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

Self-care is Self-preservation

Episode 95

December is Encore Episode month, where A Season of Caring Podcast shares the most listened to episodes of the year.  We will kick off the month with Self-care is Self Preservation.  Rayna Neises, your host, shares about self-care and how important it is to your ability to provide the care your loved one needs.  Listen in to hear the tips that have people talking.

  • The best self-care strategy is the one that you will actually use.
  • Pay attention to what has worked in the past and ensure you are still doing that.
  • Asking ‘What do I need?’ helps you to pay attention to what is required here and now.
  • Think about if you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.
  • Look over your schedule and build in rest.  Set an appointment with yourself and keep it.
  • The key to exercise is getting the blood pumping.
  • Buy back your time to have an opportunity to do things that bring you joy.
  • Stop and smell the roses.
  • Accept your difficult feelings.
  • Take the free Self-Care quiz.  Just text HOPE to 8 5 5 2 9 7 8 3 7 7.


*Transcript is an actual recount of the live conversation

Rayna Neises: 

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself and the other for helping others. This is a quote by Maya Angelo, and this is Rayna Neises your host and A Seasonal Caring Podcast. We’ve hit the time of year where I love to share with you our top four podcasts for 2020. Today this one is about self-care. And we talk a lot about self care because it is such a hard thing to do. And I love this quote because I hope that it’s not just age, that brings you to this discovery rather, but this season, this season that you’re in, this season of caring will help you to truly grasp and understand how important it is to have both hands active and engaged in life. One to honor, serve, love, and take care of your loved one well, throughout this season, And the other. To help yourself. To help you be sure to have a life that you love even while you’re caring. And once you have walked your loved one, all the way home to have a life to walk back into that will still find you happy and healthy and engaged with your loved ones. Have the relationships and career that you really want. That truly is my heart’s desire for you to engage both hands, helping yourself and helping others. I hope you enjoy this Encore podcast today of Self-care is Self preservation. Welcome to A Season of Caring Podcast where there’s hope for living loving and caring with no regrets. Hi, this is Rayna Neises your host. And I’m excited today to talk to you more about self-care. I don’t know about you but I don’t really like that word. And I have a guest coming up that’s going to talk to us about the reason why we pushed back on that. And honestly, I’m still thinking about her reasoning behind that. But self-care can feel, really like one more thing that has to be done. One thing that doesn’t feel natural. One thing that just can really push you over the edge I think. And I do like the thought of self preservation and honestly, caregivers that’s what self-care is it’s self preservation. You have to do it. You have to find a way to make it work in your life. And so I wanted to talk to you today about some things that maybe you’ve never thought of as self-care. And some tips and tricks to kind of see if maybe you can change your feeling about self-care. I know Dr. Leslie had some great practical tips. I really love that about what she talked about. And so I wanted to springboard off of that concept. And then our next podcast that’s coming up is going to be an in the trenches caregiver who wants to talk about how important self care is. And then it really brings joy. And I love that thought too. As I was doing some reading, I ran across this great quote by Dr. Stephanie Olarte. And she said, “Put simply the best self-care strategy is the one that you’re actually going to use.” How true is that? There are so many different conversations going on about self-care. And we have to realize that we have to focus on what works for us. And just because it works for me, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. And just because it works for you doesn’t mean it’s going to work for someone else. So really paying close attention to what is working, I think can make a big difference or what has worked in the past. I know there are times even in my life today where I kind of become aware of the fact that some of the habits that I had in place that were really supporting me in my self-care, I’ve let drop off. For example, I noticed not too long ago that I just wasn’t drinking water. And I’ve really focused on that for a couple of years and it had become, I thought a habit. But as I noticed I wasn’t feeling great. I started paying attention. I only was consuming about half the water that I had been consuming, and it really did have an overall impact on my health as far as just alertness, good rest, a lot of things. And so paying close attention to what helped you in the past or what worked for you? I think really can make a difference. So psychotherapists, Michelle Croyle says to start with this question. What do I need? How simple is that? In the moment to just stop and think, what do I need? Am I thirsty? Am I tired? Really just paying attention to what do I need right here. And right now. I might just need to take a deep breath. I might need to walk out of the room. And come back in the room. I was talking to a client the other day about just the difficulty of getting her mom to bed at night. And that was something I really struggled with with my dad as well. And I found there were times when he was just grumpy that I needed to just take a deep breath. Leave him alone for a bit and come back with a new attitude. Because they can really sense our frustration and their frustration can match our frustration. Just like our frustration can match theirs. So being in tune with what’s happening right now and what do I need? I might need a walk. I might need a deep breath. I might need to get a drink of water, but what do I need? What an important question to ask. Dr. Croyle went on to mention the HALT acronym. And the HALT acronym from what I understand is also well known in the recovery world. And so halt H A L T stands for- am I Hungry, Angry. Lonely or Tired? Wow. When you really think about those four things, when you’re not feeling like yourself, those four things can cover a lot of bases can’t they? Am I hungry. That’s a pretty simple one to solve, especially if we have healthy snacks like Dr. Leslie mentioned. Just easy to grab and go ahead and consume. Am I angry? Is there something happening? Is there emotion deeper down? That we need to maybe journal about or pick up the phone and talk to a friend or pray. You know, really spending some time figuring out where that anger’s coming from or what it’s directed at. Number three, am I lonely? Wow. As a caregiver, it can be really lonely. And I think sometimes we forget to even think that could be affecting our overall wellbeing. And then am I tired? Sleep is so important. We hear it a lot. We’ll talk about it more, probably in the future, but I really feel like good, deep sleep is a key to really helping our bodies to handle the stress of our season of caring. So now that you have an idea, you can ask yourself, what do I really need? You have those check-in things- I need to HALT I need to think about, am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? Then you can really think about what is my next step going to be. And you might be a person that needs to plan ahead a little bit. If you’re hungry, like I said, having the right snack close by that will be good for you. If you’re angry. Having some things that you know, help you work through that anger. If you’re lonely, having that friend that you can reach out to, or that support group that’s available online. And you can just hop on and ask for someone to chat with you, or leave a message and see the responses and have that conversation. If you’re tired. You might have to plan a little bit to get that nap in, but you also might need to just get up, do some walking around, get that blood pumping so that you can get that tiredness gone for the moment, because if you’re on, you’re on and there’s not a whole lot, you can do about that. Right? So I love some of those suggestions. I think when we go back to, if we’re tired, It’s really important to also learn to look at our schedules. Do we have the margin we need? Do we have the room in our schedule to recuperate? Many times our schedules are just full. And we’re running from one thing to another, to another. And that honestly can really get you to a place of burnout quicker than anything else. Things take longer than we think they do. We never seem to plan in enough time. So really thinking about, what is your schedule look like? Do you have built-in margin for rest? Whether that be a nap or just quiet rest for your brain? For yourself. It’s okay to make an appointment with yourself. And then if someone asks you to do something, you can honestly say, I’m sorry, you have an appointment at that time. Having set time on your calendar, blocked out for you to get what you need is important. So really making sure that you have spent the time doing that. Another thing to consider when you’re thinking about self-care, we all know how important exercise is, don’t we? We have a tendency to feel like it has to be a big thing, though. And that I don’t have time to put on the workout clothes to go to the gym or to do the big long workout. So really again, just thinking of those things, which can be quick and easy. The key is get your blood pumping. When you think about the fact that getting your blood pumping helps it to get to your brain, helps you to clear the fog. It helps you to produce the endorphins that really do impact you emotionally and physically. So how we’re feeling will be impacted by just getting our blood pumping. So if it’s just doing some jumping jacks or taking a walk around the house with your loved one, Dr. Leslie again, talked about that, but getting that blood pumping can make such a big difference. So thinking about what do you like to get your blood pumping. What would be your ideal? So for example, I really enjoy doing a Body Groove workout after dad was in bed. And so that was kind of my go-to, but what if we had a rough night? What if dad didn’t go to bed when he was supposed to. What was my backup plan? So that might just be some jumping jacks or some knee lifts, whatever it is to just get that blood pumping. Try not to skip a day because success breeds success. And so that movement will help you to do it again tomorrow. So have your plan a and your plan B in place. Another interesting thing that I found from Dr. Olarte was the concept of buying back your time. Most people she said are thinking of splurge as like massages and weekends away, and those kinds of things as being self-care. She wanted to challenge us to really think about how can you splurge on self-care things that actually are helping you buy back your time. Her question was what sucks joy out of your life? What is it that just you really dread? And what would happen if you were to buy back your time by finding someone to do that for you? I don’t know, I think cleaning would be at the top of my list. Some days probably cooking would also be on that list. Things that just are really burdensome for you and really in your caregiving season, it’s not important that you do those things. So I’m telling you all the time to look at it as your team. So my question would be. Who could you add to your team to take away some of these responsibilities that are sucking your joy and by buying back your time, then that opens the door for you to have an opportunity to do things that bring you joy. So making that investment might feel like it’s just not something you can do, but really thinking about it and deciding what is most important. And can you find a way to bring someone on your team to take care of those things? Thinking of self-care beyond the things like massage and respite weekends, which I think are great, let’s just do it all right? But really what would be helpful for you to buy back your time? What would be helpful for you to pay someone else to do in this day and age? Grocery shopping can definitely be one of those things. To just order it and go pick it up, can save a lot of time and probably money in the long run, from those spontaneous buys, but that can be a time suck. That’s really taking your joy. And so thinking about what are some creative ways to be able to buy back your time? And that kind of goes hand in hand with the next one that I had in mind. And that was really stop and smell the roses. When you’re able to eliminate the things that take away your joy, then you’re able to focus on the things that bring you joy. And in this caregiving season, really being able to slow down and smell the roses can make all the difference in who you’re caring for, for them. And for you finding those times, those moments of joy with the person that you’re caring for is a lot easier when you aren’t rushing from one thing to the next. I think we often have so many things on our to-do list from leaving work, to picking up the kids from school, to helping with homework, to check in on whether or not mom took her meds, calling to get that appointment. There’s just so many things that need to be done. We can find that we have crammed at all in the short period of time, both underestimating, how long it would take us to do it. And maybe the attitude or mental state of the people that we’re doing it with. And the kids might not be cooperative or the parent that you’re caring for might not be ready to rush. I used to always say my dad’s hurry button was broken. So anytime I needed to hurry, hurry, hurry somewhere that really put a lot of stress on him. And that meant it put a lot of stress on us together. So, learning to stop and smell the roses, taking the time, scheduling yourself to a point where you really can take advantage of the time that you have to get the job done well, and not put extra stress on yourself can make a big difference. Slowing down the pace, stopping to think about what things you can slow down, take those deep breaths and pay attention to your loved ones. Find the smile, create the laughter. It really can be a blessing to you. So I want to challenge you to think about how can you stop and smell the roses? And our final self-care tip for today’s episode is watching the shame involved in the feelings that you have during the season. Feelings, all kinds of feelings are definitely going to come up during this caregiving season. Really need to look at it a little differently feel shame around those feelings. We really need to look at it a little differently. According to an article on BestLife.com Dr. Imma Khazan a clinical psychologist suggests “accept your difficult feelings, such as sadness, anger, anxiety. All of these feelings are natural and normal. Fighting with them or trying to make them go away will not achieve the goal, but will get you stuck in those feelings. The more, you are able to accept your difficult feelings as they are, the freer you will be to move on from them and feel happier in the long run.” Don’t you agree? When you have found yourself in a place that you’re just ignoring your feelings rushing through life. When you stop and think about them and you feel bad about them and you don’t really feel them all the way through you just push them aside and keep going. You continue to feel stuck and icky, but when you actually have that good cry or when you actually talk through what you’re angry about, and think about it and think about how to deal with it Whether it be to talk to the person or talk to someone else to help you deal with the anger. That’s when you’re able to move forward, that’s when you’re able to feel better. So don’t forget to stop and think about when you’re talking about self-care where the emotions fall in the middle of it all because they really can play a big part. Both your body and your emotions need to be healthy in order for you to be successful in this caring season. So, I really want to encourage you to just stop and think about how you’re doing. What do you need to do differently? Who do you need to bring on to your team in order for you to feel better, stronger, healthier, and more capable of loving and serving your parents or your loved one better? All the way to the end, walking them all the way home with the best that you have to give, not the leftovers. This caring season, it is tough. And caring for yourself while you’re caring for a loved one. It is hard. There is no way around it. The key is to keep yourself as healthy as possible. And that’s why every person who’s been through this caring season looks back and says, I wish I had taken better care of myself. I wish I had been able to figure out how to take care of myself while I was caring for my loved one. The number one regret that I hear is that people did not take care of themselves at the same time as caring for the loved one. And I believe that when we don’t learn how to prioritize our own self-care that’s when we find ourselves with resentment and anger and all of those things that make this caring season even harder than it has to be. So, I’d like to offer you something right now. I want to offer you a Self-care quiz. And it’s just a simple little quiz. I’d like you to take and check-in with yourself on how you’re doing. Pick up your phone right now and text HOPE to 8 5 5 2 9 7 8 3 7 7. Again, just pick up your phone and text H O P E 2 8 5 5 2 9 7 8 3 7 7. When you do that by sharing your email address with me, you’ll be prompted to land on a special page that has the simple Self-care Quiz. That I’d like to offer you. Not only to take a quiz and see how you’re doing right now. If there are things that you need to think about adding into your schedule, or think about how to care for yourself better right now in the season where you are, or there’s also some additional free resources available there. So I’d love for you to do that. Take advantage of this opportunity to really think about how you’re doing with your self-care. So listeners, thank you for joining me today for one of my least favorite topics. I’m just joking. Or one of the topics I’m really passionate about. But I know it can feel overwhelming. And I think you’re going to enjoy our guests next week. And she’s going to tackle this topic as well. Self-care and joy and how they linked together in this caring season. And just a reminder, A Season of Caring Podcast is created for the encouragement of family caregivers. If you have financial, legal or medical questions, be sure to consult your local professionals and take heart in your season of caring.

Interesting articles to help with Self-care

  1. 40 Amazing Self-care tips You Have Never Tried
  2. 10 Expert-Approved Self-care Tips That’ll Change Your Life

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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