78: Caren Cooper in the Not So Empty Nest Number 6
Hello, my ah-mazing empty nest friend!
In our Not So Empty Nest series, today, I chat with Caren Cooper, another magnificent human who I have connected with through Linkedin. Caren has a daughter who is a freshman in college and a son in eighth grade.
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What You Will Learn in this Episode
- Meet Caren Cooper
- Caren’s COVID-19 Social Distancing experience
- How her family has been impacted
- What Caren loves, has found funny, has found surprising and needs help with right now
- What Caren wants you to know
- Some of Caren’s favorite resources
First Time Here? Try This Order of Episodes
- The Your Empty Nest Coach Podcast Trailer
- Series 1: Empty Nest Prep – starts at episode #3
- Series 2: The CEO of Your Life – starts at episode #64
- Series 3: The CEO Toolbox – starts at episode #88
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast. … Hello, my most likely, not-so-empty-nest listener. Are you busy training up your Protector? Or does your Protector run your mind right now?
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast. Christine? Yes, Christine? You know with the social distancing implemented due to COVID-19, that your listeners may not be in an empty nest right now, and they may be struggling with an unexpected full nest. I mean, listen to that racket in the kitchen. You’re right about that. You are listening to the Not So Empty Nest Podcast, with Coach Christine. Is that better? I think at least for the near future it might be a good call. Sounds like a plan.
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Hello, my most likely, not-so-empty-nest listener. Are you busy training up your Protector? Or does your Protector run your mind right now? It would be completely understandable, after all. They take their job of protecting us incredibly seriously, but just a reminder that you have the ability to become the CEO of your life. Yes, even during COVID-19. It is actually an incredible time to level up in ways we couldn’t have imagined a few weeks ago. If you haven’t yet listened to my “CEO of Your Life series,” I invite you to check it out now. It begins at episode number 64. But for today, today I welcome Wellness Warrior, Caren Cooper to the show.
Caren is another amazing human I have had the pleasure of meeting on LinkedIn. She’s here to talk about her COVID-19 social distancing experience so far. Thanks for being here, Caren!
Caren: Thank you for having me, Christine. I really appreciate it.
Christine: Yeah, it’s a pleasure! Tell me, Caren, what is your family experiencing due to COVID-19 right now?
Caren: A lot of upheaval. My daughter is a freshman at college, and so she was enjoying college life, and she’s now home, not enjoying college life. She got into the sorority of her choice, so like, kind of, sort of, life came to a screeching halt, and my son is in 8th grade, in middle school. He’s supposed to be enjoying senior activities and he’s not. I get that in the grand scheme of things, that’s not the worst thing, but in our house, it’s a little trying, quite frankly. It’s been an interesting few weeks right now.
Christine: Yes. Yes. It’s a lot. It’s a lot for each of them. It’s a lot of emotion that they need to process.
Caren: Yes. Yes.
Christine: The one thing that I just keep hearing from everyone, is all of these losses that we all have in different ways that we really need to take time and give our family members the time to mourn them and process through them.
Christine: And know that they may look like they’re good, one day, and then two days later they may have a hard time.
Christine: It is difficult to navigate that in a small space. So, wow.
Caren: Yeah, and they’re teens. My daughter’s 18, my son is 14, so add the whole teenage angst part of everything into all of this. I’ve just been saying to them that I agree that it sucks. I know that it sucks, that’s why I’ve been saying a lot to them, let’s embrace the suck. There’s nothing we can do about it and how do we figure out a way to go about it. He’ll start virtual learning Monday, my son, and my daughter will start 3/30, so they’ll still have school, just not in the same way that they had anticipated.
Christine: Yes. Seriously embracing the suck, that is really important. There’s one thing, I think, so many of us think life’s supposed to be perfect, so we spend so much of our life being mad that it’s not the way we expect it to be. Embracing that and learning. I mean, here’s an amazing opportunity to learn that. We’ll all be great at it now.
Caren: Exactly. But I also, with the expectation, you know, when you were talking about expecting our lives to be perfect and stuff, A, we’re so far from it it’s ridiculous, but B, I’ve seen Tony Robbins live and I actually enjoy him. One of the things he actually says is trade your expectations for appreciation, and that’s really stuck with me. Especially now, because, listen, we fight, we argue, even though I try to remain positive and motivational and stuff like that, it just is real life. But when you’re expecting something and then you don’t get it, it’s because you’re expecting it and that’s why you’re mad at it.
Caren: But if you’re just appreciative of whatever it may be, you know, today’s my husband’s birthday. He turned 50 today.
Christine: Oh, happy birthday to him.
Caren: He’s 50 today, and it’s just like, well… you know what I mean?
Caren: So, I went out and I did get him a Carvel cake and what not, but it’s like, okay, how do we be creative? My daughter made, actually, a five-minute video of all memories she had of him, and we actually made homemade cards, like we were little kids again. That’s the thing. That’s what I mean by appreciation and just sort of not expecting anything. Even though it’s his birthday, you have to do something a little bit outside the box. So it forces us to get creative, if nothing else.
Christine: Yes. It is. Wow, I love that. Thank you for sharing that.
Caren: No problem.
Christine: That’s really nice. What day of, I’m calling it social distancing, what day would you say you’re in right now, your family?
Caren: Oh, Lord.
Christine: Like, are you on day 5? That you’re all home?
Caren: Yeah, I mean, I was sent home from my corporate job last Friday. But over last weekend we went out, so I would say this past week, so day 6. I guess. Five or six.
Christine: Got it. Okay. I’m asking my Instafamily to share their social distancing daily check ins, and I would love for you to share yours today with us. Are you willing?
Christine: Okay, great! So, for today, this is today specifically. Tell me something that you have loved?
Caren: I loved the video that my daughter made. I loved how even just right before we started on this podcast we were just laughing and giggling as a family, and my husband was joking around like he was in Arirang doing hibachi, and I just love the fact that we were just enjoying ourselves, even in this insanity.
Christine: That’s wonderful. How about surprising?
Caren: Oh, that’s a good one. Surprising was, my side-business is a health and wellness business, and we had a virtual Super Saturday, and I was surprised at how I felt virtually. Usually when you’re at these events you feel the emotion and you feel so amazing, and you feel the community. Even virtually, I was surprised at how incredible I felt doing the training that they had. It was ridiculous.
Christine: That’s wonderful. Excellent. All right. How about funny? You mentioned a funny. Do you have a different funny, or would you say it’s the same thing? Something you found funny today.
Caren: No, no. Funny is actually, my friend who does health and wellness with me, the volume was really low, so we were sending each other ridiculous pictures, like ears to the computer, just like silly, ridiculous things that we were doing while the training was going on. Because it’s just, you have to be silly and ridiculous, no matter what they do.
Christine: You do. Yes, it helps. Laughter helps. It really does.
Caren: It really does.
Christine: Yes. Okay, and then, right now, something that you could use help with?
Caren: You know, I want to say I need help because I’ve been trying to share my health and wellness with people, and share that there is a backup. I’ve been trying to be like, not-in-your-face about it, because I know people are really scared and really nervous, and people have been affected in terms of their jobs and whatnot. I have, my husband has, so I get it. But I feel like I need the help with showing people and helping people understand, and even people joining me on this health and wellness journey because there is A, to be healthy, anytime, but B, there is a plan B in terms of earning income. So I just want to not be that person, in that way, but I’m coming from a place of caring and love, and just showing you that it doesn’t have to be, oh, my God, how am I going to feed my kids? It doesn’t have to be that way.
Christine: Yes. This is a really good answer, and the reason why I like sharing these is I know another listener of mine will have this same thought, right? I’ve seen it online, where people are like should I even talk about my business? Should I not talk about my business? It feels weird. I think the key is, what’s your motivating factor, and I can tell for you, it’s the fact that you know you have this thing that can help people, whether they’re sick or not, at all times.
Christine: You can tell when someone is talking, what their motivating factor is. I mean, I have had connections on LinkedIn this week that: “Hi, would you buy this?” All right. Are you on this same planet I live on?
Caren: I used to be that person, so I can relate.
Christine: We’ve all started somewhere, so it’s good. There’s growth, right?
Caren: Exactly. Exactly. Exactly.
Christine: So I think having a little grace — it’s funny, because normally, I would just block them and this week, I’m like, you know, I’m just going to see what happens, and if I get a second one, I’m like I’m done with you. But you can tell where it comes from, and I think that’s important, and just keep that in mind. Yeah. Oh, my goodness. So, where do you feel, in your life right now, I call it from one side, I call it your Protector’s in control, and that’s where you’re not peaceful at all to the other side, where you feel extremely peaceful, and I call that the CEO of your life. Where do you feel at this moment?
Caren: In the middle to be honest with you. I do have a health and wellness business, but I also have a corporate job. That ends at the end of this month. My husband has lost hours at his job. The kids are home. So it’s been a little bit of a trying time to be honest, but I say the middle because I’ve done so much personal development. I still work on myself and everything like that. A year and a half ago, I almost had a nervous breakdown and I was losing my mind, and I just, how do I get out of — I was in a really dark place, and so I’ve done a lot of work, and so I’m in the middle because I’ve done the work and because I also keep Hal Elrod in the back of my mind, Mel Robbins, Hal Elrod, Rachel Hollis, those three people have really been [indiscernible] for me lately. Hal Elrod wrote a book, “The Miracle Equation,” is the book I read. I know he wrote one, “The Miracle Morning,” and he said, you know, in order to get things done, you have to have unwavering faith and extraordinary effort. I’ve been trying to keep the unwavering faith, even though I’m not a faith-based person, to be honest. I’ve been trying to do that and just trying to keep my affirmations, just try to be positive. I do journaling in the morning, and I haven’t stopped any of that, like Rachel Hollis and Mel Robbins do. I try to do the 5-second rule, so I’m sort of in the middle, because I am realistic, but I also know — I’m trying really hard. Listen, I get the, what are we going to do, oh, my God, all kind of reactions, because I am human, but at the same time, there’s something in me that just knows it’s going to work out the way it’s supposed to work out.
Christine: Yeah. First of all, well done, on the progress you’ve made.
Caren: Thank you.
Christine: I’m sorry you were where you were, and I’m proud of you, and you should be really proud of yourself for being where you are, because that not only impacts you, but your whole family and everyone you reach.
Christine: So, that’s amazing. Great. It is normal to get anxious and have things — that is human nature. That’s what our brains like to do. We like to protect ourselves, so we’ll go to those moments that are, oh, my gosh, if I have no food in two weeks. I’m a big person on Eckhart Tolle and “The Power of Now,” and being very present, because my mind, right now, could go there, right? We could just be sitting here talking, and you and I could start talking about that, and then I could be, I have no food.
Christine: But in reality, I’m sitting in my chair, talking to Caren, with amazing technology. I have food right now.
Christine: So there’s no point in living in it. When I’m in that moment, we’ll figure it out.
Christine: Because we’re scrappy people.
Caren: I love the word scrappy. People call me scrappy all the time. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t take offense to it. But the other thing is too, like I tell my husband, like, my husband woke up sad today, and everything like that. I’m like, it’s your freaking birthday, get over it. Like, I get it. I’m not giving you today. I’ll give you tomorrow, I was there a year and a half ago, I’ll give you the time, but we can’t spend the days — what I learned from that experience too, is you are what you attract. You focus on what you find, kind of thing. Do you know what I mean?
Caren: I used to think it was hokey and I even said that to my husband; I know you think it’s hokey, I’m like, but it’s really true. Listen, have your five minutes. The other thing Hal Elrod talked about in his book, was when something bad happens, you give yourself five minutes, and he’s like, you set your timer on your phone, and you give yourself that five minutes to lose your mind — I was going to say a bad word, but I didn’t. Yay me.
Christine: Thank you. You’re saving me from the E on my podcast.
Caren: I’m very proud of myself, though. But you give yourself five minutes, and you know what? Even if it takes a little bit more than five minutes, sometimes that’s fine, but all day everyday, it’s not serving you. Most important, it’s not serving you, but really it’s not serving anybody else. So while you had that feeling and while stuff happens, I mean, look what’s going on in the world globally.
Caren: But even on a daily basis, without COVID-19, you can’t live in that state of “oh, woe is me,” and the victim state. I lived there five years ago, and honestly, it did me absolutely no good whatsoever. It just doesn’t do you any good.
Christine: That’s very true. Yeah.
Caren: And, if I may, one more thing?
Caren: One of the things that I do, ‘cause you think, Caren, you know, whatever, like you don’t know anything, and but I do, a little bit.
Christine: Who said that? Who said that, Caren?
Caren: Every night I do a gratitude of things that happened good that day, and that I’m grateful for. It could be as simple as I made somebody smile today. All of that combined, so even though I’m in the middle, I’m not the CEO of my life, I still do all of that. Things don’t stop just because we’re quarantined on COVID-19. Do you know what I’m saying?
Christine: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Caren: None of that should stop.
Christine: Yeah. You said a lot of good stuff. Two that are important. One is that timer that you said. I really am a big believer in if you have an emotion, feel it, figure it out, label it, how it feels in your body, and process through it. I think most of us just choose to resist it, and by resisting it it almost makes it stronger, so when we go through it, whether it’s five minutes or ten minutes, you’re strong enough to get to the other side of that. That’s amazing. And CEO of your life, like, in the middle is good, because you’re not at the bottom, and you’re learning as you go. I think the other thing you said was, even without COVID-19, and I almost saw it as a visual as you were talking, is that a person who likes to live in a place where they complain all the time or something, it’s just going to become more apparent when they’re in a smaller space, and it’s going to feel worse.
Caren: Yup, exactly. Exactly.
Christine: So it’s a really good time to work on that.
Caren: Exactly. A hundred percent.
Christine: Oh, my goodness. Well, thank you so much for sharing that. This has all been great.
Caren: Well, thank you for letting me share that.
Christine: You’ve shared so many great resources. So I invite you now to share anything with my listeners, a quote, something you love, a life lesson, or a message. What would you like to say to them?
Caren: Oh, that’s a good one. You know, the life lesson that I’ve learned lately, through these last few years of my life, is that stuff is going to happen, and one of the things is you have to say to yourself, not why is this happening to me, as Ed Mylett says, “Life isn’t happening to you, it’s happening for you.” I always kept that in mind, too, and I kind of think what is this going to try to teach me? I think that’s so important when you’re going through — especially now, what’s going on in the world, and everything like that, and especially if you have kids. The other thing I realized with my kids, too, is listen to people. I’m guilty of interrupting, myself, but listen to what they’re saying, and especially the kids, acknowledge what they’re saying. Because a lot of times they really just want to be heard and that’s it.
Caren: And understood, and they don’t want a solution, they don’t want a fix, they just want to know that they have a voice. I think those are the two things that I would say, is that you know, you just have to be a good human. Somebody on my team, actually hashtagged that, be a good human. I just think that applies to everybody, now and everyday. You have to just be a good human.
Christine: So important. Yes. Give each other space. That’s very important.
Christine: Even for me, I know, sometimes I’ll just say something out loud, and by hearing myself say it, I get the clarity I need.
Caren: Exactly. Exactly.
Christine: Then, if someone offers me advice, I’m like, I don’t need that. What are you talking about?
Caren: Exactly. Exactly.
Christine: That’s great. That was really good advice. Okay, so where is the best place for my listeners to reach you if they want to get to know you, learn more about you?
Caren: I’m on all three social media handles, so on Instagram, I’m CarenC — and my name is spelled C-A-R-E-N, so it’s CarenC1123 on Instagram, and on Facebook, and on LinkedIn, it’s Caren, again, C-A-R-E-N, Cooper. My maiden name was Schagren, S-C-H-A-G-R-E-N, so if it comes up with other people’s names, that’s who you should look for. I’m on all three, all the time.
Caren: Well, not all the time, but you know what I mean.
Christine: Wonderful. I’ll put links in my show notes, so anyone can just click there and they should head right to you. Awesome!
Christine: Thanks for being here today. I appreciate your time, especially with all that we have going on, right now.
Caren: I appreciate you having me on. I really, really enjoyed doing this with you. Thank you for this service that you are providing to others, by the way. It’s a really awesome service, so thank you.
Christine: Thanks, Caren. You know what, now that you mention that, I probably should mention on this podcast, that I am going to have free support calls for at least the next two weeks, and probably longer, for those of you in the not so empty nest right now, who just need to talk to others and need somebody to listen to, or just know that you’re not alone. Those will be available, if you go to my website and I’ll have a link in the show notes, too.
Caren: Awesome. Thank you for that.
Christine: So, my listener, both Caren and I want to tell you that:
Christine and Caren: You are amazing!!
Christine: See ya!
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