Hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets!
Rayna Neises, ACC, host, and Karen Weaver, PCC, co-host, continue discussing the remainder of Rayna’s book which was released on June 1st. This part of the book addresses how to love the life you live while caregiving.
- Stop frequently to ask questions that help you to reflect and then make decisions intentionally.
- If something is not working, pivot and do something different.
- Always keep looking until you find the thing that does work for you.
- Self-care is really about the little habits that add up.
- Being part of a community allows you to hear more options and to try other suggestions.
- Create a personal manifesto to help evaluate your values which can guide you in making decisions and keeping priorities.
- Reframing is the ability to take a situation, based on reality, and to put a different frame on it allowing the picture to change.
- There is always hope!
- Ask yourself, “What is needed to be able to create the experience that you need it to be?”
- Purchase the book and then visit www.aseasonofcaring.com/community to sign up for a free opportunity to walk through No Regrets with Rayna.
*Transcript is an actual recount of the live conversation
Welcome to a Season of Caring Podcast where there’s hope for living loving and caring with no regrets. This is Rayna Neises your host, and Karen Weaver, your cohost. And today we’re going to continue visiting a little bit more about No Regrets: Hope for Your Caregiving Season. My new release that’s available in bookstores June first. Last time on the podcast we talked about the first half of the book where it just talks about caring, what our caring season looks like. Some different things that we learned and tips and tricks that I pass on during that part of the book today, we’re going to talk a little bit more about that important, ugly word that we talk about all the time, self-care, right Karen?
Oh, yes, it’s a hard one, but it’s when we have to repeat over and over again to remind caregivers. So Rayna, tell us a little bit about why do you feel that you were able to bury your dad with no regrets.
You know, I’ve been doing quite a few interviews lately and I’ve actually had people kind of push back a little bit on that no regrets thing. That’s big thing. And I’m like, yeah, it’s a big word. But I think part of it is how we interpret that. And I would say the way that I found myself at the grave, thinking that I didn’t regret anything was because that was intentional. And that intentionality included being reflective. So I think those were the two most important pieces of what I did throughout my season. I stopped frequently to intentionally make decisions instead of getting sucked into something and finding myself halfway down the path going, oh, wait a minute this isn’t the way I wanted to go. I stopped each time I needed to make a decision and I really looked at how it was going to impact me. How it would impact my dad. How would it impact my team. How it would impact my family. And really kind of considered those things as I was making decisions. We talked last time I was working, teaching four days a week, whenever I started caring for my dad. And so, you know, six months in, frankly, I was pretty tired. And so it was like time to renew my contract and it was a conversation I had with my husband. I don’t think I should keep teaching. And he, like, I don’t think you should either. And so it was a decision that we made, in that time, intentionally saying. We’re going past the six months. So we’re going to really focus in on what does it take to go long-term with this? And I think really keeping the long-term in mind helped that as well. The other piece was that reflective part, pausing frequently to ask myself, how am I? What do I need? What’s going well? What’s not going well? How is dad? What’s going well for him. What do I need to do differently to make this a better situation for both of us? Just reflecting on how we’re doing and what needs to change. And I think those two things really helped me to be able to say, I don’t have regrets because throughout caring if something wasn’t working, something that I might regret later, I pivoted. I stopped and I did something different. And so for me, if there was something that didn’t go well, I changed it. So that by the time he got to the end, I was able to say, I don’t regret. I don’t regret investing the time. I don’t regret the time away from my family. I just made sure I could make the most of everything that I could at that time.
Yeah. Well, you were really taking care of yourself along the way you were being intentional. You were taking good care of your dad, but you were also mindful that you needed to take care of yourself so that you would be able to support your dad for the long haul.
That’s a hard thing to do when you don’t realize you need to.
Well, yes, it is. But it’s, it’s just amazing that you were able to be so intentional about it along the way. And do the check-in with yourself. Cause I think that’s so important. And you know, we always talk about, how important it is for caregivers to really have that awareness so that they can make sure that they’ve taken good care of themselves so that they will be able to take care of their loved one. Absolutely. You talked a little bit about how intentional you were about being aware of your own needs. But be a little bit more specific if you can, about just some self-care tips and tricks that may be helpful to our listeners.
I’ve always been a really good sleeper and I definitely really monitored my sleep during this time of caregiving, because everybody is different in how their sleep patterns work. My mom, she slept great, but many times. Older people wake up in the middle of the night and are not good sleepers. So as a caregiver, you kind of have to have that constant ear open. Right? So one of the things that I did was we had a season where my dad was up. He had an enlarged prostate. So he was up quite a bit going to the restroom I became really afraid that I wouldn’t hear him. And so I wasn’t, even when he was sleeping, I wasn’t sleeping well because I was always, you know, listening. And so I found not only was I getting up two or three times a night to just keep an eye on him, but I was also not resting well. When I was trying when he was sleeping. And so I did some looking around and I found a bed alarm and at a sub at a medical supply store. And it just was kind of like, it looked like a heating pad, just kind of that little small, thin electric pad. And you just put it underneath the sheets and when the pressure was administered, it would beep once. And then if he were to get up out of bed, It would beep repeatedly, continually until you reset it. So we had baby monitors in his room, in my room. I could always hear that alarm go off and it didn’t seem to bother him, which that was great. So he would just get up and go on into the bathroom in his room and I’d go in and reset the alarm and just kind of lurk to make sure that he was going right back to bed and everything was okay. If he was in the bathroom too long, I could go check on him and offer him help if he needed it. But overall, you know, it just did that trick for me and helped me wake up when I needed to, but it helped me sleep with confidence. And I think sometimes we forget to look for the tools that we need to help us do that. And so that would be one thing that really stood out to me. Another thing that really stood out to me was that transient, you know, being on the road, driving so much running from one place to the other, I just really got in a bad habit of picking up fast food. And I really put on a lot of weight and I found myself about halfway through the season just knowing that I was not taking care of myself physically. And so I made some changes and during my caregiving season, I lost almost 60 pounds. And so by finding a diet that worked for me and, and by just eliminating those things like driving through and grabbing quick food, but just doing more planning ahead. So those are some of the pivots that I made. When I think about I had a routine and. It was working, but it was working on putting weight on me and that wasn’t good for any of us. And so I had to find a way to pivot that and find something that fit my lifestyle in that time and that season. But it also gave me the nutrients that I needed. And so. I think sometimes it feels like there’s no way I can make these big changes. And that was a big, big thing for me, but it was something that I found that worked. I found something that worked for me. So I would just encourage you as caregivers to always keep looking until you find the thing that does work for you. Because oftentimes we think of self care as being these big things that we need to do when really it’s the little habits that add up. They equal, the overall taking care of ourselves, the getting to bed, having a nighttime routine and going to bed at the same time. That it can be tricky when you’re caregiving, because the person you’re caring for might be having a crisis. But if you have the normal routines, once you’ve dealt with a crisis, you can get right back into routine and get the rest that you need. Also, it goes back to asking for help. You know, if I need different food, I need to make different choices. I might need someone to help me. With getting food at the house or watching dad while I go to the store or whatever it was, just had to be a problem solver in meeting the needs that I needed to meet. So I think it’s important to really think through those things that are in your way and look again for all different kinds of solutions and try them until you find the one that works for you.
Yeah, no, I think that’s, that’s so true. And I think our listeners will appreciate that. And I think that’s, when you talk about your invitation to the group. That’s why that sense of community is helpful
It actually gives you an opportunity to start sharing. You know, what’s worked for different people and you may hear something that may fit your situation.
And I always encourage people, your caregiving. Season’s not going to look just like my caregiving season and the solutions that I found that worked for me. Might not work for you, but like you said, the more you have in your community, the more you have options to try other people’s solutions. Right. So, having that have those conversations. Yeah. Very good.
Right. And, and people are at different points on the journey too. So that’s another thing, you know, you may just be starting out or somebody else may be at the end of the journey. Yeah. So in, your book, you also talk about a personal manifesto. Talk a little bit more about this. What, what is that and why do you feel that it was helpful to you?
So personal manifesto is something that I ran across in a book that I was reading and it really struck me and I thought, wow, this is really interesting. And it was a process that kind of laid out how to really stop and do an evaluation of our values. What really is most important to me? And then once I’ve evaluated that, then you turn it into statements of how you’re going to live by those values. So for me, I looked at each role that I played in different people’s lives. So I looked at my role in my faith. I looked at my role as a daughter, as a wife, as a step monster. As the grandkids came, a Graham, as a business owner, And then as a person how it was created. And I took each of those different things. I attached values to each of those and as well as characteristics. And I thought, who do I want to be? And so I wrote this manifesto with the direction it came from Kathi Lipp and Sherri Gregory’s book Overwhelm, and they have amazing resources to walk you through that and in creating your own. But for me, it was really important and became very pivotal in how I made decisions. We talked earlier about that intentionality, but my manifesto helped me to really stay true to who I am, who I’m created to be. And then helped me to be that measuring stick to pre decide what was most important in my life because the manifesto helped me to say, okay, I know that these roles are most important. And right now in this season, I have to protect them. So here’s my manifesto. This is the one that I wrote just probably two years into my caregiving. I’m the daughter of a loving king who desires to love him and all that she does. I’m a supportive and loving wife to my farmer. I’m a daughter, sister, step monster, Graham and friend who values relationship with my family and friends by making them a priority. I’m a person who shares her life transparently so that others can be encouraged to walk confidently with God. I know that there’s hope when life stinks. I believe in truth, telling compassion and honesty, integrity, and consistency. I feel, think, and act with grace. Always. So, as you can see in that manifesto, some things that were true, some things that I was growing into, but it was kind of my marching orders of really looking at and deciding, if I’m the daughter of living king, then I have to remind myself that when I feel like God is not being loving, when my dad is cussing at me and hitting me and I’m feeling overlooked, overwhelmed, and unloved. Those are not true things because my God always loves me. So because of the truths that I know, I was able to keep those things in front of me and make sure that I was living to them. And if I was experiencing something other than those truths, I knew they were lies, and I needed to change my thinking. So it became a way for me to really predecide what I know to be true and measure what was happening in my life to that one truth. Looking at valuing relationships and making them a priority that meant I need to make the phone call. I need to get the people in the calendar. I need my husband to know that he’s a priority and that I’m loving and supportive of him even when I’m not running right here with him. It allowed me to get on paper the most important things. And then when life brought other opportunities, I was able to say, thanks, but this doesn’t fit right now. Because right now my plate’s full just doing these things. And so it helped me to make decisions and really to keep my priorities my priorities.
I think that’s wonderful. That’s beautiful. I mean, probably will inspire other people to write a manifesto
I hope so.
Yeah, I think it really did help me. It helped me have just that true north and stay consistent to it. And I still rewrite it every January and I still have a manifesto I pay close attention to, and it changes. The things that I need change. So sometimes I need to be, for example, that one was that, I lived at acted and extended grace and always, and that was something I needed to do. Grace was something in that season I had to be intentional about because the people that worked for me or the people that I was around, sometimes I didn’t want to show grace. I needed to be reminded that I could be a person who extended grace that I could make a choice to be graceful in each situation. So every year, God seems to bring some different words to my mind or different things that I need to work on. Those characteristics of myself. I think the truth telling and the honesty and those types of things are something that I also have to, sometimes we have characteristics we have to learn to appreciate about ourselves. And that helps us to keep in mind that we are who we are, and these can be gifts that we don’t have to pretend like that isn’t us or sugar-coated, or change it about ourselves, but rather we can be who God made us to be. And that’s okay.
That is okay. All right. Well, thank you. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah, I’m sure there will be other people will be inspired to, to take on their personal manifesto as well. Yeah. In the last part of your book, you share some thoughts that you found hope in.
Again, I think it can be really tricky, can’t it? In the midst of life’s disappointments to always look for the hope. I use this part in my book with a coaching tool called reframing. Reframing is the ability to take a situation and not sugarcoat it, not be Pollyanna and act like it’s a great, happy time. Right. But to take the reality of what it is and put a different frame on it. When we were cleaning out the house, we found some paintings that my mom did in high school. I had no idea she had done that, but they were rolled up in kept really good condition. They were watercolors and I decided I wanted to frame them and put them in my living room. And I wasn’t real sure that the colors were going to go with everything else in the living room. So I took it to a craft store and I put different mats around those pictures and different colored frames. And it was so interesting because when you change the frame, the picture changed. The pink stood out whenever I brought more of a burgundy in there, the green stood out whenever I had more of a blue around it. So how we frame something can change what the picture looks like. So for me, through the journey of both caring for my mom and dad, there were a lot of things that were very hurtful. They were really difficult to navigate through, but after losing my dad and really kind of reflecting on those things, I write at the very end of the book, this section that I want to read to you. Being able to evaluate the heartaches that came through my season of caring has actually helped me to find hope in the way the Lord has helped me to grow through the experiences. He allowed me to exchange the heartache for hope and for other things that have come out of this season of caring for my dad. I put together a list of heartaches that I’ve exchanged for the beauty of hope. I hope these can show you that you can do the same. Hope after my mom’s terminal disease or diagnosis. Building a closer relationship with my dad. Hope after watching my dad give up his job to stay home and care for my mom, learning what sacrifice really looks like helpful. Dad cares for your mom for 12 years in their home. Watching true love, lived out. Hope after feeding, bathing, and caring for my mom’s physical needs when my dad would let me, developing the ability to see someone’s needs without her being able to verbalize them. Hope after burying my mom when I was only 28. Seeing my mom through the eyes of others, that her funeral. Hope for life even when dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s seven years after losing my mom. I’m valued and important to God even when the unthinkable happens. Hope as dad’s disease progressed to needing 24 hour care. Experiencing my husband’s love and sacrifice shining through for my family and me. Hope after we decided to keep that at home. Growing a beautiful friendship with my sister. Hope will cleaning up poop, urine in blood, after accidents. Stepping into dad’s needs and putting aside any discomfort of my own. Hope after bearing dad 20 years after mom. Realizing I loved him, well, walked him all the way home and have no regrets. Hope while grieving the journey, a heart to serve others as they walk their parents home. There’s always hope.
That’s so powerful.
Reframing can really help us to see the same thing. I still lost my mom at 28. I still buried my dad 20 years later, but reframing helps us to see that though those things are painful and difficult. There’s also good from them as well.
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. There is always a gift in everything that happens. Experiences that are not as pleasant for sure. Well, thank you so much. I mean, it’s, it’s so rich and so heartfelt and authentic. And, and is there anything else that you want to share with our listeners?
So I think sometimes when people hear, well, that’s just your situation, Rayna But I want to really encourage you that it can be your situation as well. As a caregiver, it can be so hard and so lonely, and that’s where that team comes in. And that’s where support comes in. And though my support look different than maybe others support. I think that support is part of what helped me stay healthy and helped me to be able to really reframe the things that I needed to reframe and to experience the journey like I did. So I want to encourage you. There is hope you can love your parent well, walk them all the way home and still have a life that you love. I know that you can. So listeners, I really just want to encourage you to think about what might be in your way right now and what help you might need to be able to make a shift, make that pivot, to create the experience that you need it to be. I’d like to extend an invitation for you to join me in walking through No Regrets: Hope for Your Caregiving Season and being a part of a book study that I’ll be leading in June and July with the opportunity for us to walk through those chapters. Get on zoom, have some Q and A time and just really find maybe a different look to what support could be like for you. So I’d love to have you join us. It’s a free opportunity. You just need to purchase the book and sign up you can do that at A Season of Caring.com/community. Again, that’s www.aseasonofcaring.com/community. So if you would like to be a part of that, we would love to have you join us again. It’s a free opportunity to just walk through the books starting June 4th and we’ll spend about five and a half weeks having an opportunity to just talk through the different chapters, learn more about the tips and tricks that I use in caring for my aging parents. And hopefully encouraging you in your caregiving season, I’d love to have you be a part.
Well, that sounds great. So listeners if you are a caregiver, this is an opportunity for you to have some one on group time with Rayna talking about her experiences and how that can support you on your journey. Thanks again.
Just to remind A Season of Caring Podcast is created for the encouragement of family caregivers. If you have medical, financial, or legal questions. Please consult your local professionals and take heart in your season of caring.
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Meet Your Hosts
Rayna Neises, ACC
An ICF Certified Coach, Author of No Regrets: Hope for Your Caregiving Season, Podcaster, & Speaker, offering encouragement, support, and resources to those who are in a Season of Caring for Aging Parents.
Her passion is for those caring and their parents, that they might be seen, not forgotten & cared for, not neglected.
Karen Weaver, PCC
An ICF Certified Coach, Author, and Caregiver Advocate offers a safe space for self-discovery and self-reflection through career and life coaching.
Her passion is to support and empower those navigating change from a holistic perspective.