The Caregiver Cup Podcast

Bloom Where You Are Planted: Cultivating Joy and Gratitude as a Caregiver

June 25, 2024 Cathy VandenHeuvel Episode 219
Bloom Where You Are Planted: Cultivating Joy and Gratitude as a Caregiver
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
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The Caregiver Cup Podcast
Bloom Where You Are Planted: Cultivating Joy and Gratitude as a Caregiver
Jun 25, 2024 Episode 219
Cathy VandenHeuvel

Send Cathy a text:)

Ever wondered how a single quote could change your perspective on life? Discover how the timeless wisdom of Bishop Francis de Sales' words "Bloom where you are planted" could be your guiding light, especially for those navigating the challenges of caregiving. I’ll share personal stories and practical insights on how to cultivate a positive mindset in any situation, from finding joy in a rainy day to dressing up to boost your spirits. Get ready to uncover five actionable tips to help you flourish wherever you find yourself planted.

Gratitude and positivity are more than just buzzwords; they’re essential tools for enhancing our daily lives. Join me as I revel in the simple pleasures like vibrant garden blooms and the joy of feeding ducks and birds. Learn how small acts of kindness, such as sending thank you notes or reflecting on happy memories, can uplift your spirit and create lasting connections. I'll offer practical mindfulness tips and share how these small joys can significantly elevate your mood, even on the toughest days.   Click here to to get my 30 Days of Inspiration.

Relationships and personal growth are vital, especially for caregivers juggling multiple responsibilities. We’ll explore the power of community and support groups, and how sharing experiences can be a lifeline. Flexibility and adaptability aren’t just survival tactics—they’re skills that can help you navigate the caregiving journey with grace. Plus, I’ll remind you of the importance of pursuing hobbies and new skills for personal growth. Engage with us through text, Instagram, or email, and let's continue nurturing our growth and joy together!

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:)

Ever wondered how a single quote could change your perspective on life? Discover how the timeless wisdom of Bishop Francis de Sales' words "Bloom where you are planted" could be your guiding light, especially for those navigating the challenges of caregiving. I’ll share personal stories and practical insights on how to cultivate a positive mindset in any situation, from finding joy in a rainy day to dressing up to boost your spirits. Get ready to uncover five actionable tips to help you flourish wherever you find yourself planted.

Gratitude and positivity are more than just buzzwords; they’re essential tools for enhancing our daily lives. Join me as I revel in the simple pleasures like vibrant garden blooms and the joy of feeding ducks and birds. Learn how small acts of kindness, such as sending thank you notes or reflecting on happy memories, can uplift your spirit and create lasting connections. I'll offer practical mindfulness tips and share how these small joys can significantly elevate your mood, even on the toughest days.   Click here to to get my 30 Days of Inspiration.

Relationships and personal growth are vital, especially for caregivers juggling multiple responsibilities. We’ll explore the power of community and support groups, and how sharing experiences can be a lifeline. Flexibility and adaptability aren’t just survival tactics—they’re skills that can help you navigate the caregiving journey with grace. Plus, I’ll remind you of the importance of pursuing hobbies and new skills for personal growth. Engage with us through text, Instagram, or email, and let's continue nurturing our growth and joy together!

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 there and welcome to episode number 19. It's Kathy here again. I don't know if you know this about me, but I love quotes. I love reading quotes. I'll read a book and the author will say something powerful and I'll highlight their words or their quotes. I'll dog ear quotes in books. I perk up when someone shares a quote. I buy calendars and journals with quotes in them specifically because they just give me motivation. And you'll notice that I usually do it on Mondays, but I'll do it occasionally On my Instagram and Facebook group accounts. I will share quotes and they just motivate me and inspire me.

Speaker 1:

It always fascinates me when I read a book from someone I don't know and they share a quote that I don't know and I go on this rabbit hole and research the person who quoted it. And I was researching this quote and I'm sharing this quote on one of my Monday morning and the quote is from Francis D Sales, s-a-l-e-s, and it's really simple, but it resonates with me and I know it will resonate with you. It says bloom where you are planted, bloom where you are planted. It's a well-known quote out there from Bishop, and he's the Bishop of Geneva. His life began in 1567, and he lived to 95, and this is just one of his famous quotes. You'll know this quote because it's been borrowed from and there's been books named after this quote, there's poems about this quote, there's songs, and there's even paintings with this powerful quote on it. So bloom where you are planted. Now, bishop Francis DeSalle's intent of the proverbial saying was he meant it. When I did his research, he says, really, the reason I wrote this quote was to grow and flourish in any circumstance, and I wanted people to know that, rather than just surviving, it can also mean to take advantage of opportunities and be grateful for your current situation and leave a situation better than when you found it.

Speaker 1:

For most of us, though, this phrase means making the most of what we have and we've been given. Be fruitful in growing into the beautiful flower that you and I are intended to become, and so this quote to me, though, bloom where you are planted is particularly relevant for us as caregivers. Our lives often feel uprooted, and the constant demands can make it difficult to feel joy and fulfillment, but this phrase reminds us that, even in the midst of caregiving challenges, we can choose to grow, we can choose to flourish, and we can choose to make the most of our situation. So bloom where you are planted. And so today I want to share with you five ways or tips that you can go ahead and bloom where you are planted, because I think what we do is we feel stuck, we feel like we can't go on, and the visual that comes to mind and I think you might have seen this visual out there, because the graphic's been used over and over again is where there's concrete or blacktop and there's a crack in the concrete and then there's a flower growing through the concrete or the crack, and it just amazes me how a flower can kind of find its way and bloom where it is planted. And so the first thought for me is we as caregivers, have to choose our mindset. Mindset is a powerful tool in caregiving. If you wake up feeling sluggish or frustrated or overwhelmed, or maybe even like it's Groundhog Day, over and over, the same thing over and over again, you want to take a moment and figure out how can I reset my mindset and have more of a positive mindset or even a growth mindset versus this gloom and doom kind of thing. Ask yourself what you can do to improve your situation or your day.

Speaker 1:

This weekend in Wisconsin. Here it's been raining so much in the months of May and June and this weekend, friday and Saturday, they said 100% chance of rain, and even Sunday it was sunshining. And I said to my husband look outside, it's completely sunshining out, with one cloud over us, dark, and that kind of thing. However, I'm recording this on Monday and the sunshine is beautiful today, but we got up on Saturday morning. I'm telling you this. We got up on Saturday morning and Dennis and I walked in the rain with umbrellas, with the dogs, because I wasn't going to let Mother Nature stop us. I did that on Friday too, but he had said to me he goes hey, do you want me to make you breakfast? And it just came like he chose to bloom where he was planted and I'm like, yeah, what about French toast? Oh my gosh, it was wonderful. We enjoyed some French toast and had a breakfast, because we couldn't do anything outside anyway, and so we started the morning off with a little bit of slowness I don't even know if that's a word slowly and I had a cup of coffee and I had my French toast and I did some cleaning in the house and then I worked on my website and he kind of did some putsy stuff around the house and ran some errands and stuff like that.

Speaker 1:

But for you, choosing your mindset, maybe putting on a different outfit today, maybe you put on a better shirt today because you've been just living in the same t-shirts over and over and you feel it when you go ahead and shift and you look at how am I going to dress up today, that can change your mindset. Maybe you put on makeup or jewelry and your loved one might say, well, why are you all dressed up today? And you could say you know what? I'm tired of feeling down in the dumps, so I decided I'm going to wear a better shirt. I can still remember my dad telling my mom how beautiful she looked in this yellow t-shirt that had cats on it, and my mom put it on. Anytime she wore yellow, it just improved her mood. Maybe it's reading an inspirational quote, like I like to do, or playing some uplifting music. These small actions can shift your mood and set a positive tone for the day.

Speaker 1:

Another example that comes to my mind is when my grandgirls were little, we would go up and visit my mom and dad up in their cabin up in northern Wisconsin. And as soon as you get into the woods or some people call it the forest there are all these trees there. You lose cell phone connection. You don't have a lot of internet they have, they had dial up internet and so you kind of lose reality. And so the girls couldn't play with their phones or they couldn't play with technology. They didn't bring a lot with them, and my mom and dad are older, so they didn't have a lot up there and they decided they were going to go ahead and play around the yard. And all of a sudden we look at them and there they found my mom's little garden tools and they were making these piles of stones in the driveway. They were actually making like a flower out of the stones in the driveway and making. They were actually making like a flower out of the stones in the driveway. They were piling up stones and making things with it. They adjusted, they had fun, they made the best of the situation and they were just having fun, and so we need to think like that as well.

Speaker 1:

Okay, number two of ways that we could flourish or we could go ahead and bloom where we're planted is the simple act of practicing gratitude. That could be a transformative practice that can change how you perceive your caregiving journey. I know I've shared this a while back, but one of the very first months into my caregiving journey I know I've shared this a while back, but one of the very first months into my caregiving journey I started practicing gratitude because I heard a podcast from Rachel Hollis and I knew the benefits of keeping my mindset out of the negative sadness and the gloom and doom state. Practicing gratitude could be something as simple as a smile from your loved one or a moment of peace or a helping hand for a friend. It could be pulling out that gratitude journal and saying I'm going to record five things that I was grateful for today and you could put it by your bedside or you could put it in the morning and practice your gratitude in the morning. I record five things I'm grateful for every day. So you want to hear mine today day.

Speaker 1:

Mine today was seeing my beautiful lilies, yellow lilies that now have gotten tons and tons of rain and they are just out of control and they're so bright and yellow. Another one was I was feeding my birds. I have three bird feeders out in the front of my house and the ducks were waiting for me to fill the bird feeders, because they clean up anything that's on the ground yeah, they leave all their droppings too, but I clean those up and then they also had their babies or the little ducklings following them today. It was so beautiful. So those were three out of the five that I recorded, and it was those simple things.

Speaker 1:

Another thing that you could do is you could text or send somebody a thank you card or a thank you note or text them to say I'm thinking of you today. I've been doing this with my kids, like every other week. I don't want them to think that I'm a stalker and texting them all the time, but I might say you know I'm thinking about you today and the sun is shining. I hope you're doing something fun today or how so and so like. With my middle son. They have the dog, peter, and I text him and so I'm just reaching out just to say hi or whatever.

Speaker 1:

Another example I did during the pandemic, because it was hard enough with caregiving and then adding the pandemic on top of it. We all, as caregivers, felt isolated and the only people that I would see out of the house were the delivery people. Would see out of the house were the delivery people, and so I started putting thank you notes or little notes on the postman or the postwoman's in the mailbox and I would stick them to the front and I knew exactly what it was. And now Scott drops off my mail, sometimes when I have bigger boxes at the door and and he writes on the envelope. He writes a note on the envelope of anything you know. It's like hope you have a good day, or like we're in Packer country, so he might say go, packers, go. It's an NFL football team or whatever, and it's like it's so fun now to be able to have that. The Amazon people would take pictures of the dog standing at the glass screen door and it would make my day.

Speaker 1:

So find little things to feed positivity and gratitude. Now I know it's hard when your loved one might be crabby or emotional, so you may have to grow gratitude where and when you can, and really the goal is to shift your mindset and improve your mood. It may be like cutting flowers in your garden and putting some of the in a vase on the countertop or the table, or it may be putting a smell, if your loved one can handle it, and you put on. You light a candle or a warmer, a diffuser, in your home, whatever it would be, and you want to find that it could be practicing mindfulness and maybe you do deep chest breathings or meditation. It could be putting sticky notes on your mirror or around the house that have and this is crazy, kathy that have quotes on it and talking about it, or I am grateful for whatever you could have those things going on. Like I said, I have a flip calendar that have quotes on it each and every day. Also, I want to bring this up to you. I have the 30 days of inspiration or quotes that I share with you. I'll put that in the show notes because I can't remember. I think it's kathielvancom 30 days, but just check that to make sure you could get something each and every day.

Speaker 1:

Another thing when my mom and dad were really sick in their hospice journey, I would pull out the photo albums or look at pictures on my phone and I was with my siblings and we would go ahead and giggle and laugh and look at those and it would warm our hearts, especially during those difficult times. So get creative. I'm just giving you a few, but you want to go ahead and think about that. Number three is what we talked about in last week's episodes, kind of. It is finding small joy and embracing the season that you're in, and so if you haven't listened to last week's episode, take a step back. Excuse me, I had a cough or a tickle in my throat. Look for small opportunities to bring joy into your day. This could be enjoying a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage, taking a short walk outside, spending a few moments on a hobby that you love. I know when my mom loved to paint pottery and so, even during the pandemic, we would pick up a kit, they would sell kits and we would bring them home and we would sit at the table. If your loved one likes to play cards or a game, you could do that, or you could play something yourself. Find little things that recharge your spirit and keep you grounded.

Speaker 1:

Number four is connections. Connecting with a support network or a group of friends, or making a point to go ahead and connect with your bestie or your friends. Building and maintaining connections with others who understand your journey can provide immense support, whether it's a friend or a fellow co-worker or a fellow caregiver or a support group. Sharing your experiences and feelings can help. Also, on the flip side, learning what's happening outside of your world can help too, because that gives you something to think about or talk about. Sometimes I would read a book and I would say, hey, is anybody out there reading this book and want to connect and share? And sometimes we couldn't connect online at a specific time. We would text back and forth or whatever, and so think about what you love to do and build off of that. Or if you got together with your friend every month and now you're isolated and you can't do it, maybe you FaceTime, or maybe you meet in the backyard of your home and you have coffee while your loved one is taking their nap. Number five oh, I said it was five, I'm actually doing six.

Speaker 1:

Number five is embrace, flexibility and adaptability. You know, think about yourself. Caregiving often requires you to adapt to new situations and challenges and instead of fighting those or struggling with those, just saying, okay, today is going to be a day where you know what. I can't get SHIT done, I can't get it done, so I'm going to have to be adaptable and navigate through this, or you could make a joke out of it. Okay, two things have happened today, don't they say it come in three and you could do that. Or you call your friend and saying you know, the SHIT hit the fan today and nothing is going right. But you know what's right, you and I just need to talk to you because if I don't laugh about it, I'm going to cry. And what you did is you took control of it. You took control of it, you know. So you have to go ahead and do that.

Speaker 1:

Remember, when things are the hardest, you may have to just adapt to it or get flexible with it. I mean, nothing's worse than waiting in a waiting room with your loved one and they're running behind. Oh my gosh, you know you have enough going on, and now the doctor's late, or the lab results are late, or now they're sending you for testing as well. And you know your loved one, you know your loved ones depends is going to be full by the end or they may wet beyond it. And so you're trying to figure out okay, this is going to happen, we have to wait, or how am I going to go ahead and do that? I may have to go ahead and try to figure out how we're going to change them in the bathroom, whatever it would be. So you have to embrace it and be flexible and adaptable, and it's not easy. It's not easy. You may have to go into the bathroom yourself and just go ahead and do a dance in the stall and wish you could scream, but you can't scream, so you're going to go ahead and dance in the stall. I've done that. I've been so frustrated. Or I went for a walk around the building and said I'll be right back and I told the front desk that if it gets called in, can you wheel them in and I'll be right there.

Speaker 1:

Number six and the last one, is focus on your personal growth. You may not think it's time for you to personally grow, or there's no personal growth involved. Well, my friend, my sister, my gal friend here, take advantage of the opportunities that you have to continue to shift your challenges into opportunities and grow for them. This you're learning new skills every single day. You're forced into learning the skills, but you're becoming a better listener. You're becoming a better problem solver. You're learning how to go ahead and work through stress. You're learning all of the tactical things.

Speaker 1:

You might have to go ahead and attend a workshop or watch a video or read a book to go ahead and learn your caregiving, but also don't lose sight about the fact that you can learn something new while you're caregiving little bit longer. Like I taught myself how to knit, I taught myself how to crochet and I watched YouTube videos while Dennis was in a six week transplant thing. I didn't do it fast, I didn't do it great, but I learned, I taught myself. I started this podcast as a caregiver. So find a passion and say you know what I'm isolated. All I do is care, give and work and I feel like I'm stuck. Well then, look at something that you have always been wanting to try or do and is there a way you could do this in the evenings, at you know, right after you put your loved one to bed or get up at 6 am before your loved one gets up at 8, and you go ahead and do something fun for yourself. Personal growth can bring a sense of achievement and purpose and fulfillment outside of your caregiving duties. So I encourage you to do that and try to find something. Now.

Speaker 1:

Before I conclude today, I wanted to give a shout out to a text message that I got this week and an email response that I got. First of all, if you see, in the show notes there is text Kathy. There those texts get sent to me. The first time you get it it'll say do not delete, because there's a code there that gets sent to me. The company that I do my podcasts with codes, my text messages, and then it automatically sends them to me. They come anonymous and I cannot respond to them yet, and so they show the location of where your phone number is. That could be you or that could not be. So if you want to give me your name, you can give me your name and I see the last four numbers of your phone number, but I don't see anything more. Remember, text rates apply. Well, this person has the same name as me and I'm so excited. I don't know if it's Groton or Groton, massachusetts. It says Hi, kathy, so happy I found your podcast.

Speaker 1:

I've been a caregiver for 11 years for my husband of 33 years. To protect privacy, she shares her husband's condition and his demeanor. And then she also says I also have multiple sclerosis, which also takes a toll on me. I'm learning, or trying to learn, self-care without feeling guilty. My name is Kathy. Also thank you for this podcast. It's helping me so much. Well, thank you, kathy, and I want to just encourage you.

Speaker 1:

If you're trying, you're working towards self-care, and remember it's small baby steps. Maybe today is the day that you went ahead and focused on drinking an extra glass of water, or you walked to the mailbox or you took a few moments and you read your book. That's self-care. It doesn't have to be all physical, it doesn't have to be all mindfulness. It's whatever works for you in the season, and when you take smaller steps, you shouldn't feel guilty, because you need that personal time for yourself and I know your situation, and so feeling guilty is probably something that it can happen, but you need to just go ahead and fight through it. I wish there was this, and maybe we should create it as a community. There should be something where we all celebrate how much self-care we do for ourselves. I did this this week. So tell me that in the text messages. Tell me one baby step you did for yourself, for self-care, and you're not going to feel guilty about it. I did this. I went ahead and said no to going ahead and doing the extra load of laundry today. Instead, I sat down, put my feet up and had a cup of coffee. Whatever it would be, you need to go ahead and do that.

Speaker 1:

I also want to thank Denise for a lovely email response that you have. If you're not on my email list, you definitely want to Go to my website, kathielvancom, and scroll down to the bottom. You will see that you can get onto my email list. Or even if you go to kathielvancom forward, slash about at the bottom of that one, you can join my email list as well, and I love getting responses to my email list. My emails are more personal and I share a lot more about myself in the community. They're kind of similar to my podcast, or maybe just an extension of it.

Speaker 1:

And Denise said. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me navigate the highs and lows of caregiving for my wonderful husband. We were married 54 years and he went to be with Jesus three months ago. He battled tongue cancer and neck cancer for 11 years. I'm not going to go on for it because it just really gets into all of the details of his death. So, as hard as it was, I promised him I would take care of him until he passed.

Speaker 1:

I guess what I want to say is thank you for all your encouragement and stories that you shared on your podcast. I felt like you were a close friend and I always learned something new from your experience. Well, denise, thank you my sympathies for your loss of your wonderful husband. I know that you're on your next season, which is grief and healing and finding a support group and working through that. I know anybody that's listening is sending positive thoughts to Denise and hoping that she can find some moments of joy and fond memories as you're healing and grieving, because grief doesn't go away. Grief just turns from sadness into moments of joy, and I want to go ahead and mention that for you as well, and I'm sure she was grieving through the caregiving process as well. So thank you for sharing that, denise. I actually had tears in my eyes, but also felt really warm and fuzzy when you sent that to me. So let's conclude today's podcast episode with a few last thoughts.

Speaker 1:

We explored the concept of bloom. Where you are planted, no matter how hard it is, we can find ways to bloom, and I always think about what flower can you bloom as? What weed can you bloom as? What tree can you bloom on? Because it all applies to our lives in caregiving, by choosing a positive mindset, practicing gratitude, creating small joys, connecting with others, embracing flexibility and focusing on our personal growth. We can thrive and find peace and joy amidst this caregiving journey.

Speaker 1:

Take some time this week and reflect on how you can bloom where you are planted. As a matter of fact, send me a text message and tell me what small steps can you take to cultivate your joy and growth in your life. What small steps can you do? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so feel free to go out on that text message and share. Or, if you follow me on Instagram, share it there. Or if you're on my email list, you know what my email address is. I want to thank you for joining me on this episode of the Caregiver Cup podcast. Remember, caring is more than just a role. It's an opportunity for us to grow and flourish. And so until next time, my friend, just continue to take care of yourself and keep blooming, and remember that filling your cup first is the most important thing that you can do. So until next time, my friend, take care.

Bloom Where You Are Planted
Cultivating Gratitude and Positivity
Building Connections and Personal Growth
Nurturing Personal Growth and Joy