The Caregiver Cup Podcast

Repotting: Cultivating Change and Growth in Caregiving

April 30, 2024 Cathy VandenHeuvel Episode 211
Repotting: Cultivating Change and Growth in Caregiving
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
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The Caregiver Cup Podcast
Repotting: Cultivating Change and Growth in Caregiving
Apr 30, 2024 Episode 211
Cathy VandenHeuvel

Send Cathy a text:)

In this episode , we delve into the transformative concept of repotting and its profound relevance to the caregiving journey. Just as plants require repotting to facilitate growth and thrive, caregivers too must adapt, evolve, and create space for positive change. 

  • Join us as we explore five key aspects of repotting, from adapting to changing circumstances to cultivating resilience and adaptability. 
  • Discover how embracing change and intentional growth can empower caregivers to navigate the complexities of caregiving with grace and resilience. 
  • Tune in to learn practical strategies for nurturing personal well-being, exploring new paths, and fostering resilience in the face of challenges. 

With insights inspired by the wisdom of Hoda Kotb and real-life caregiver experiences, this episode offers inspiration and guidance for caregivers seeking to cultivate change, growth, and flourishing in their caregiving journey

Support the Show.

Thank you for listening. If you know of another caregiver who could benefit from this podcast, please copy and share this episode.

Follow me by clicking on the links below:

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send Cathy a text:)

In this episode , we delve into the transformative concept of repotting and its profound relevance to the caregiving journey. Just as plants require repotting to facilitate growth and thrive, caregivers too must adapt, evolve, and create space for positive change. 

  • Join us as we explore five key aspects of repotting, from adapting to changing circumstances to cultivating resilience and adaptability. 
  • Discover how embracing change and intentional growth can empower caregivers to navigate the complexities of caregiving with grace and resilience. 
  • Tune in to learn practical strategies for nurturing personal well-being, exploring new paths, and fostering resilience in the face of challenges. 

With insights inspired by the wisdom of Hoda Kotb and real-life caregiver experiences, this episode offers inspiration and guidance for caregivers seeking to cultivate change, growth, and flourishing in their caregiving journey

Support the Show.

Thank you for listening. If you know of another caregiver who could benefit from this podcast, please copy and share this episode.

Follow me by clicking on the links below:

Speaker 1:

Well, hello, my friend, and welcome to another episode of the Caregiver Cup podcast. I am really excited about today's topic and I hope you enjoy it. It's Kathy here. I'm going to start out by asking you this question Do you have someone that you could listen to forever Maybe it's on a podcast or on TV or whatever and that person who really this person really inspires you and motivates you and you wish you could be her when you grow up, or him when you grow up? This person I listen to on a daily podcast and on her weekly podcast interviews, and I can't wait each and every day. I know exactly when the podcast releases, I know what day of the week her weekly one releases, because she helps me see the good in everything and everyone. With her warm personality and big heart. There's just something about her that just lights me up, motivates me and wants me to be more like her. And who is this person? For me, it's Hoda Kotb. I've had a lot of people that I've listened to and I'm on this season of Hoda because I think that there's more room for me to self-grow and develop.

Speaker 1:

And Hoda, if you don't know, hoda is a beloved television personality. I think she's on NBC right now who is warm and genuine and compassionate. She has this infectious smile and laugh that, if you even I can hear it, hear her smile in the podcast. And she has this down-to-earth demeanor, like she could just come right up to you and talk to you. And she's such a good listener and speaker. Her resilience and positivity shine through, inspiring others to find joy in even the most challenging moments. And she's had some really challenging things If you Google her or look at anything about her. She's gone through a cancer, she's gone through an adoption with children and relationships, and so on. Offscreen, hoda has this philanthropic effort and genuine kindness towards others. It's just homegrown. That's what I'm trying to get at and she embodies the spirit of empathy and grace.

Speaker 1:

And I started listening to Hoda a couple years ago. I was so excited when the Hoda and Jenna show decided to go on a podcast. Excited when the Hoda and Jenna show decided to go on a podcast because I didn't have the time to go ahead and sit down and watch it. And then, when I did, I never got enough out of it because I was always multitasking or getting distracted or doing something else. And when I put them in my ear and her in my ear. I'm usually going for a walk or whatever, and I tend to take it in much more. As a matter of fact, she's been on my walk, she helped me clean, she's gardening, she's even been in my shower and I think you can relate. Where are you right now listening to my podcast? It's exactly. Podcasts are so convenient. Might be driving or whatever.

Speaker 1:

She also has her own weekly show called Making Space. Highly recommend that you look and listen to just one or two episodes of Making Space. She has tons of them to listen to because she's in her fifth season and she sits down with her hand-selected guests and she goes on this journey of self-discovery and learning where she wants to learn and get deeper with them. And each and every show I've listened to, I've taken away stuff to think about and chew on, because there's so much good in every interview and, oh my gosh, yeah, there's lots of different styles of guests, from famous sports stars to musicians, to politicians, to famous people, women, men. It's just really, really interesting.

Speaker 1:

This year in Making Space, or in this season of Making Space, she's focusing on the word repotting. I find this such a fascinating analogy and process and that's why I wanted to share this today. Let me just tell you what repotting is, first of all, in the eyes of Hoda, or in the mind of Hoda. She refers to the process of repotting as making changes in one's life, similar to how a plant is repotted to give it more growth and it can grow and thrive more. It involves assessing one's current situation, identifying areas for improvement or change and taking deliberate steps to cultivate a more fulfilling and meaningful life. Just as repotting a plant provides it with fresh soil and a space to spread its roots fresh soil and a space to spread its roots Repotting in life involves creating new opportunities, exploring new paths and embracing growth and transformation. It's about intentionally creating space for positive change and personal development.

Speaker 1:

In her interviews, she asked the guests. She shares the analogy and she asks the guests in this fifth season that she's doing. She asks each guest how are they repotting? How are they creating space for positive change and personal development? And it sometimes is really interesting and fascinating to see how they respond. Interesting and fascinating to see how they respond. So it got me thinking about you and I how are we repotting as caregivers? How are we creating space for positive change in our own personal growth and development.

Speaker 1:

So in today's episode, we're going to unpack this concept. This concept is highly relevant for you as a caregiver when it comes to navigating the complexities and demands of caregiving. I want to walk through what I call five aspects, or key aspects to consider when you are repotting, aspects to consider when you are repotting, and you know, I think you want to think about. First of all, before we get into these concepts of repotting, I want you to get into the thought that you can't be stagnant and just comfortable with what it is, because caregiving pushes you and our loved ones' unexpected changes happen, and so we have to think about this concept of continuously repotting. And so the first key concept is adapting to changing circumstances. And if you're not seeing me in person which you're not I'm rolling my eyes Because, as caregivers, we often find ourselves in constant change and constant changing circumstances, whether we want to or not, whether it's evolving needs of our loved one or shift in our own health and well-being, or changes in our caregiving responsibilities.

Speaker 1:

Think about the changes you've encountered as a caregiver. Oh my gosh, you could probably come up with, you know, three or four pages of brainstormings of all of the changes that you've encountered. If you think about it, what comes to mind for me and I talked a little bit about my mom's eyesight last week in last week's episode, but I'm going to elaborate on it a little bit more when my mom's eyesight started to fail and she had I don't know, it was some sort of floating eye disease that wasn't curable, but she could stop the floaters and the double vision, but she no longer could drive and the universe aligned with me, because she was resisting so much, she finally got into a car accident very, very minimal, minor car accident, but they took away her license. Minimal, minor car accident, but they took away her license. And so she needed a driver to anything that she went to. And this is a lady that loved her freedom and would go ahead and do her weekly visits to the dollar store and she would just go ahead and just go ahead and drive and do things. Well, she needed to get to her hair appointments, her chiropractic appointments, she needed grocery shopping. Like I said, she needed her weekly dollar store fix and much, much more, and so we had to go ahead as a sibling family, figuring out how we're going to go ahead and get mom to her appointments. For me. I was caregiving my spouse and my mom. I was working full time. You have the managing of your household and the everyday things as well. So being able to go ahead and figure out how I was going to add in appointments and we were going to have to figure out how we were going to take in appointments and we were going to have to figure out how we were going to take care of mom's needs when she needed to run errands and do things, we had to go ahead and figure that out and we created a family, so a calendar for the family, and I created one in a private Facebook group so the grandchildren could be part of it and friends could be part of it. So eventually it opened up more opportunities for me to stay working at work and her to still be able to go ahead and get around. So that's just one of many examples. But if you think about this key concept adapting to changing circumstances repotting involves recognizing these changes in your ability to adapt to them.

Speaker 1:

Think about just the concept of repotting a plant and it's springtime right now here, so I'm looking at getting. You know, you get a plant at the nursery and then you have to bring it home and you either put it into the ground or repot it in a bigger pot. Well, you just don't go ahead and pull out the plant and stick it in a pot. You can do that, but for me, when you go ahead and repot something, you have to set itself up for success. First of all, I buy Miracle-Gro or a generic where it has some fertilizer in it. You find a bigger pot, not something so big that the plant is overwhelmed. You find something that it can spread its roots and grow. But there's also a trick when you repot it, you take some of that old soil with it and put it into the pot, so it's not a shock, and then you gently water it and watch it take root and you may have to go ahead and take care of it. You don't want to overwater it. You don't want to underwater it. That's why finding different things to change and shift requires some sensitivity. It requires some gentleness when you go ahead and do that. It's just not a definite change as well.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so number two of my key aspects to consider is self-reflecting and growth. Just like a plant outgrows its pot, we as caregivers may outgrow our current approach or coping mechanisms that we're dealing with. This one is the one that many caregivers experience. Let me ask this question when have you outgrown your current approach or coping mechanism? You know, think about. The basic one that I think comes to mind is think about when dealing with an aging parent or a loved one's condition and it worsens Like an aging parent worsens over time, or they kind of lose their strength or their mental ability over time, or your loved one has a chronic condition and it's getting worse.

Speaker 1:

You realize you may be in the situation that you're in is you can't do this alone. You need some sort of help or equipment. Even with my dad in hospice care, he could walk down the hall for a while, but then eventually his legs started getting weak and so then we used one of the gait belts and that helped him. Eventually he still wanted to walk. We had to get the walker. Eventually he couldn't walk anymore, and so then we would wheelchair him down the hallway or whatever.

Speaker 1:

But you have to realize you may be in your situation. You can't do this alone. You can't go ahead and manage this whole entire thing by yourself anymore. I know it hurts, I know it's a bag of emotions. You may have to bring in help even when your loved one doesn't want to, or even when you don't really want to yourself, but you need help. You can't physically or mentally do it, or I've had clients and had to make this hard decision to move a loved one into a skilled nursing facility for their own safety, for their own sanity, because they couldn't do it anymore. My husband's dad he was in a skilled nursing facility for a while there as well, and you know it is hard. It is hard to go ahead and watch somebody else take care of your loved one.

Speaker 1:

But repotting encourages you to engage in your own self-reflection of your situation so you can assess your current situation and identify the areas where you need to shift and change, whether it be with your loved one's care, whether it means your own personal well-being and your own personal sanity. I love this statement here. If we go back to the example of making the hard decision to get the help your loved one needs, you've spent time researching, assessing your current situation and asking questions and, most importantly, looking at the overall quality of care for your loved one and, even more importantly, your well-being and how you want to spend time with your loved one is the most important piece, and so repotting encourages you to engage in self-reflection, assess your current situation and identify areas that would make your caregiving situation better, and so when you do that, you're able to go ahead. Okay, my next key aspect is creating space for personal well-being, and I'm talking space for personal well-being and I'm talking about your personal well-being, and so that's an important key aspect to think about. Caregiving and I don't probably even have to tell you this, but can be emotionally and physically demanding, often leaving you with little time or energy for yourself. Right, take a minute here, and I want you to just think about your energy and time right now and rate your energy and time On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being that your energy and time are terribly low, 10 being that you feel most energized and not pressed for time at all. Where are you at from a scale of 1 to 10? Check in with yourself and ask yourself this. This is part of that assessing too.

Speaker 1:

When I was in my most chaotic season of caregiving, that was caring for my dad running back and forth of this two-hour trip between my home and where my parents were, and I was caring for my spouse. At the same time, I was working full-time and trying to go ahead and just keep afloat of managing everything. Trying to go ahead and just keep afloat of managing everything. I was so exhausted and masking my fatigue and stress and emotions and just eating and drinking anything that would keep me awake, my well-being took a hit. Within three months, I was diagnosed with depression, chronic digestive issues where my guts hurt so bad and I gained 20 pounds in three months. It was a huge wake-up call for me and I had some major turning points that brought me back to assessing my situation.

Speaker 1:

And when you're in that kind of situation and you're assessing yourself on a scale of one to 10, repotting emphasizes the importance of creating space for your self-care, creating space for your personal well-being, whether it's through setting boundaries, seeking support or pursuing activities that bring joy and fulfillment and making time for yourself. Pay attention to your body and mind, signals and signs. Like I said last week in the last week's episode if you haven't listened to episode 210, you want to go back or this last episode. Your body and mind are remarkable. They're going to send you signals. It's whether you listen to them or not. You want to create space for personal well-being because you have to be there for your loved one, and do you want to choose to be there healthy, or are you going to look back on it and wish and think about how horrible your life was at that time?

Speaker 1:

Okay, another key aspect is exploring new paths and opportunities. Oh my gosh, this is a hard one for me too, because repotting encourages caregivers to explore new paths and opportunities for caregiving and caregiving growth. This could involve seeking out additional resources and support networks, pursuing new hobbies or interests, and reassessing your priorities and goals in caregiving and goals in caregiving, yeah. Yeah, it's not a and this is really blunt and I don't mean it to be totally blunt, but it's not a death sentence. It's not prison that you're in. You should continue to explore new paths and opportunities, new options and new ways to go ahead and make caregiving the best situation that you can possibly make it.

Speaker 1:

I get super excited when caregivers reach out to me Now not excited to hear their pain and their struggles and their challenges, but I'm excited to hear that they have finally recognized their situation and are done feeling and being this way and are ready to explore other options and changes. I am super excited. I feel like they've gotten to the space that they need to be. They've gotten to the space that they need to be. Last week episode, we talked about how most of us will sweep things underneath the rug, hoping that tomorrow will change everything or it'll go away on its own. But it doesn't. It doesn't, and if you continue to do that, it's going to cost you something. It's going to cost you the quality of care or your well-being, or resentment or whatever it would be. It's hard for caregivers to admit that they can't do it all or there's got to be a better way, but I'm here to cheer you on and tell you that you can.

Speaker 1:

I remember having hard conversations with my boss about my caregiving situation and how I wanted to continue to be a great employee and a productive employee. But I needed flexibility in my job right now and I was taking this huge risk. But I had a good relationship with my boss and I already had a game plan mapped out of how I would still perform at my best. But I needed the flexibility of my job right now so I could work various hours and not burn out. So I could work various hours and not burn out and I really couldn't take on any major projects unless he provided me with flexibility and it really did work out. It was a really great conversation and I pulled in the company's mission statement and values and made sure that they all aligned. And, to make a long story short, we had a really good conversation and I was able to go ahead and meet my company's needs and our projects and he was able to meet me where I was at.

Speaker 1:

Another situation was the client that I had recognized that she needed interactions outside of the home. We spent a lot of time talking about her signs and symptoms and triggers from being isolated and how it was affecting her emotional health and her mental well-being. When she committed to looking at what she could do to go ahead and get out of the house and where she could find help, it just opened up more doors for her. She was able to go back to singing in the choir on Sundays and the practice that they had one practice a week and she also was able to get back to a part-time volunteer basis where she volunteered at her local Christian kind of a thrift shop kind of a thing, and she welcomed that Her spouse had terminal illness. But what she did is she reached out to family and friends. She told her choir about it, she told her volunteer thrift store about it, and what it did is it opened up other people saying I want to come and help you. It opened up opportunities where she was open to go ahead and letting in help, whether that help was a prayer tree or people dropped off food at her door or she had people sitting with her loved one while she was away. She found that she also. By doing this, it fueled her to get out of the home and she found that it broke that isolation. But she also developed a really big community of people that they would come over just to visit her too, and so it just made my. It gave me goosebumps and it provided me with so much joy that just a simple two coaching calls that we had it really made a difference for her. So if you're looking for coaching, don't forget I'm here to help you as well.

Speaker 1:

Number five and the last key aspect is cultivating your resilience and adaptability when you're thinking about repotting, because caregiving really requires you to be resilient and adaptable, especially when you're facing challenges and uncertainty. Whether you have that or not, you have to develop that skill and when you think about repotting, it fosters these qualities by encouraging you to go ahead and saying well, we can no longer keep it in this pot, we have to move it to something bigger, and you embrace the change. You learn from the experiences of repotting and it cultivates this mindset of resilience and adaptability. Now this sounds great when you say it really. Okay, I have to cultivate resilience and adaptability, but it's freaking hard. It's freaking hard to go ahead and be resilient and adaptable when you feel like this boxing bag that it's constantly coming at you. And really, to justify it a little bit more, we're habitual humans.

Speaker 1:

Think about where you park. When you go to the grocery store, do you park in the same spot? If you go to church, or if you go to a show or a movie, if you had the choice to sit in a seat, do you sit on the left side or the right side? Usually we like to be comfortable. We have these routines, we have these situations. That makes us feel comfortable, and when things don't run smoothly or we have to go ahead and stick our neck out to a different way of doing things, it becomes uncomfortable.

Speaker 1:

The example that comes to mind this morning is they are doing major construction on a road that we take from our home to the highway to get on to our Highway 41. Our home to the highway to get on to our Highway 41. And this road is kind of like the main road and for the last month there's been signs that said the northbound lane is going to close for an ongoing length of time I can't remember the exact words, but it's going to be for a long time and they don't have definite dates and then eventually they're going to close the southbound lane and this sign has been up. They've put up the barriers and they had them all set and it went up this morning. Well, I walk at six o'clock every morning with my dogs and the rage that I heard in the cars driving and the speed that people had and the turnarounds and the honking that I heard, I could feel that people were having a hard time adjusting to this change because they have to take the detour and it's going to be a good five to 10 minutes out of their way. Yeah, we all have change and learning is hard and change and learning from our experiences are going to be hard. But when we embrace our mindset to make things even better and not think about change as so much hard, but I want to try to change, to make it even better. We become resilient and adaptable and that's what you want to do. You're going to say, okay, yeah, we're going to have to try something new because we want this outcome to happen.

Speaker 1:

Well, another story that comes to my mind is my husband's stem cell transplant. When we went in for the consultation for a stem cell transplant a couple of years ago, we had agreed that he was a healthy candidate and we were just coming off of the pandemic and we wanted to go ahead and try the outpatient approach, and less than 5% of this doctors or this specialist patients were outpatient, and of those 5%, 70% weren't able to make it through the outpatient stem cell transplant because there's a lot of risk. But we were still going to try it and the doctor felt good about our decision and actually encouraged us to do that, and so Dennis was really good. We would go in each and every day for the procedures at first, and then the chemotherapies, and then the extraction of his stem cells and then the regeneration of his stem cells went back in, and so that took probably two weeks, and then the rest of the four weeks were really maintenance.

Speaker 1:

He would go in and they would call his first day, plus one, plus two, plus three and so on, and he had to get all the way through four weeks and it was every single day, weekdays and weekends, and he would go in, they would do blood work and they would look at where he was from a diagnostic and a laboratory test, and then he would get either platelets, vitamin, immunotherapy, magnesium, whatever his body was missing. They would go ahead and give him an IV bag or two of it, and it would be anywhere from two hours to six hours, just depending on where he was at. And then the wait for the blood work took, at the very beginning, 30 to 60 minutes as well. And so after about plus seven, I said to him is there a way, and how comfortable do you feel if I went ahead and dropped you off at the door and you went into your room and you went through it? And if there was something urgent I am just right across the street I would be over in an instant and I would be there. And I said, because I then can go ahead and clean the room, I can go ahead and do some of my job, work, stuff. So I didn't have to go ahead and do it into the evening and I could go ahead and do something personal for myself too, that way, and because I was nursing throughout the evening and the night and when he had issues I had to give him medication. If he had some issues going on, then I had to call the doctor. So I was the 24 hour nurse. Besides that, and he said absolutely I like that because he would have his iPad, he would watch a movie, he could take a nap. I just sat there the whole time anyway.

Speaker 1:

Well, we were ready to go ahead and adapt to the change and cultivate resilience and adaptability. But it was amazing. Dennis said that the nurses that would ask where I was, where's your wife, why isn't she here? And he had to go ahead and share with them that, just like we're trying outpatient therapy, just like we're trying outpatient therapy, we're trying this as well. And eventually the nurse says this makes sense because they're there to care for him. Why do I have to care for him when the nurses are there? And we finally then found some time that we weren't together 24-7, and it helped my mental well-being as much as his. And so those changes are hard. It felt uncomfortable. I felt guilty, I felt a little bit of shame at first, but eventually I shared that with the transplant team and talked about our journey so that they would go ahead and start encouraging that caregiver to get some time for themselves as well.

Speaker 1:

Okay, kind of, overall, let's close this up today Because, first of all, let's go back and look at these key concepts one more time. The first one is adapting to changing circumstances and really recognizing and being able to embrace them. The second one is really doing some self-reflection and thinking about and looking at resources and looking at ways that you can grow. And then the third one is finding the space and creating the space for personal well-being. When you explore the opportunities and find ways for you to improve your well-being, it improves the overall care of your loved one. Number four, then, is exploring and experimenting and trying new paths and opportunities, just like my client did with her volunteering and singing back in the choir and seeing where it would go. Sometimes you might try something and have to try something else, and then it just builds your skill set and muscle when it comes to resilience and adaptability.

Speaker 1:

Overall, the concept of repotting empowers you, as a caregiver, to approach your caregiving journey with intentionality, with flexibility and a commitment to your loved one's quality of care. That's what you're trying, but you're also working on your overall well-being and these have to be equal balance. I'm thinking about like a teeter-totter or a scale with plates on each side. You have to have that equal balance of your own well-being and the quality of care for your loved ones. When you have this capacity to thrive and flourish, you can do it even amidst the challenges that you face.

Speaker 1:

Let me leave you with this quote, and obviously it's from my mentor and who doesn't even know me Hoda Kotb. She says, or quotes here repotting isn't about starting over. It's about giving yourself the space and opportunity to grow into your fullest potential. Opportunity to grow into your fullest potential, embrace the process and watch as new possibilities bloom. Isn't that powerful? That is so powerful.

Speaker 1:

When you repot, it's not about starting over. It's looking at ways to improve your situation. And then you go through this process and you're so grateful for the process because now it opens up new possibilities. It might open up new possibilities as grim as putting your loved one into a skilled nursing facility and you had no other choice and you feel guilty about it. Now you have to look at this new possibility, as you can spend quality time with your loved ones and sit by their bedside and you don't have to do all of the heavy lifting. You now can be that daughter, that wife, whatever it would be or when you go ahead and get out and you're volunteering and it fuels your soul, you come back in an energized spirit and your soul is happier and you're able to go ahead and brighten your love one day, or tackle something really hard with a better mindset.

Speaker 1:

So I want to just end today by saying thank you, my friend, for listening to another episode of the Caregiver Cup podcast. If you love this episode, please take a moment and if you know another caregiver, please share it with them. I do this because I want to help every single person and if you have a smidgen of time, a little bit of time, can you do me a favor on your podcast app or out in your Facebook or Instagram page? Can you give me a shout out, rate and review the show? It means the world to me because once we can touch other people, they can start repotting. So until next time, my friend, here's to repotting your caregiver journey this week. We'll talk to you soon. Bye for now.

Embracing Change
Adapting and Growing as a Caregiver
Navigating Caregiving Challenges and Resilience
Empowering Caregivers to Repot Their Journey