings and my siblings to talk to. I FaceTime my sister, connie talked to her about it, you know, and just she just listened, which was really, really important. So the nutshell here seek support. Don't hesitate to reach out to support groups, online communities, your local care organizations. I'm a caregiver coach so you can do that. You can go into the podcast group the caregiver podcast group and tell us. There's a lot of caregivers out there that can go ahead and offer you support. You can go onto my Facebook page. You can message me. Connecting with others who are going through similar experiences can provide emotional and valuable insights, because your emotions it's okay to be angry, it's okay to be frustrated, it's a normal human emotion to have fear and worry but you don't want to let it move to the anxiety.

Speaker 1:

Piece. Number three is one of the pieces I've added over the last six months, and that is allow time to process. I know I need time to process after the initial shock and after the initial fear, but I can't let it sit long for myself, so I process it by getting for me. Processing it outside, like during a walk, during a playing in my garden, going for a drive that's the best time for me. Staying in a fetal position, staying in the house, doesn't do it for me. I have to get outside and get some fresh air, whatever it would be. And then I also have incorporated mindfulness practices like journaling, deep chest breathing, meditation, yoga, but just have mindfulness practices in place, kind of like when you're in a chronic situation, you take a deep breath, or when you're in a panic situation, you take deep breaths.

Speaker 1:

What I have on here is, kathy pay attention to your nerves, pay attention to what your body is doing and what your mind is doing. Your body and mind will alert you to anxiety and stress faster than you'll notice. For me, my stomach starts doing things digestion-wise. I have to find a bathroom, you might get a headache, you might start shaking, you might get anxious, you might be thinking and get distracted, and so pay attention to that. Allow yourself to go ahead and feel it, but then saying how can I reduce it? How can I not let it consume my body and my mind? I don't feel. For me, I don't feel like doing anything sometimes when it's really intense, but that's when I need to go ahead and do something. Okay, I found out the bad news. It's funny because my husband and I looked at each other and we talked for a while and then he had said I need to go outside and do something. I need to go rake the leaves with my headphones on and I said yeah, and right now I'm cleaning my grout in my kitchen. I have tiles. What a pain in the butt, but I got a lot of grout done just because I was trying to process things.

Speaker 1:

And the fourth strategy or hack for me, I have to ask myself are you Googling or researching the worst? And 99% of the time I am. I'm Googling or researching what happens when or his blood work. Is this? There's a good point to know and being informed, but I keep Googling it to go ahead and it becomes obsessive. For me. It's kind of like when you watch the horrific war happening in Israel and the Middle East or the Ukrainian war and you become obsessed with it and you continue to watch all of the bad stuff and you can't turn off the TV. Eventually it's going to affect you, so you have to turn it off. And so here's where I incorporate the turning it off practicing mindfulness, deep breathing, meditation, yoga, calling my accountability group. These techniques can promote a sense of calm and reality and improve your overall wellbeing. That's my red alert and I have this one in red.

Speaker 1:

And then the final one is talking to your loved one and have those feelings and the conversations about your feelings, because not only are you feeling this way, they're feeling this way. I know Dennis needs to time to process, but he also needs to know that I am okay and we've had those conversations. We both feel different things, but we both feel similar things, and when we both kind of go into our corners to process, that's our way, and then we come back together. Now it was different with my mom. My mom had to process with me and I had to then work through and talk about what I was feeling with her. She wanted to talk immediately, which was a different dynamic. So you wanna figure out what that dynamic is and talk through that and really have open conversation.

Speaker 1:

Talk to your loved one about their wishes and preferences during their care. Open and honest communication can help alleviate the fears about making the wrong decisions, about your financial situation, ensuring their needs and desires are met, telling them how you process, why you're being quiet while you're asking questions, while you have anxiety, whatever it would be. And so these are my five go-to hacks that I have tab that help me. By implementing your strategies, caregivers like you and I can better manage our fears and enhance our overall wellbeing, enabling them to provide the best possible care, or enabling you to provide the best possible care for your loved one, and so I encourage you to go ahead and think about, okay, being proactive. I felt this way this time. What can I do the next time we get bad news, or next time we have to go in for that checkup, or the next time my parent or my loved one gets obsessively angry at me or irrational with me? And I need to have a strategy in place. What can I use from a strategy? And being able to be proactive means that you're unpowerful and that's a word that I created myself but an unpowerful caregiver that is trying to go ahead and keep control and live a healthier life for herself and for her loved one.

Speaker 1:

I love this quote. It's a Japanese proverb. It says fear is only as deep as the mind allows it. And when we are thinking about our fears, what can we do to help? And so I'm gonna go back to Chris Carr's book again and conclude with something on page 58. And then we will conclude today, but didn't have that one tab.

Speaker 1:

Very well, so okay, and yeah, she talks about emotional bravery, which I love. It takes a lot of emotional bravery to walk the path. My friend, and I think about it from a caregiving perspective, and though it may not feel like it now, this work will pay off in ways you can't imagine. With that in mind, try to become more aware of the moments when you feel scared and anxious. If you're like me, that might be once or twice a month. Instead of allowing those feelings to fester and spread, give yourself care, the care that you deserve. And when the going gets tough in ornery she says just keep tapping into your emotional bravery, your willingness to look at what's going on with courage, curiosity and compassion, and I'm gonna end, end in powerful.

Speaker 1:

So, my friend, I hope you found this helpful. I hope this key takeaway of creating a go-to tab in your journal or in wherever you have it, will help you, because when you can go ahead and get in front of your fears, your phobias, your worries, whatever it would be, you can live a better life as a caregiver. So you take care, have a good rest of the week and don't forget. Let me know what your fear is and, as always, if you found this helpful, I would love to hear about it. Whether you wanna give me a rating or review that would help tremendously. Or drop me a message on Instagram at KathyLynneVan and that's always with a C or go ahead and email me at KathyLVancom. Until we meet next week, have a good rest of the week. Bye for now, my friend.

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