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Inspiring Conversations with Charlotte Bayala of Love Your Caregiving Life

Today we’d like to introduce you to Charlotte Bayala.

Hi Charlotte, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I started my caregiving journey in 2013 when my husband was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. We quickly learned that the cancer had spread and that there was very little chance of him ever being cancer-free. Within a matter of a week, our lives were permanently changed and we struggled to figure out how to deal with it all. I was stressed out, overwhelmed, and scared. I was a mess most of the time but tried to keep life as normal as possible for my family and tried to make it seem like I had everything under control… but I didn’t.

Finally, an aha moment made me realize that I had the skills I needed to turn my life around all along! Someone mentioned to me that I might want to try meditation to help me and it was like a slap in the face. Here I was, a meditation and yoga teacher myself, helping people handle their stress and I wasn’t using those skills to help myself.

After spending a lot of time stumbling through life as a caregiver, I was able to turn things around and use my training and experience to finally start enjoying my caregiving life. I chose to use what I learned to make it easier for other caregivers to find their way to love their lives again. I created the Love Your Caregiving Life Podcast to give caregivers a way to know they aren’t alone in the hardships and emotions they’re experiencing. I work to support caregivers on their way to thriving instead of just surviving not only with the podcast but also through private coaching and workshops.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I sometimes jump into things because it presents itself at a time when there isn’t a good reason to say no. I had originally thought of just doing a short video series on social media but someone suggested I do a podcast and it made sense. I didn’t do much research. I already had a microphone and just chose a hosting site that seemed safe. So the difficulty wasn’t in the technical set up it was in the process of writing. I didn’t realize how much I still hadn’t processed my own caregiving or how uncomfortable being that vulnerable would be. In the beginning, I would cry while writing episodes and it would wear me out. I almost gave up because I wasn’t sure how I could continue sharing this part of my life in that way. So I took some time to set boundaries and increase my self-care on the days and weeks I would write so it wouldn’t be so draining. I knew that if it was this hard for me to write about the things that all caregivers go through, in one way or another, then I needed to see if I could find a way to continue. I wanted to be the person I needed when I was a caregiver that could let me know I wasn’t alone.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Love Your Caregiving Life?
I am the creator of the podcast Love Your Caregiving Life that focuses on helping unpaid family caregivers know they are not alone in the hardships of caregiving and that they don’t have to give up hope of loving their lives again. Through my coaching program, I help caregivers learn how to make positive changes in their lives so they can enjoy living as a caregiver in spite of the hardships of caregiving. I am not just educating caregivers on the importance of caring for themselves but also giving them actionable ways to make that happen. Caregivers don’t have the time or energy to find ways to care for themselves on their own while most of them are continually told they must. Instead of just telling them what they need to do I show them how to do it and in the process, I help them find their way back to enjoying their lives with the person they care for.

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Image Credits
Axel Bayala
Jaede Bayala

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