“Just gotta get through this day” (Episode 70)

Is the saying “I’ve just gotta get through this day” the only thing that’s getting you through most of your days? You’re not alone! Join host Kay Coughlin to find out how to use this very common saying as a clue to get what you really need out of daily life. As always, there’s no judgment and no guilt here.

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Transcript of episode is below.

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Do you need to find a way to get some rest, even if you believe that you can't possibly take care of yourself when the people around you need you so much?

Most of us have been taught that we can't (or shouldn't) prioritize ourselves because there are just too many other things to do first, and too many people to take care of first. But that doesn't have to be true! You can get some rest and you don't have to figure it out by yourself.

Kay Coughlin created the "From One Caregiver to Another"® membership community to empower and encourage family caregivers and sandwich family caregivers to set boundaries, get rest and feel less alone.

Transcript: “Just gotta get through this day” (episode 70)

Hi there. I’m your host Kay Coughlin. And you’re listening to From One Caregiver to Another. I am a life coach for family caregivers and sandwich family caregivers, like me, who want to get some rest and feel less lonely. I taught myself how to navigate all of my responsibilities and get into the mindset I need so that I can set boundaries, have self-compassion and prioritize myself so that my needs get met too. And that’s what I help my clients do also. And if we can do it, I know you can, too.

This is episode 70.

Something I hear a lot of family caregivers say is, “I’ve just gotta get through this day.” And honestly, it’s something that I’ve said a lot too, which is probably how I recognize it when other people say it. So like a lot of these sayings that we have, they just seem like normal things to say.

Well, there are times when it’s totally okay, and it’s not a problem at all. But there are times when these sayings are really hiding something bigger for us.

And yes, there are times when saying “I’ve just got to get through this day” is actually true. I mean, we’re talking about maybe an event or a project that’s due, something that’s short term. I can remember thinking this about my wedding and that’s been 27 years ago now, in the weeks that were leading up to my wedding, I had so much to do. That’s probably some kind of massive understatement, but even then I knew that it was temporary. There was an end date. My wedding was going to happen. And then things were going to calm down.

Saying this, “I’ve just got to get through one more day,” it was also true for me last summer, when we had a big party in our front yard for one of our son’s graduation.

And it’s true for me now when my mom has a flare up of her health condition. Her health condition is not serious, but when it happens, it does mean that I need to be with her a lot more for a few days, but it’s temporary. It’s, it’s never something that’s a long-term problem.

And yet there are times when we say this and we’re really talking about something that’s ongoing or chronic. And then that’s a good time to sort out what’s going on. But how do you know the difference? If you find yourself saying “I’ve just got to get through this day,” how can you tell if it’s a short-term thing or if it’s really become a long-term issue that’s keeping you stuck or holding you right in place, right where you are.

One of the questions I ask my clients a lot is, “Does this happen to you a lot? Has it been recent or is this something that’s been going on for a while?” Now, this question gives me a lot of information about whether the situation is chronic or not. Now, if it’s not a chronic or ongoing problem, if it’s just something temporary, we might not even need to talk about it.

Like when my mom needs extra help from me for just a few days, that’s something that I can manage and I have learned to work around it. Now it is exhausting for a few days, but it’s not a really big deal in the long run for me or for her. That’s a time when getting through a single day is a what I need. And when I say it, it’s what I really mean too.

But when I ask my clien, “How often does this happen and how do you feel about it?” If they start to kind of hedge a little bit, I know that we’re probably on to something that we could stand to explore a little bit together. I always remind them that I’m not here to judge them. And I want to remind you of that. I’m not here to judge you either. If you’re listening to this, every answer to this is totally okay. And once I remind them of that, we can dig in a little bit.

So how about you, you, the listener right now? If saying, “I’ve just got to get through this day” has become some kind of a mantra that really does get you through your day, every single day? First of all, you are totally normal. There is nothing wrong with you. This is something that we’ve all picked up from our culture and after all, we’re only human. So you’re just fine, but it could be a cue that you need some things that you’re not getting. Things like help and rest and maybe community.

Well, how do you know if that’s what’s going on? I’ve got a bit of a list here to answer that question for you. If you’ve listened to any episodes in the past, then you know that I like my lists a lot. So here I’ve got one. All right, I’m just going to go through this:

If you are trying to distract yourself with things that you don’t think are healthy for you like food or alcohol or Netflix, that’s a real sign that getting through your day has gotten to be really tough and really challenging for you.

If you are feeling resentful, rundown, or burned out. Now, I talk about these a lot when I talk about setting boundaries too, because they’re also signs that you might need to set boundaries.

If you wake up feeling uninterested in the day that’s ahead. Or if you wake up feeling like you want to escape, and if that’s been going on for a while, then you’ve got more going on than just getting through the day.

Here’s an interesting one. If you know that your situation looks really hard to the people in your life who see you every day, but you find yourself pasting on a smile, really straining to pretend that everything is fine. It might be more than just a single day that you’ve got to get through.

If you are comparing your life or your situation in any kind of negative way to the people around you or the people that you see on social media. And if you’ve been doing that for a long time, that’s a sign that it’s probably more than one day you’ve got to get through. Just a little side note here: in the business of self-awareness, we actually call this “compare and despair.” It’s a catchphrase that we kind of throw around in my world. If I happen to use it sometime here, I just want you to know I realize not everybody uses that phrase, but it’s one that I hear a lot.

Another one here is that if you’ve given up hope and this is like, if you’ve given up all hope that you could possibly be in a different situation or that you could still have a future, if only you could do things a little bit differently, or if something could change, if you’ve given up all hope, then this is more than “I’ve just got to get through the day.”

Another one here is, actually, this is the last one I’ve got. If you find yourself making excuses for the behavior of the people around you a lot. And if you’ve been doing that for a long time. So in other words, if you’re trying to pretend that their behavior is okay and that it doesn’t bother you, or if you’re trying to kind of shield other people from the behavior of the people around you, that’s more than just knowing that you have to just got to get through this day in a short term way.

So, what can you do if you are caught in this loop of saying to yourself, I’ve just got to get through this one day. And if you’re using that every single day, still just trying to put one foot in front of the other. Now, remember I already said that if you’re in the middle of this, you’re totally normal.

So, what I want you to know is that you can learn new skills to get yourself out of this loop, if you want to. The first thing to do is just notice it, just notice that it’s going on, because once you can recognize that you’re doing it, that you’re saying this and using this as some kind of a prop to get through your days, then you can decide what’s right for you instead.

Now I do want to tell you that observing, so that you can be mindful and more aware, is always the first step that I teach. And if this is you right now, if you’re just noticing this, because you can really identify with, I mean, anything that I’ve said in this episode, you are already doing this first step. And I want you to know that you really deserve a virtual high five from me. I know you can’t see me, but if you could see me, you’d see that I’m high-fiving you right now.

The next thing that you can do is get some help. Some of these things that I listed off as signs that saying “I’ve got to get through this day” is more than that for you, that it’s more serious than that. Some of these things can also be signs of depression or some other conditions where you might need some help from a professional. So when I say to get help, please know that calling your doctor or your mental health provider is always something that you can do. That’s always something available to you. You can also work with a life coach like me. So if you work with a life coach, call that person.

Or you could join a support group where you can get personalized, real-time help from a professional and from other people in your situation.

And of course, if you can get some help with whatever you can in your own life, and maybe for you, that’s doing chores or getting help with transportation, maybe it’s help with cleaning the house or making some meals, getting your groceries delivered to you. Whatever, I don’t know what that is for you. Look, I know that getting help with anything really, including daily life is, is just a really big obstacle for a lot of us. It is hard to ask for help and it’s hard to receive help. That’s one of the reasons it comes up so often in my podcast episodes. So if you’ve noticed that as a theme, you are correct. It runs through these episodes a lot.

But I don’t want to ignore this idea of asking for help and receiving help just because it’s really hard to do. It is one of the best things that you can do for yourself.

If you really feel like you’re kind of dragging your tail every day, just trying to get through the day. Another thing that you can do is get a fresh perspective on things that are going on. This is a hard one, because if you have a lot of people in your life who are telling you that this is the way that things have to be, or maybe they’re saying to you, “well, this is how a good person would handle this.” Like implying that you’re not a good person because it’s hard for you. Or maybe if the people around you are saying to you, “this is just your job, this is the way it is, and stop complaining.” I’m going to tell you that it’s time to find some other people who can help you get a healthier perspective on your situation.

You know, it’s always possible to find a healthier group of people to help you see that the messages that you’re hearing might be keeping you stuck and actually might be keeping you in that place of where you feel like you just have to get through another day. So please never underestimate the power of adding some new people to your group of friends or to your community, which leads me to the next one.

It is to get some community. We as family caregivers and parents, and I mean, heck just as humans, we can become isolated, especially if we’re trying to just get through another day and pretend to the people around us like things aren’t as difficult as they are.

So this is one of the exact reasons that I created my monthly membership for family caregivers and for parents as well. The membership is compassionately priced. If you go take a look at it, you won’t even believe how low it is for a monthly membership. And I’ve done that so that it really can be within reach of as many caregivers as possible.

So there’s my membership, or, you know, you can find community in your neighborhood or maybe if you worship somewhere or maybe at work, the point is, if you feel alone, you are alone. You’re not wrong. Trust your gut on this. So find some people to be in healthy relationships with and spend some time with them and let them help you observe and notice what’s really going on with you right now.

I actually did a whole podcast episode on this one about getting community that’s number 58, and it’s called breaking the cycle of loneliness. As of the day I’m recording this, it is my most popular episode. So you might want to go give a listen to that one.

The next one here is to get some rest. I know this can be a tall order. I wrote a guide about it. It’s called “How to Rest” and it’s available in my, in my membership, but it’s also available in my free community to talk about boundaries. So I’ll leave a link to that community in the show notes also.

I know that this suggestion to get some rest can sound like a cruel joke sometimes, but it’s not a joke. It’s a basic human need. And I mean, basic. So if you aren’t getting rest, it is going to catch up with you sooner or later, some cracks are going to show. It’s going to start showing in your life and maybe in your relationships and probably in your health.

I know there are lots of things getting in your way about getting rest. So if this is really hard for you, tell a friend who will listen or talk to a professional and do it as soon as you can, please, it is really that important and there’s no guilt or shame or judgment in this either. If you’re not getting rest, it’s kind of just a fact, you’re just not getting read. But even though there’s no guilt or shame or judgment in it, it’s still serious. And I would not be helping you at all if I just ignored it

And the last one that I’ve got here, things that you can do if you find yourself saying, “I’ve just got to get through this day.” Is to set boundaries and this shouldn’t be a surprise to you if you’ve listened to any of my podcasts, I talk about boundaries a lot. Oh. And of course I’ve got that whole community over there, called the Boundaries Community where that’s about having a safe place to talk about boundaries with other people who want to talk about boundaries. I really want to be the first person to encourage you to see boundaries, set boundaries and communicate boundaries to other people.

I know those are really hard, but you can do it. See that as a tool that you can have in your tool belt and that you can use so that you can put some things in place so that you can start getting what you need and what you want out of your life too.

Across my podcast episodes, I’ve talked a lot about so many common experiences that we have and that we share, and that happened to us just because we’re humans. And I think it’s really important to recognize that there’s a real sense of common humanity in this. So if you are saying, “I’ve just got to get through this day,” or “I’ve just got to get through this hour or this week,” or whatever you’re saying or whatever that sounds like to you, you can look at it as a very human thing to happen.

It’s a very human thing that you’re doing, a normal thing that you’re doing, and you can look at it as a cue, a cue that it’s time to stop and take a breath and maybe ask yourself what you need instead, reach out and get some help if you need it. Definitely get some rest. Talk to somebody if you need to and if you can. And then you’ll be able to decide if there really is something else that you want to get out of your days and out of your life.

And if there are some changes that you might want to start making in your life, maybe you want to start setting some boundaries. Maybe you want to start talking to some new people or some different people so that you can get a fresh perspective on your life. If you are saying to yourself, “I’ve just got to get through this day.” And it’s really something that you’re saying because you’ve got some long-term things that are keeping you stuck. You don’t have to stay stuck. You can get out of that loop.

If you liked this episode, you have to go check out my monthly membership for family caregivers. And that includes parents who want to get some rest and feel less lonely. It’s the place for emotionally-safe community, brave self-development and self-compassion. You’ll find the link to it in the show notes and over in my Boundaries Community. I can’t wait to be with you again in the next episode, From One Caregiver to Another.

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your guide

Kay Coughlin, leadership and life coach and CEO of Facilitator On Fire, is on a mission to help family caregivers get rest and feel less alone. In every forum she can find, she shouts that it's OK for every human to set and enforce boundaries around their bodies, thoughts, feelings and actions. You can join Kay's free, private online community to talk about boundaries here.

Kay also teaches about emotional labor, how to rest, and Human Giver Syndrome, and is the host of the weekly "From One Caregiver to Another" podcast and author of "From One Caregiver to Another - Overcoming Your Emotional Grind." She is well known for coaching family caregivers and sandwich family caregivers who want help to live happier lives.

When Kay works with businesses, she helps teams understand how to work with people of different ages through her decision-making workshops and "Building Trust Across Generations" seminar. 

Facilitator on Fire is a subsidiary of Donor Relations Mindset LLC, which Kay founded in 2015. She lives with her husband and children, and is the primary caregiver for her own mother, in central Ohio. Kay can be found on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Copyright 2022. All rights reserved, Julia Kay Coughlin and Facilitator On Fire.

#Boundaries #HumanGiverSyndrome #EmotionalLabor #FamilyCaregivers #familycaregiver #SandwichFamily #CaregiverSupport #HowToRest #Caregivers #Loneliness #selfcare #mentalhealth #burnout #stress #caregiverburnout