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

Benefits of a Pity Party and Understanding the Dying Process

Episode 142

Rayna Neises, ACC, host, reflects on her interview last week with Charlotte Bayala (Episode 141). Charlotte discussed her caregiving season and how she is now helping others to be able to love their caregiving life. Rayna continues with the topic offering the following information:

  • [1:40] Putting on a caregiver identity can take some time.
  • [3:00] The caregiving season can surprise many people with how it impacts your identity.
  • [4:00] Caregiver is just another hat.
  • [5:00] Extending grace to yourself is something to work on.
  • [6:00] Ways to offer grace:
    • [6:57] Thinking about how you evaluate your mistakes or actions can help you have a picture of how to be a little kinder to yourself.
    • [9:14] Focusing on your behavior and not on who you are as a person can benefit you and make the situation better next time.
    • [9:38] Ask, “How would you treat a friend?”
  • [13:29] Your parents would not want you to give up everything. 
  • [15:50] This episode is brought to you by the Encouragement Series. It starts November 8th – 18th and is a free series offering you hope, inspiration, and encouragement. Visit EncouragementSeries.com to be a part.


*Transcript is an actual recount of the live conversation

[00:00:00] Charlotte Bayala: Quite frankly, if you don’t understand that your life has changed. And you don’t fully understand that you are now a caregiver and that is a new role. In the same way you would understand having a new job is a different part of your life, then there’s no way for you to find that path through all the difficult parts of caregiving and still have a part of you.

[00:00:29] Rayna Neises: That was Charlotte Bayala, our guest on episode 141, where we discussed her caregiving season and how she’s finding ways to help others be able to love their caregiving life. I so enjoyed my conversation with Charlotte. I hope well. If Hi, this is Rayna Neises, your host of A Season of Caring Podcast where there’s hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets. One of the things that really stood out to me as I was talking to Charlotte when she was talking about identity, [00:01:00] and I can really relate to how our identity shift when our roles shift. 

[00:01:07] I never had children of my own, but through marriage. I have grandchildren and I adore being a grandma. There is nothing better than the excitement that my grandkids have in their face when they see me. The love and the hugs. I love the identity of a grandma. Now, to be honest with you, when I first became a grandma, It wasn’t that easy it had only been a couple of years since I had had a miscarriage myself, and I was still really longing to be a mom, so I wasn’t sure I was ready to be a grandma.

[00:01:40] And putting on that identity took a little bit of time. I think the same thing can be true with the caregiver. Putting on a caregiver identity, it can take some time. Espei cially because it frequently comes along with a shift in many of our normal activities. Isolation [00:02:00] and the need to be at home with our loved one can cause that shift to happen gradually or suddenly depending on your situation. But that shift can then feed into the change of identity. And one of the things that Charlotte mentioned that I really liked was her comment about the fact that we are oftentimes comparing our current life with our former life. And we’re finding ourselves frustrated, disappointed, resentful that we don’t have our former life. And that’s a little bit understandable, but let’s think back. I mean, when we got outta college and we get real adulting going on, we can kind of look back and wish we could go back to that place in life, don’t we?

[00:02:48] So I think every season of life, every new season of life can bring desires. Or thoughts of how great the past one was. So I don’t think it’s [00:03:00] unusual to have some of these thoughts, but because caregiving can go on for a really long time, I think this season can be really surprising to many people of how it does impact your identity.

[00:03:12] I know for me, I went from being a small business owner to a teacher, again, to then really focusing on caregiving for my dad. I had my coaching business on the side, but when people ask me what I did, I really didn’t take on the identity of a coach. I took on the identity of a caregiver. So I can relate to that. Taking on that new identity can be a really difficult thing, especially if we’re struggling clawing to hold onto our old one. And I don’t think we have to let go of the old one altogether. I think we just need to put on a well. Just like you can put on the hat of mom and teacher or grandma and coach, you can put on different hats all at the same time. And [00:04:00] caregiver is just one of those specific hats. Again, one of the things that’s important though, is realizing that our caregiver hat does bring extra stress and really being kind to ourselves is so important in this season. So as we consider our identity, we definitely wanna consider what we’re comparing our current season, our current identity with, and if that’s causing us to have some negative effects or negative thoughts, stop and think about those things a little deeper, take a little bit more time, and really make sure that you’re being fair to yourself.

[00:04:39] One of the things that I found during my caregiving season that was so important was for me to grow in grace to myself. Being gracefilled towards others, oh I won’t always say its easy.. So I would say I’m definitely better at extending grace at looking [00:05:00] for reasons why maybe somebody let me down or something went the way that it did. But extending grace to myself was definitely something I had to work on. In fact, it was one of the things that I kind of set a goal for was to look for how I was being gracious to others around me or not, and then how I was being gracious to myself. My sister and I worked really well together in our season of caring for my dad. Not because extended grace to each other, we always valued our relationship over our. We valued our relationship over our once, and we made sure to always keep the common goal in mind, so no matter what we each needed to get to that goal, we found giving each other the grace to do what we needed to do, helped us to get there.

[00:05:54] So as you’re looking at your caregiving team, as you’re looking at your family and how you are supporting [00:06:00] your loved one, make sure you always keep that in mind. Offer grace, offer grace to let’s talk a little bit more about how you can do that.

[00:06:14] Positive psychology has a great tool that I wanted to share with you. We all make mistakes. We all do things people. How we evaluate our mistakes will not be the same way other people evaluate, evaluate their mistakes. Some people are very hard on themselves. Others have a tendency to look at things through a little different lens. So when you make a mistake, are you one that has a tendency to look at yourself as flawed or unworthy as a human being? Labeling yourself with a large, drastic label, are you one that has a tendency to kinda look at that and go, Ugh, sorry. I guess I shouldn’t have done it that way, or I’ll try to do it differently.

[00:06:57] Really thinking about how you [00:07:00] evaluate your mistakes or your actions that you might regret later can help you have a picture into how to be a little kinder to your. So let’s just think back, hmm, I don’t know, over the last couple of days in your caregiving season, name two or three things you wish you had done differently.

[00:07:23] Okay, so let’s just say, I’m gonna think back of when I was caring for my dad. Right away, I think of trying to get out the door to a massage appointment on Saturday. Some Saturdays I was really patient. Other Saturdays, I felt the push to get out the door and I wasn’t always as patient and as kind with dad in that season. So if I had not been kind and we had been kind of pushing and pulling against each other. Pushing against dad, or the regrettable action was making dad frustrated and not feel like he, The regrettable action was [00:08:00] frustrating my dad and making him upset.

[00:08:02] uh, in a negative, uh, evaluation of. I wasn’t nice. I was too short with him. I pushed him too fast. I wasn’t kind in my words. I’m not a very nice caregiver. Um, those could all be evaluations of me. Or I can evaluate the behavior. give us enough time.

[00:08:23] I should have remembered to offer him his hat and offer him an opportunity to get in the car on his own. I should have, um, you know, being able to evaluate the behavior, not me as a person. So notice the first examples where I’m not a nice caregiver, I’m not any good at. I don’t have any patience. Those kinds of statements are all about me, who I am as a if I can really stop and think about the behavior, I was too rushed. I didn’t have a calm demeanor about myself. [00:09:00] Um, the way that I approached him made him feel uncertain or uncomfortable. Those were all things about my behavior. When you think about this, do you feel differently about yourself?

[00:09:14] When you consider your responses of your behaviors versus your responses of yourself, which one can help you actually benefit on making the situation better next time and not making you feel like a bad. , obviously focusing on your behavior, not on who you are as a person. Just because you have a bad moment doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.

[00:09:38] We know that logically, but we have a tendency to forget in the me in the moment when we’re being hard on ourselves. The second tool I’d like to offer you in really having grace or self-compassion would be the tool of thinking to yourself. How would you treat a friend if a friend came to you and [00:10:00] shared during their caregiving season that they got really frustrated cuz they couldn’t get, Okay, I’m gonna give you another example of mine.

[00:10:08] One thing that could be difficult was getting dad to swallow his medicine. It was amazing the times that it would go really easily, and other times he would just hold it in his mouth and not swallow . It was such a strange thing of sometimes he would just get stuck and he would just, he wouldn’t spit it out.

[00:10:28] He wouldn’t swallow it. He would hold it in his mouth for a really long time and I’d be like, Dad, I know it tastes bad. Just spit it out or just swallow it. And he would. Look at you. And now I know that probably part of his brain was just not firing at that point, but in the moment it felt a lot like he was just plain to being stubborn.

[00:10:50] I mean, how hard is it? Just swallow the pills, right? there were times that he’d be like, Dad, just swallow. And I would try to rub his throat and I would try to do things, but it was very [00:11:00] frustrating and I’m sure that my frustration was he was able to sense. So if I was sharing with a friend was sharing with me about how frustrated they were when their parent wouldn’t swallow their pills, I would be like, Oh my gosh, that’s so hard.

[00:11:16] You know? I’m sure you did everything you could to help. I’m sure that you didn’t make it worse on purpose. You know, I would give them grace. I would give them encouragement to keep respond the best way they could have. So just asking yourself, you know, thinking about the same situation that your friend is in, thinking about the same situation you’re in.

[00:11:43] So thinking about the same situation you’re in right now, only make it your friend and that your friend is coming and talking that. How Grace? Your response to your friend should [00:12:00] Hmm. Really? That’s it.

[00:12:07] That’s not gonna work.

[00:12:12] So, okay, so I find a way to extend grace to myself. What difference does that? I’m glad you ask. long game, and if you are not finding to reduce your stress, you are only going to find yourself at a place of burnout and not in a healthy place to be a caregiver.

[00:12:30] So learning to. Focus in on what kinds of skills you have. So again, learning how to add different tools to your tool caregiver toolbox, including self-care tools are so important. So extending your self grace is one of those tools that I know can make a big impact on your life identity. Understanding that your identity, As a [00:13:00] caregiver is one of many hats, is also a tool that can be rarely helpful if you only leave the hat of caregiver on.

[00:13:08] You’re going to find yourself resentful, angry, and not a happy person. But if you remember to leave the hat of wife to leave the hat of of who you are in a multifaceted way is going to help you to be able to have the balance that you need in order to have the satisfaction of life that all of us.

[00:13:29] I frequently tell those that I coach, especially those that are working with, are caring for their aging parents. I frequently tell those that I coach those that are caring for aging parents. Don’t forget, you are your parents’ legacy. They would not want you to give up everything, all that you are and all that you were created to be, to care for them only.

[00:13:54] They want you to be happy and healthy. At the same time as they identity? How [00:14:00] do you need to grow your identity in other areas I am a good athlete. I’m going to go participate in sports. Okay, That’s not a good example, okay? . If my identity is of a teacher, then I teach, right? If my identity is of,

[00:14:24] if I friend, that tells me how I behave. So your behaviors and your identity are very closely woven together and spending the time doing some new behaviors can help you begin to take on a new identity. Let’s think of it in this way. If you haven’t been a person who’s done exercise, if you haven’t been a person who’s been in shape and you begin to behave like a what identity you would like to embrace again. And take one or two steps in that direction towards [00:15:00] becoming that person so that you will So today we’re adding two new tools to our caregiver toolbox. We’re adding the identity of a caregiver and many. And we’re adding the ability to offer ourselves self-compassion or grace throughout our caregiving experience, compassion or grace throughout in all areas of life. We know that caregiving is but we can offer ourselves grace and compassion and that will allow us to continue to do the best we can do, taking on new behaviors and new ways that will help us to begin to be the per the kind of caregiver we really want to be. Thank you for joining me today in this episode of A Season of Caring Podcast has been brought to you by the Encouragement Series., Starting soon Nov. 8-18th a free series offering you hope, inspiration and encouragement [00:16:00] Is a faith-based series that will offer you the encouragement you need to continue be the best caregiver that you can. Check it out@encouragementseries.com. I’d love to have you be a part. And remember this podcast is created for the encouragement of family caregivers.  If you have financial, medical, or legal questions consult your local professionals and take heart in your season of caring.

*This transcript is a literal recount of the live recording, please forgive the grammatical errors



This Episode was Sponsored by:

Encouragement Series

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Meet Your Host

Rayna Neises, ACC

An ICF Certified Coach, Author of No Regrets:  Hope for Your Caregiving Season, Podcaster, Positive Approach® to Care (PAC)Independent Certified Trainer & 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

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