Hope for living, loving, and caring with no regrets!

Self-care is Self-preservation

Episode 79

Rayna Neises, ACC, host, reflects on thoughts shared during last week’s interview with Nicole Dauz.  Nicole has a great attitude about self-care and a good understanding of the necessity of it.  She provided tips on how to normalize self-care and this week Rayna expands on those and adds more ways to embrace and think about self-care.

    • Think about what brings you joy!
    • Self-care is about meeting your own needs, so you must stop and ask daily, “What do I need?” and then find a way to act.
    • Think about who you need on your care team to help you find the time to take care of yourself.
    • Find friends and family who help you escape the reality of your caregiving and put you in a different place.
    • Check out the support available online.
    • You are doing your best and guilt is not solving the problem.
    • Make the shift to be in the moment.
    • Join the 5 Day/15 Minute Self-Care Challenge at ASeasonofCaring.com/selfcarechallenge. It starts on Monday, August 16th and runs through Friday, August 20th!


*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 today we’re going to talk about self-care. I know we’ve been hitting this topic pretty hard recently, but I really do want us to talk a little bit more about self-care and how you can embrace it. I love Nicole’s attitude about selfi-care and her understanding of the necessity of it, especially in the thick of caregiving. I think so many times those of us that have been there before, look back and go, I wish, or I didn’t realize how important self-care was. I would say in my journey. I specifically stopped to think about self-care frequently so that when I allowed it to slip away I had checkpoints that brought me back to really thinking about self-care. But one of the things that I realized was that self-care isn’t just self-care. We use that word a lot as Nicole said, there’s a lot of things attached to self-care. But what I want is to really think about is the fact that it isn’t about those things. It’s really just about taking care of yourself. And I don’t know about you but there are seasons of life even when I’m not caregiving that that can be difficult. And I might not be doing as good of a job as I should, or I know that I can, or I know that I need to. I want us to really just like Nicole said, kind of normalize it and make it something that we really think about in a way that fits us. It’s about bringing you joy. Have you been doing that? Have you been bringing joy to your life? Have you taken time to think about what brings you joy. In No Regrets I talk about that as well, because I did find it was so important to spend time in what brought Dad joy. as well as brought me joy. And sometimes that can happen at the same time. Playing ping pong together. It brought joy to both of us. Going to the gym together. Most days, it brought joy to both of us. So being able to bring joy to ourselves and to our loved ones is really amazing. And it is really important. Sometimes it’s not possible to bring joy to you and to them when you’re together. So that’s what I want us to stop and think about. What brings you joy and when can you do that? I’ve shared before, with dad going to bed early I really tried to be intentional with the time between his bedtime and my bedtime. To do things that brought me joy. I know when I talked with Karen, once I mentioned this, but I found a subscription box that, sent stamps once a month. And so I wouldn’t take time to spread out all of the supplies and to make cards or to make the projects that came in the subscription box. And then I had gifts to give to other people, this is who I am. I love to do those kinds of things. So finding time to do it even while I was caregiving was really important. And then the times away as well was important for me. Having lunch with that friend, volunteering with a project at church, finding those things that brought me joy and finding a way to be able to do them when I was with Dad or when I wasn’t with Dad. So again, I want us to stop and think about this self care as just taking care of yourself. And there’s a few things that I thought of as I sat down to write about what taking care of yourself looks like in your season, right now in the middle of it. And that first one has a lot to do with what I just talked about. It’s meeting your own needs. Do you even know what you need? So many times we are in crisis mode, we are reacting, We are responding. And you might even be saying to me right now, Rayna, I don’t have time to think about it me. But what Nicole challenge us to do is to really just think about how many minutes in a day, and to really just say yes, you do. You do have time to stop right now and jot down How are you? How are you feeling? Are you feeling drained? Are you feeling miserable? Are you feeling lifeless? Are you feeling joyful? Are you feeling happy? What words would you describe where you are right now in this moment? And then I would encourage you to just check in with yourself each and every day. Whether that be the first thing in the morning, the last thing at night, when you brush your teeth, attach it to something you do daily, just that check-in. How am I emotionally? How am I spiritually? How am I physically? And then take the time to react to those things. If you’re not doing well, what do you need? That’s always my next question. What do you need? And find a way to meet that need. It might not be something you can do tomorrow. It might be something you have to set a goal and do in a week or set an appointment and do at that time. But even mentally knowing it’s coming can shift how you’re feeling. So really getting in touch with your own needs, I think is the very first place to start when we’re talking about taking care of you. The next thing is really getting the support that you need. I talk about it a lot you have to have a team of people. One person cannot do all of what you’re trying to do. There are resources out there. There’s community resources, there’s homecare companies, there are support groups. There’s all different kinds of resources available to you. Have you brought the people on your team that you need? I hope that’s really clear. That’s one time when a podcast is a little difficult, because I’d love to hear what you think when I say that. I really want you to understand that your team is anything that you need. It’s from the person that you hire to come in and clean the house. It’s the person that you hired to mow the grass. It’s the person that you hire to take your dad to the activity he loves that he doesn’t need you for Before we were doing 24 hour care and my aunt was living with my dad. We still paid caregiver. Dad loved to play volleyball. And there was a group of senior citizens that played volleyball three times a week. That was our first caregiver that we hired. She came in, she took him to volleyball, maybe they ran to the grocery store on the way home, but she had a set amount of time to allow him to do things he loved and to free up my aunt to do things she loved. So I really encourage you to think about who you need on your team to help you find the time to take care of you. There are people out there, there are opportunities and so it really is a shift of thinking, I think sometimes of just realizing we can find to help. So when we’re thinking talking about our own needs, we’re thinking about how we can get the support for our loved one that we’re caring for. That’s so important because it allows us space and time for our needs. But I think one of those needs that we often forget about is our own support. It is so important to know that you have that friend to call up and have that conversation with when you’re just really frustrated. Or like I mentioned before to be able to go to lunch with a friend and just laugh and be normal again. Maybe not think about what’s happening with your loved one that you’re caring for, but really just get back into that relationship, that friendship, and really spending time together. Sometimes you only have time for that quick phone call. I know for me, during my caring season one day a week, I actually took care of one of my grandchildren. A Graham Day, is what we call it. And we still do it, but that was huge for me. He was born in the middle of my caregiving season so to start off with just holding that baby and watching that smile and meeting his needs in a way that were so simple compared to some of the needs. I was trying to meet with my dad and then as he grow and as he wanted to play and we fell in love with the farm and playing in the sand pile and going outside. To just climbup and down on the tractor or maybe take a tractor ride. Those were things that were supportive of me. They brought me joy. So sometimes when we think about getting support, we’re always thinking about support groups or we’re thinking about a counselor, maybe a coach. Those are all great things, but sometimes it’s just the support of that person, that individual who helps you kind of escape the reality of your caregiving and put you in a different place. And allow you to enjoy and find joy in that moment with them. So think about the support that you need. Think about not only building the team of people that do it for you, thinking of those team members also as those friends and family who give you the emotional support. Or the spiritual support that you need. I am a Christian and my faith is a big part of my life. And one of the things that I did to support myself while I was not as engaged in my church as I had been before. Was finding online Bible studies. Proverbs 31 has some great online Bible studies. I also joined some things with Lifeway, so there’s lots of opportunities out there to find that connection in group that maybe you’re missing because you are caregiving. I know that at certain seasons of caregiving, it’s not realistic to be able to leave the house and join in these groups in person. So that’s one thing I love about this time in season there are tons of resources available online. Support groups are the same way. So I lead a support group. It’s free once a month, just check out my website at www.Aseasonofcaring.com and find out when we’re meeting. We have been moving it around, trying to find a good meeting time for you. So just join us, an opportunity to talk with others. To be able to really express how you are and get that support from those who understand. I know, Nourish for Caregivers also has a free online opportunity as well as things like the Alzheimer’s Association. Different groups have online options, especially because of COVID right now. So look at what’s available find the support that you need. You might not think you’re a support group person. But you might just surprise yourself. So I challenge you. One time. Go one time and see what it’s like. If it’s a good fit for you. We’re thrilled if it’s not, that’s okay to find what works for you. It might be a great friend. It might be you need that one-on-one conversation with someone like a coach. That’s what I love to do is to be able to talk with people who are in this season and really hear what’s going on with them and help them find their own solutions to the challenges that they’re facing as well as offer support in any way that I can. So there are lots of opportunities from friends, family to professionals and organizations. So don’t short yourself on the support that you need so that when you’re on the other side of your caregiving season, you can look back with no regrets. You can feel that you lived a good life as well as gave your loved one, a good life in this season. The next thing I thought about was really the guilt. So many people struggle with the guilt. I guess, I just want to say banish it. Kick it out. Don’t allow yourself to sit in it. It’s not true. If you’re listening to this podcast today, you want to be the best family caregiver you can be, I know that. I know that you are doing your best. It might not feel like your best is enough, and you might need to bring some additional support in so that both you and your loved one are getting the best support possible. You might need to bring someone else in to support you in this season that’s so challenging. But guilt is not solving the problem. So, accept that you’re doing your best acknowledge, the efforts that you’re making, and maybe you need to actually make a list of all the things that you’re doing, just so you can understand how much you’re giving and really realize there’s no reason to feel guilty. You are doing your best. If you’re finding yourself at the end of your rope and you can’t say that about what you’re doing right now. You can’t say that you’re doing your best. Find help, go back to the first three things I’ve said, get the support that you need. Get the support for your loved one. It might mean you need to do something different with your loved one. I’ve shared before we had dad in a day stay program, he went to a place where there were paid professionals that were great with him. There were peers that were in the same boat as he was, and they offered activities, stimulation, just all kinds of great things that he really enjoyed. So don’t close off the opportunities of finding outside support. If you’re not feeling that you’re doing your best. If you’re doing the best that you can, when you lay your head on the pillow every night, you just need to say I did my best and be okay with that. It really is okay. A lot of people struggle with feeling like they’re never can do enough. And if you feel like you can never do enough, it’s not true. So banish that guilt and really take care of yourself. The last suggestion I have in taking care of you is really learning to focus in the moment. Celebrate life and family. It’s hard to see the changes in your family. It’s hard to realize, oh, we really can’t go out to dinner anymore. Or, oh, they really can’t travel anymore. Changes are hard. And that’s part of the season. It’s full of small losses and learning to be in the moment and celebrate where you are right here right now with your life, with your family. It really will make a difference. I can’t encourage you enough to, make that shift. So when you’re feeling the stress, I say, take a deep breath. Hold it for a little while. Let it out. Look around and see what’s right in front of you. What can you be thankful for? What can you engage in? That will bring you joy right here in front of you? If it’s cooking dinner for your level. Smell it. Think about how good it’s going to be. Think about where the recipe came from, who gave it to you? When was the first time you ate it? What do you love about it? What does your loved one love about it? Might be something you don’t love. But think about how it can bring you joy right there in that moment. Celebrate the opportunity to eat with your loved one. To spend the time with them. I know as I look back on my caring season, I realized that I would never have spent the amount of time with my dad as an adult, as I did, because I was caring for him. And in those moments, looking for the time to be able to laugh together. To be able to find that smile from him, I just think it’s irreplaceable and I’m so thankful for those memories. There were a lot of icky stuff. There was, there was a lot of difficult times. But at the same time, there were a lot of good times. And being able to really celebrate those times and be there in that moment making memories for yourself right now can help you with taking care of you. It will fill you in ways that you don’t even realize you need. So celebrate life. Find reasons to celebrate with your loved ones. Think of each time as a last time celebration, because we really don’t know when the last one will be. Develop new traditions and rituals, possibly bring back some old ones. If there are memories or things that you used to do together. Bring those back and go back and do those things together again. Adult’em. If there were tea parties that you remember having fun with have a tea party, make some cookies together and enjoy some tea. Sing some songs, play games, do crafts, get outside, think about things that you can do right here and right now to celebrate life and your loved one. So I hope that today, as we’ve talked about taking care of you that I’m giving you some really practical, basic ideas of how to do that, because honestly, that’s what taking care of me is all about. It’s about finding the things that will feed your soul and give you joy. Even in this season, that’s full of heartache and struggle. As you spend time thinking about how you can take care of you I would love, love to have you join us. Nicole spurred my brain and got me thinking about offering a simple, truly, truly simple challenge. Five day. 15 minute, Self-care challenge. Remember, we’re defining self care is taking care of you. Bringing you joy. So, if you can find 15 minutes each day to do that for yourself. I want to invite you. I want to challenge you to be a part of this five day challenge. To do that you just need to visit my website at www.Aseasonofcaring.com/selfcarechallenge, all one word. ASeasonofCaring.com/selfcarechallenge, all one word. When you sign-up I’ll send you some information and want to get you plugged into our group on Facebook. And we will be doing just 15 minute challenges. So I want to invite you to be a part of this, to join us on Facebook so that we can hear what things you’re doing and get ideas of things that maybe we haven’t even thought of. So join us for this five day challenge. Again, www.aseasonofcaring.com/selfcarechallenge. The five day self care challenge begins Monday, August 16th, And we’ll run through Friday, August 20th. It’s just 15 minutes of doing what brings you joy? We ask you to share with us so we can get ideas of things that you’re doing that maybe we haven’t thought of before. I look forward to you being a part of this challenge. I can’t wait to meet you all on Facebook and see what you’re up to and taking care of yourself. Again. Our challenge will be August 16th, through the 20th to sign up today, just visit www.aseasonofcaring.com/selfcarechallenge. I look forward to seeing you there. Thanks for joining me today ,just a Reminder. A Season of Caring Podcast is created for the enjoyment of family caregivers. If you have financial, legal or medical questions, be sure to contact your local professionals and take heart in your season of care.

  1.  Paper Pumpkin– Subscription paper crafting box
  2. Online Bible Resources:  Proverbs 31 & Lifeway 
  3. Nourish for Caregivers
  4. Caregiver Chat with Rayna

Join the Self-Care Challenge

5 day self-care challenge

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Meet Your Host

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.

Rayna Neises, ACC

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Rayna Neises: A Season of Caring