At a time of crisis, say after a flood or earthquake, people’s needs return to those very basic needs of food, water and shelter as they begin to rebuild their lives. The ending of a marriage is similar to such a crisis, especially if it is unexpected and sudden. It rocks the very foundation of your life; your self-esteem, relationships, your emotional and financial security. As everything comes crashing down, to cope and survive you cocoon yourself by living in the moment of waking, eating, walking, eating, and the comfort and security of a warm bed at night. You are thrown into a survival mind-set of fulfilling these basic needs because everything else is gone. In the early days post separation, in a state of turmoil, I was comforted by focussing on my basic needs for some months by following a healthy diet, engaging in a gentle exercise programme, and restoring routine and order back into my daily life. Then my initial enthusiasm wavered. Why?
- Reason # 1: I became overwhelmed by the ‘big-picture’ changes required of me. I did not have the time, energy or inclination to focus on trivial daily activities.
- Reason # 2: I did not see who would benefit from what I was doing.
- Reason # 3: I was focussing on short-term gains rather than long-term outcomes.
- Reason # 4: Doing the right thing seemed like deprivation (eg dieting, budgeting).
Pep talk to self:
These are all just excuses.
– It is time to stop blaming the divorce and its emotional upheaval for my lack of inclination to do what is right for me.
– Having spent all my adult life putting my family first, it has been difficult to put myself first. I have to keep reminding myself that the person who will benefit from all this effort is me. I am important enough to make that happen. Moreover I can only be good for others if I am strong and healthy and calm myself.
– When short-term goals (eg: weight loss) are the focus, rather than long-term outcomes (eg: good health), enthusiasm wavers at times of stress or when a short-term goal has been achieved and then discarded.
– After a while, if habits are formed and results are seen, the effort will no longer be seen as deprivation but just how it is.
– Keep going, you are worth it.
So lets begin……..
I have listed here aspects of three basic needs that I will be taking responsibility for, together with a long-term desired outcome for each and the first steps to take to get there. I will be posting brief progress reports on the side panel of my blog in each of these areas; and over the coming weeks will outline the plans in more detail.
My desired outcome: To remain independent, fit, healthy, and active into my old age.
- Follow a healthy eating pattern one day at a time.
- Engage in a regular exercise programme for at least 5 days a week.
- Spend some time each day in a relaxing activity.
- Keep up with my annual medical checks
Home and Routine
My desired outcome: Simplification of my life to reach a state of calm
- Get into a daily and weekly routine for my activities
- Achieve a balance of work, home, and leisure.
- Simplify and de-clutter my surroundings
My desired outcome: Financial independence
- Set a budget. Cut down discretionary spending. Stick to the plan.
- Plan for a secure financial retirement
- Take control of personal affairs.
Message to self:
“I am responsible for my own health, sense of calm, my home and my finances”.
Image Courtesy [Digitalart] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net