The Caregiver Cup Podcast

Celebrating 200 Episodes: Unveiling the Strength Inside Every Caregiver's Story

February 13, 2024 Cathy VandenHeuvel Episode 200
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
Celebrating 200 Episodes: Unveiling the Strength Inside Every Caregiver's Story
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
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Celebrate with us as we uncork the bubbly for the 200th episode of the Caregiver Cup podcast, a journey that's transformed from the humble beginnings of the Caregiver Wife to a haven for all sorts of caregiving champions. We're tackling the role of 'CEO' of our caregiving situations, armed with strategies for juggling the complexities of care without losing ourselves in the process. In today's heartfelt reflection, I'll share the catalyst behind our podcast's name and how we've grown into a spotlight of support and guidance for you, our precious community. Together, we'll marvel at the audacity of a listener who, at 64, reminds us that it's never too late to pluck the strings of a new passion, like those of a cello.

As your fellow traveler on this intricate caregiving path, I'll take you through the landscapes of stress and guilt often encountered along the way. We're not just identifying these challenges; we're equipping ourselves with a toolkit of solutions to navigate them. From examining the roots of caregiver burnout to offering practical advice for when the weight of decision-making feels unbearable, today's episode is a treasure trove of solidarity and strategy. Your stories and reviews illuminate the way, and as I talk through Sarah and Kaylee's great questions that surely help all caregivers.

As we glance back at the road traveled and eagerly anticipate what's ahead, episode 201 beckons us with the promise of more growth, more connection, and more victories to celebrate. From coping strategies to heartwarming triumphs, each step on this journey reinforces that we are not just caregivers; we are the heart and soul that keep the world turning for those we love.

If you have a comment, question, feedback or request, please go to https://www.fanlist.com/cathylynnvan.  

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Speaker 1:

Well, welcome my friend, to a special episode of the Caregiver Cup podcast today. Guess what it's? Episode 200 of the Caregiver Cup podcast. Yeah, I started this podcast back on October 20th 2020, or October 10, 2020, I think it was. I started it as the Caregiver Wife podcast and really my goal was to help other wives that were going through similar situations maneuver through this caregiving journey and see the importance of putting themselves first. But in less than three months, I realized that I wanted to broaden that spectrum, because caregiving is just not a wife thing. It's a daughter, granddaughter, you're caregiving for a neighbor, a child, special needs and so on.

Speaker 1:

And as the years grew by, I realized that it was more than just filling your cup However, I'm leaving the cup name on it. It's more about feeling and realizing that you have to be the person that is empowered to take on all of the moving pieces of a caregiver. You're kind of like the boss or CEO or project manager and really being able to go ahead and figure out how you're going to do this and do it by showing up as your best self and looking for strategies and techniques and hacks to make this life a little bit easier. It just was amazing. I had something to share and I've learned so much as a caregiver. I felt like I couldn't just put it in my back pocket or forget about it. I had to go ahead and share and try to make this life a little bit easier. And I'm going to talk about this at the end a little bit today, because I'm going to share a little bit about some of the things, some of my rankings from a podcast perspective. I'm going to share some of the emails and reviews I've received, but I'm also going to talk about some of the questions and conversations that I've had with other caregivers. I'm going to share the two most common questions that I get. I'm going to share those, but at the end I'm going to talk about, too, that caregiving is kind of this expected thing that women should do but it's not shared enough about how hard it is and how taxing it is on your body and your mind and your relationships and all of that kind of stuff. It's just an assumed thing and we need to change this I don't know if the word is stigma or this whole culture around caregiving to let people know that we caregivers make sacrifices but we also make decisions and try to figure out what's best for everybody involved, because most caregivers, like you and I, don't want to go ahead and sacrifice our health and our well-being and our relationships. We want to be able to go ahead and figure out how to do this together, just like a working mom or a mom does, or a I don't know like a boss of a CEO of a company. We also have lives as well and passions and goals. We'll kind of get into that later, but I just wanted to talk about that too.

Speaker 1:

Some accolades or some celebrations from the podcast that I'd like to go ahead and toot my own horn if I can, and it feels really uncomfortable to toot my own horn, but I'm going to. There's a company called FeedSpot, f-e-e-d and then that's a spot after and the F and the S are capitalized. I was ranked as one of the 80 best caregiver podcasts according to FeedSpot and in that 80 ranking I'm ranked number 34. I like to celebrate that because I don't do any paid advertising. I don't go ahead and do any special promotions. All I've done is grassroots speaking on this microphone, posting on my Instagram and Facebook account and just getting out there. Like I said before, there's not enough information about podcasting and so you can go to FeedSpot and type in caregiver and you can catch other podcast episodes, if that would help you as well. Also, I was ranked in the caregiver podcast, ranked in the top 10% most popular shows globally according to listen score. There is not a category called caregiving in Apple, spotify or any of the popular apps out there. You either have to fall underneath business, education, nonprofit those are some of the basic categories. It's hard to go ahead. I was talking to my husband last night. It's hard to go ahead and get any ranking from like an Apple or a Spotify unless you have tons and tons of downloads. So I was really happy to see that out of 3.14 million, I was in the top 10% according to listen score and so I just keep chugging along and sharing and when you share my podcast, when you click follow or subscribe, when you give a review, it gets me a little bit more exposure and I'm not doing it for my ego, I'm doing it to get in front of other caregivers.

Speaker 1:

Now, in these 200 episodes I did 182 by myself. I call them solo podcast episodes for really, where I shared my knowledge, my information, my experience and, to be honest with you, I was going to do all of them solo, but I found really and you're going to hear more and more interviews I'm going to try to limit it to like one a month, but I think once they become more popular, more people are asking me to be on my podcast and I would love to go ahead and do that. However, I am really strict about who comes on the podcast episodes, because I don't want anybody promoting anything. I don't want anybody that is not talking about the importance of taking care of yourself and managing this world and really focusing on that. So I really kind of keep a and I have a really stringent what is it called a stringent questionnaire process to go ahead in an interview process that I follow. But some of the people that I had of those 18, my very first interview was with my spouse. That was so bizarre and so it was actually one of my hardest episodes because I know him too well. I had my sister-in-law, jody, who is who took care of my brother from a military spousal perspective.

Speaker 1:

I've had authors and I know I'm going to forget some. I had TJ Condon, who wrote a book, debbie and oh gosh, why can't I think of the other person? But I've had authors. I've had health professionals, some of the the shea was one of them talking about the drug prescription process. I've had activists on here that I interviewed. I've had working women on their careers on here Amanda who was taking care of a special needs daughter, and she's also was a a physician's assistant. I've had Tracy last week who was a VP and working from a dual caregiving perspective. So I've had many, many guests on there. I've had an oncology nurse and so on.

Speaker 1:

I should have probably listed them all out, but if you're listening and I didn't recognize, you know that it's just Kathy's brain that's forgetting them. They were all so special and so impactful over the over the episodes that you have out there to listen to. I also want to thank you for going ahead and hitting that subscriber, that follow button, depending on what the app says, and there were a few that sent our published reviews. There were many emails that I've received and connections that I've made and I want to tell you if you haven't connected with me ever or in a while. I love hearing from you, because there is not a way to measure podcast episodes except for the download button or reviews. There's not another way unless I go ahead and promote those out on a social media site or I send an email out and get a response.

Speaker 1:

I love hearing your caregiver story. I love hearing your journey. It warms my heart when I hear your challenges, your wins and, most importantly, your determination and your courage to go ahead and share with me. This world can be so lonely and so hard, but when we are a community together, it just lifts me up, and I'm gonna do a better job in the future of sharing these on the podcast episode. Obviously, I'll ask your permission. I'll ask if I can share your name or I can go ahead and anonymously share it. Obviously, I know how important privacy is to us as caregivers, especially when we're going through challenging times. But a couple of the most recent reviews that I got out there I went out there and it's from ELFQuest24.

Speaker 1:

And what this person said was what she talks about are not only valid, but such great affirmations that, as a caregiver, you need time to yourself. I made sure dad was never alone, but had my time to de-stress with my part-time job as the patient. I needed a break from my caregiver and he gave it to me, and so that gives me hope that you're trying things, you're experimenting things. Sometimes you can't get away, but if you get creative enough you can try to figure out somehow or some way to de-stress. And it sounds like her dad was even involved in it as well. Also, thank you to I don't know. It says COSD user, and so she had I'm assuming it's. She said array of sunshine, a life preserver and a lot of heart. Thank you. That just kind of makes me uncomfortable, but I'm gonna take it as a compliment and it truly is. Thank you for taking the time. This person wrote.

Speaker 1:

I'm just about a year into my caregiving for my spouse in hospice and I've joined support groups plus looked for podcasts on this issue. Kathy is definitely the best podcast on the topic very well thought out, realistic, compassionate and deep. I feel emotion in her voice sometimes and, no, she has much experience in this area. I have found this podcast so helpful and so appreciate her thoughts and insights. So thank you for taking the time to go ahead and do that. It's kind of like you're giving me that extra energy pill to keep going on and doing that.

Speaker 1:

I also get emails, and the following emails I'm gonna keep confidential based on what they had asked me to do. But it said hi, kathy, I'm so very glad I found your podcast very helpful. My circumstances are very unusual. While I feel bullied in this role, my sisters are demanding and I take on this responsibility I feel angry and frustrated with this man. I feel hopeless and I'm sending you a hug. I like to not to hear the sadness, but I like to hear what the reality is Sometimes, and it is hard out there. It is hard to go ahead and do the thankless job of caregiving sometimes and I'm glad you found the podcast very helpful and I hope you're finding solutions. I just had to drink a cup of water here a minute. The other one, the email that I got.

Speaker 1:

I hear about many of you with transformations and I love this one. She said I started cello lessons. I'm loving it. I played clarinet and piano as a child but started cello at the age of 64. It feels amazing to do something that brings me joy. I had my first concert with my students in a few days, or I have my first concert with students in a few days. I'm a teacher and learning alongside my third graders, and this one came after I talked about trying to pursue your passions and goals without the guilt and being able to do something that you wake up and feel joy on, and so that was amazing. And to be able to pick up and learn cello oh my gosh. Musically I am not inclined and I'm so jealous of you.

Speaker 1:

The last one I now realize where I am in my journey and can now see where I want to go to find joy and peace as a caregiver. Thank you for helping me personalize my plan. That is simple. My two wins are planning out my week and getting up early 30 minutes or earlier, 30 minutes earlier and so I'm hoping this just gives you some incentive to try things and do things. So, if you like what you hear, know that I love taking these in and going ahead and reading your reviews and sharing theirs. Here's to more milestones ahead. I have no desire to quit. I love being behind this mic. I love helping you through my dips and my valleys. Someday I hope that I can continue to do this and not be a caregiver, but it doesn't look like it right now.

Speaker 1:

So you can also stay connected with me by going out to our online Facebook group, and it's the Caregiver Cup Podcast online Facebook group. I mostly post the week's lessons out there or the week's podcast episodes not lessons out there, but on occasion I'll post something more. On occasion other people will post questions out there. It is a private group but it's still public, so you can join it and others can still see it, but you can request to join it and be out there as well. Again, reviews when you share it with others, like I said, it helps me and just like others share those.

Speaker 1:

I also have a place where you can actually submit your questions, give me your feedback or just have a topic request that you want to go ahead and have me do. As a matter of fact, I have two of them in my inbox where people have asked me to do a podcast episode on them. I love you when you do that, because sometimes I sit there and think, hmm, what should I do next, and I map out enough for a few weeks ahead. But I still collect them as I go. So you can go out to fanlistcom forward slash Kathy Lynn Van and I'll have that in the podcast notes if you ever want to do it. And what's nice about this place called fanlistcom forward slash Kathy Lynn Van is you can submit your questions by typing them in or you can go ahead and use your phone and just record an audio of it and just go ahead and talk to me about it. So, since we're talking about this, I have two submissions, two questions that were submitted that I want to share on the podcast. These two gals asked me not to share their voices, but in the future I would love to have your voice on here and I'll ask you that as well.

Speaker 1:

The first submission is from Sarah. She said and this is what she had wrote here she said I'm struggling and I don't know if I can do this anymore. I hear others doing this caregiving job for 10 plus years and I feel guilty for saying this, since I've only been doing it for three years. I don't feel like I will ever be the same again. I know I'm in burnout and don't show up the way I used to be. I snap at my family, I snap at my mom, I look in the mirror and don't like the way I look. I need help and your advice.

Speaker 1:

First of all, thank you, sarah. I'm glad you sent in this message, since I know others feel the same way. I know others are struggling. I know others are feeling guilty. I know others are having emotions where they might snap or not be themselves. So first of all, sarah, I wanna tell you you are not alone caregiver. Stress and burnout are a reality of this job or this role that we in, and I want to applaud you for you, for recognizing it, taking the courage to go ahead and submit this Now. We need to get you to see what it is doing to you personally physically, emotionally, socially and more. I think you see it because you said I looked in the mirror and so I think you see it, and I think you're recognizing some of your actions, such as snapping at your family and your mom.

Speaker 1:

But I want to take a step back and let's talk about how you said it or how you wrote it. I want to pay attention to your words and your thoughts. You said I'm struggling and I don't know if I can do this anymore. You said I feel guilty. You said I'm in burnout and I want to challenge you. The next time you want to think this way, I want you to say it differently.

Speaker 1:

I want you to include things like why do I feel guilty? Why don't I know if I can do this anymore? Why am I struggling? Because when you ask these and you try to figure out why and or how am I snapping? And you're trying to figure out what the cause is. You get to the house, you get to look deeper and then I want to you would even think further.

Speaker 1:

What is struggling? What does stress look like? What does burnout look like? Why am I struggling? Why am I, you know, on my phone, you know, scrolling instead of doing something about it? Why am I sleeping too much? Whatever it would be, you want to ask and get deeper. When you start asking how you start working on your mindset, why am I struggling? And you're gonna start getting deeper. So let's say why am I struggling?

Speaker 1:

You realize you have too much on your plate. Maybe that's one of your responses. If you were here, I would ask you why are you struggling? Is it because you haven't had sleep in the last few days? Is it because you haven't sat down and had a good meal in three days? You're just eating on the run and you're eating junk food. Whatever it would be, because, once you realize what the issue is, let's say you said I have too much on my plate. It's not humanly possible to do everything that I'm doing, and I'm struggling because I'm making mistakes. I'm making mistakes on giving the wrong medications to my my parents, or I'm missing paying bills, I'm forgetting things.

Speaker 1:

Then you need to find strategies to go ahead and figure out how you can go ahead and make things better for you, or, and or help. Where can I get the help? Use the statement in order. In order to do this I need, so why am I struggling? Then say, in order to do this, I need and I want you to think about all the things that you need. I need a good night's sleep. I need one day off a week so that I can go ahead and keep up with my own household like the laundry and meal prepping and going to my kids, sporting events that now I can't go to any of them and I just I'm so distraught, whatever it would be. I need that.

Speaker 1:

And then you need to train your brain. You need to train your brain and think about what would it look like if I incorporated a day off, if I got a good night's sleep? How would I show up? And then, the hardest piece of all is you need to believe it's possible. Marie Forleo has a book and she's an entrepreneur and a business person, but I use her title of her book all the time Everything is figureoutable. Everything is figureoutable.

Speaker 1:

If you're saying there's nobody there to help, well then I'm gonna challenge you to say is there nobody to help? And if there's nobody to help, is there. Is there a service that you can use? Maybe it's a paid service, or maybe it's a non-profit, self-funded program that you don't have to financially be strapped for? Or is there automation that you can take advantage of If you're? If you're going ahead and grocery shopping once a week, that's an hour Can you go ahead and reduce that by 30 minutes by ordering it and picking it up? I don't know. I'm trying to think of ways.

Speaker 1:

One of my clients couldn't think of ways until we got her to think deeper and she started utilizing the grandchildren. The grandchildren needed service hours. They needed service hours when they're in high school and so, instead of them going ahead and looking for service hours, they went ahead and my client went ahead and said what about you using some of your service hours and you coming and sitting with grandpa, or you taking, or I go ahead and you help grandma, and they could do anything, from thinking about it, from doing household chores to laundry, to going and picking up the pharmacy prescriptions to going ahead and playing cards with grandpa while you went ahead and did your errands or went for a walk or took a nap, whatever it would be, and she got her grandchildren involved and it was like a triple blessing she got time back, her loved one, her dad got to spend time with somebody and they got to know their grandchild, and then the grandchildren got to go ahead and be there and got their service hours and actually enjoyed it. You can look for help by asking and investigating your local government, local services, asking your doctor, determining maybe your loved one is military or your health insurance company, whatever it would be. You can go ahead and do that so that you can get some time back. Or maybe it's like a friend that comes over or calls you once a week and that's your escape or that's your way to go ahead and do it. So many people saying just let me know if you need anything. And if it's one of your friends saying you know what I need a cup of coffee, and if you wouldn't mind, when you have, when you have a little bit of time, pick up a cup of coffee, call me and see if I'm at sitting with my loved one and come on over and bring a cup of coffee, as I'm drinking my cup of coffee. So hopefully, sarah, these help. What I want to tell you is you deserve to show up, sarah, as your best self. It will take time.

Speaker 1:

You can't flip the switch and magic happens, but just keeping, just keeping. You keep taking small steps. Maybe you go for a walk three days a week and that's what you want and you ask a friend or a neighbor or a family member to help with mom. Or you commit to eating a healthy breakfast each morning so you have the fuel to make it through the day and you're not crashing mid-morning, or you do meal prepping, whatever it would be. You have to think about what your, your trigger or stressor is, and then you start looking for solutions. It starts with really writing them all down, writing all of those triggers or those stressors or those threats or those risks whatever you want to call them and then using those statements I talked about In order to do this, I need and then you put it in there and it would look like whatever it would be. So, in order to do this, I need to go to the gym. I just need that, and that is my yoga class. I love my friends at yoga class and it would look like, you know, having somebody there in the morning two days a week from this time to this time, and then I have to believe it's possible and I can figure it out and then appreciate the rewards. So I hope this helps. Sarah, please stay in touch and let me know how you're doing.

Speaker 1:

Okay, let's go to another question. I have one more question here, and this one's from Kaylee. She said, after six months of going all in with dual caregiving with both of my parents, I've taken a step back to reassess my situation. I took time off to care for my dad when he broke his hip and my mom, who has dementia. I have siblings, but they don't live in the same town, so I felt I was the best solution. But once I realized I was doing it all and I took leave for my career and left my family more or less, I knew it wasn't going to be sustainable for me. It was so hard to admit that I couldn't sustain this anymore. I feel guilty and still feel guilty with my situation and my decision. How do I let go of my guilt? How many of you feel guilt, kaylee. This is such a good question. So thank you for the question. I wish I knew more in between the situation, but I wanna personally say kudos to you for realizing it and also coming to a better decision for you, and I can certainly address my thoughts and feedback on the guilt here.

Speaker 1:

First, you need to hear that you should be proud of yourself for recognizing that you couldn't sustain what you are doing. Caring for one loved one is hard, but two is even harder. I'm assuming they're in the same household or in the same place. You use the family leave option, which was probably a good option for you, which I feel can be a great benefit for help for a loved one, but it only lasts so long. And if you are passionate and you need the financial security or you need the career advancement or the passion, I can see how after six months, you wanna go back, just like a mom. Think about a mom. We realize that taking care of our kiddos is important and they are priority, but we also have other passions, responsibilities, priorities, on and on, and so eventually, after that newborn grows a little bit, we realize that we have to have more to this life than just staying 24, seven and same with us when we're caring for our loved one.

Speaker 1:

Caregiving guilt let's talk about this also results from unrealistic expectations for ourself, and you probably realize that, kaylee. You want to be the perfect caregiver for your loved one and provide them with the highest quality of care, but at what cost? But your care is just as important for yourself. You are the primary caregiver for your parents, I'm assuming, and if you are not well, you can't show up as your best self and, more importantly, if you get sick, you won't be there for them. I've shared this in other podcast episodes. When I got sick with COVID and hospitalized for four days, I was scared that could my brother take over and be the primary caregiver. I didn't know that. So, yeah, definitely so, but your care, like I said, is important. I want to say the same thing I said to Sarah. It's retraining your brain and shifting your mindset that you are doing the best possible thing for your loved one.

Speaker 1:

You made that hard decision and first it's normal to feel guilt. Second, though, you ask to ask yourself why do I feel guilty? And you have to get to that root cause. What is the reason for your guilt? And narrow it down and figure out what that reason is for the guilt so that you can start coping with it. You can't be with your parents 24 seven. You need to work and you have to tell yourself why you're working. If it's passion, financial, both, whatever it's normal to feel you're missing something. But figure out a solution to stay connected without impacting your wellbeing with your loved one.

Speaker 1:

When I made the decision to go ahead and not go to my mom's house every single day to take care of her, I started using FaceTime. It was hilarious because my mom would have FaceTiming the ceiling and eventually she got it, but it was just our inside joke. I also had to go and do stem cell. I had to go and be with my husband for six weeks during a stem cell transplant, which means that I was doing dual caregiving with my mom from another location and I had to go ahead and figure out how could I go ahead and care for my mom and my husband when I had to stay with my husband and I felt guilty. But I had to figure out. That was my guilt and I had to figure out how to overcome it. Now I don't know your situation If there's a gap in care that you are concerned about, then you have to address the gap in care and that should help with the guilt.

Speaker 1:

And if you had to make a hard decision, for example, and have them move into a facility and you feel guilty about that, or you had to bring in help in their home, you need to focus in on the positive pieces. You need to focus in on the benefits of having the help and whether it be safety or you're grateful for the others helping, or you get to go ahead and have quality time, versus doing all of the manual tasks, whatever it would be, and so you have to go ahead and do that. I used to call Sunday fun day the time, the quality time that I spent with my mom, and she would always look forward to that, and we had to shift that, so that that was one way of me hoping with a guilt. Now look for ways to cope with the guilt. Let's talk about that.

Speaker 1:

Notice, I said cope and not overcome, because I think, just like raising kids or whatever it would be, we're gonna feel guilty. We're gonna feel guilty if we can't be there, if we're not doing it all, but we can cope with the guilt and not let it affect us. First of all, we have to acknowledge that we feel guilty. You care very deeply about your parents, but you have to care about yourself just as much and you have to look at the big picture. Although you may be stressed with a particular situation, I think you need to realize it's not gonna last forever. You have to look at the sacrifices you make for your loved one and realize that you are doing a great job. You spent six full months with them and now you're transitioning back into a new normal where you're still going to play an active role, but you're going to go ahead and not be there 24-7. I don't know your whole situation, but that's it.

Speaker 1:

Another thing to cope you have to accept that you're human and have flaws. If you make mistakes from time to time, you're human. Some of us may be good at physical aspects of caregiving, while others may be able to handle the emotional toll. Recognize your strengths and don't focus on the negative you know. Communicate with the people that are helping or look at what is working versus all of the negativity and, in what's not working, start looking for what can we do differently. And another way to cope is the time that you need for yourself. It's easier said than done, I know, but even if it's just an hour or two a week, you go out and have coffee with a friend or catch a movie or attend a caregiver support group or a book club or whatever it would be, or you want to curl up and read your own book. Take time out and fuel your own self, because when you show up better as yourself, you're physically and emotionally in a better state.

Speaker 1:

Another one is know that you're making the best decision for you and your loved one at the time. I know I mentioned that, but I wanted to bring it up again. This can be hard to accept, especially if you made a promise to your loved one in the past that you would take care of them no matter what, which I did. But things change and if they're able to hear the conversation, understand the conversation, then explain because change has happened and we didn't expect this to happen, and so this is the best possible situation, because if you can't physically give your parent a shower or your loved one a shower or a bath because you don't have the physical strength, well then there's a safety issue and you would love to keep doing it, but you can't. So know what your best decisions are. Your best decision in that situation is to hire in somebody that's trained and knows how to do it.

Speaker 1:

Another one is deal with unresolved issues and accept them for what they are. Many times we may be taking care of someone who we resent, or for many reasons. You can choose to try and resolve those feelings from the past and allow yourself to care for them care for the person fairly or you can choose to allow someone else to care for them, and you have to go ahead and do that. You may need to talk to somebody professionally if you're having issues with anger and resentment over that person or over that situation. And the last one is reach out for support from family and friends. Seek a caregiver, support group or professional help with your feelings of guilt. If they are fogging or taking over your thoughts and your feelings, if they are affecting your health and your well-being, then it's time for you to talk about that with a professional, because you your overall goal is you want to show up as your best self. Kaylee, I so appreciate you reaching out and asking your question today.

Speaker 1:

I also have two really good podcast episodes on Guilt that you can listen to. That will get into more detail, and it just made me think that I put this on as another episode that I want to talk about in the future as well, because it's been a while since we've talked about it on the podcast. But episode 121, it's setting healthy internal boundaries without guilt, and episode 113, why are you so hard on yourself Are two really good episodes that I talk about guilt, and there's a quote that I love that is from Doreen Virtue, and she said guilt is powerful but useless, and it's a useless emotion. Instead of feeling guilty, focus on what you can do to make a positive difference. You know, if you've ever been a working mom or if you've ever had to, I traveled so much as a working mom and I felt so guilty not being there. And so you know what, instead of focusing on not being there, I planned quality time with my kids before I went away and traveled, or I had quality time with my husband, dennis, when I got home, or we did a lot of chatting on the phone and FaceTiming as well. Just one more thing I heard this topic in both Sarah's message and, between the lines, in Kaylee's message, and that is the comparison syndrome. I want you to stop comparing yourself. Sarah said I've only been doing it for three years and I know other people have been doing it for 10 years.

Speaker 1:

You know what each of our journeys are different. Our loved ones care and their conditions are different. Their diseases are different. Some of them are slowly progressing, some of them are fast, fastly progressing. Our well-being is personal as well. Our financial situations are different. Our wants and needs are a private decision that we make, and what I'm trying to get at is 10 years or three years. It doesn't define you differently. Caregiving is hard and each and every one of us needs to decide on our customizable, personalized plan, a plan that works best for us and best for our loved one. But what's similar is that we all want to show up as our best self. We all want to show up with energy, we want to show up with vibrant well-being and we want to go ahead and be empowered to go ahead and manage this caregiver life. So when we look back at it, we're proud of what we did or how we've accomplished it.

Speaker 1:

It's funny when I started this podcast way before publishing my first episode, I really thought it was just to help caregivers and remind them to go ahead and, you know, wake up in the morning 15 minutes early, or take a walk during appointments, or making sure you're drinking your water or eating right, and I thought it was going to be all about that, but it turned out to be way more than ever I thought it would be. It helps me each and every day improve myself. It helps me see how brilliantly, courageously, amazing you are as a caregiver. So if you want to ask a question, if you want to suggest a topic, if you want to just have a conversation, go to fanlistcom forward, slash Kathy Lynn van and I'll put the link in the show notes. Or email me at Kathy at Kathy L van dot com, and just keep them coming, because I think in the future state of the podcast episodes I'll probably do this. Maybe once every six weeks I'll pull up questions and we'll go through and do a different format. That way, this podcast is a venue for us to connect on the hard stuff, to listen to my topic shared in your earbuds, taking your shower, going for your walk, listening right before you go to bed, whatever it would be, and my hope is that you have another tool to implement or another thing to try or think about something so that you can figure out your caregiver life. That's my goal is to just keep you thinking and just letting you know you're not alone and it is figure out a bomb.

Speaker 1:

I don't think there's enough talk about caregivers. I don't think there's enough awareness of what caregiving can look like in today's world. I don't think there is, because there is no one size fits all. My hope is that you share your story. Maybe you heck, you start a platform, you start a blog, you start a book, you start a podcast or you want to come on and be interviewed on a podcast. Let me know, because eight out of 10 women will end up caring for their loved one in their midlife. Now, I didn't talk about all the other times in their life, but 80% of midlife women become a caregiver for their spouse, for their grandparent, for their their parent, for a neighbor. It could be a primary caregiver, it could be just helping out. So I just want to go ahead and encourage you to keep sharing your story and talking to people about the good, the bad and the ugly.

Speaker 1:

So to end here today, I wanted to end with a Bob Marley quote.

Speaker 1:

Quote I can't wait for his movie to come out Tomorrow on Valentine's Day. It is such a fun story about courage and speaking his voice and all of the other sassy stuff that he did. But he had some phenomenal quotes and one of them really hits home and it says caregiving is not for the faint of heart, but you will never know how strong you are until you be, until being strong is your only choice, isn't that true? You didn't know how courageous and strong you were until you became a caregiver and you look at oh my gosh, I am spinning all of these plates and I'm doing it all, but when you start going ahead and stepping and trying to figure out new strategies and start coordinating or start asking for help, you're taking it to another level and you're becoming stronger and you're becoming stronger. So you have a good rest of the day. I hope you enjoyed episode 200 and we'll be back next week and we'll start back in the single digits of 201. Talk to you soon. Bye for now.

Celebrating 200 Caregiver Cup Podcast Episodes
Caregiving Challenges and Support
Coping With Caregiver Stress and Burnout
Coping With Guilt as a Caregiver
Movie Release and Personal Growth