My needs # 1. Good health

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I mentioned in my previous post how I struggled focussing on my needs as I felt firstly I have responsibilities. What was missing was feeling I was important enough to focus on my needs as a priority, and that in itself should be one of my responsibilities.

The sudden ending of my marriage put me in a state of crisis. I was thrown into a survival mind-set of fulfilling basic needs because everything else was gone. I shut down to the present moment and lived one painful agonizing hour at a time – wake, walk, shower, dress, work, shop, cook, eat, house duties, sleep – going through the motions of life like a zombie. Breathing became a top priority for me – it meant I was alive.

After a few weeks, I had moved a small step forward – planning ahead a few hours at a time. One day I thought about making soup, shopped for ingredients, cooked, and ate the soup, savouring each mouthful as a friend. A few months later my world expanded to a day at a time with a daily routine of rising to watch the sunrise, writing in my journal, following a healthy diet and doing some regular walking as exercise. Although still looking at basic needs, I was living healthily and happily – one day at a time.

Then came the big freeze, the slow painful process of grieving for my past, and facing the anxiety-filled reality of my changed future. There were months of swirling through intense emotions, drifting in and out of hope and despair, only able to focus on one thing – my feelings. My earlier healthy routine slipped away. Down in the black pit, letting exercise go for a day, eating incorrect foods once in a while or over-eating…suddenly it did not matter. What mattered was getting through the day – surviving.

You can get away with things for a day, or two, or three. Then gradually, one day at a time, you slowly lose your fitness, put on weight, clog your arteries, put your heart and kidneys under stress. You do not continue to get away with it. To turn that around you need to think more than a day ahead. You need to think twenty years ahead. This is a monumental step. In my old age…….I want to see my grand-children’s children……. I want to be active enough to still climb stairs…. I want to be able to look after myself.

To do that, I need to think of myself, I have to feel I am worth it.

Focussing for a while on my values, my beliefs and my attitudes, has given me a better sense of confidence and feeling of self-worth. Now I am in a better place. …..I know I am important…..I am worth looking after….. worth caring for.

I need to take care of myself.
I need to remain active.
I need to be healthy.

These are my needs for me and my future healthy happiness.
Fulfilling those needs will become my responsibility.

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Image courtesy of [Digitalart] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

34 thoughts on “My needs # 1. Good health

  1. It is interesting how differently we all handle stress, when it comes to food it seems like it’s either or. I couldn’t eat for about 8 months and lost to the point where people were getting very worried about me. Which afterwards made my recovery much easier. It made getting into shape (I wasn’t healthy, just thin) much easier since I didn’t have to restrict calories while working out.

    Good luck with getting back into shape! I know you can do it!!! You have your priorities straight: you now know that you are worth it and your future great-grandchildren are worth it.

    • Ha. Sometimes I wish that I could ‘stress’ the extra weight away by not eating!
      However, we all have to learn to deal with our own issues, whatever they are; and mine (unfortunately) is a tendency to weight on when under stress.

      Thanks for your encouragement and support which will help me stay focussed to get this ‘health and fitness’ issue back on track. . …..

    • Thanks. The intention is that expressing the ‘needs’ as something for ‘me’, will lead onto the goal and (hopefully) the eventual positive result.
      thanks for stopping by

  2. So proud of you for beginning to recognize and honor your own self-worth and are placing a high value on your physical and emotional health. You absolutely do matter, so, make everything you say and do matter!

    • Thanks. you recommended this before and I downloaded but only put in data for two days so it slipped away from me.
      I hope to know focus on this on a daily basis. Thanks for you encouragement and I will check out the ‘friend’ thing on the app.

      • 🙂 I forget who I recommend it to LOL (Which is pretty much everyone looking to get fit!)

        Everyone is there to support one another, so don’t be afraid to ask for friends 🙂

  3. this is such a good post…i totally relate to letting fitness ‘slip away’. you skip one day, then two days, then two weeks of exercise because you feel like you don’t ‘deserve’ it and can barely stand the thought of cooking when everything else in your life is in chaos. we must remember that we ARE worth it. best of luck on your journey!

  4. The worst thing about your marriage coming to an end is that it makes you feel worthless. Even though stress and pain might take their toll first, I have often observed that we do not take care of ourselves because of the underlying feeling of worthlessness. We end up feeling that since the person we most cared about walked out without thinking even once what is left to bother about. It takes a long time to realize that you must come first in your life before anyone else, even your spouse. That starts the process of healing emotionally and also physically.
    Only recently have I managed to accept the detrimental changes to my health and I have started living a fitter life. My problems were compounded since I naturally had an athletic body requiring no exercise and very little of consciously eating right. But now things have changed completely and for the first time I am exercising and eating right. I have found immense pleasure in taking care of myself and realized that it is not selfish at all. I hope that you too find the same joy of nourishing and nurturing yourself.

    • That is a perspective worth thinking about – the abandonment and the feeling of ‘I am worthless’ bubbling under the surface.
      Like you, I am trying hard to make that journey of nourishing and nurturing myself. Learning to put myself first has been the most difficulty part of the process.
      I am slowly getting there. Thank you so much for your continued encouragement. I truly appreciate it.

  5. I am so stressed lately, and have been using sugar as my therapy. After doubling the icing recipe for the German Chocolate cake I made when my cousin came over for dinner (I always run short on icing if I don’t), I ate the significant amount of leftover icing in front of the TV during the Double Jeopardy round. You can bet double or nothing that my cholesterol is not too great right now. I hope to be where you are soon–maybe before my weight doubles!

    • Claudia, sometimes I think that you are the ONLY one in the world who understands me and I can relate to.
      I make cakes with the excuse of any visitors who come my way and then have to finish it off all by myself when they are gone.
      It is a huge admission that it is the stress and anxiety leading me to this type of action. I continually think to myself ‘why aren’t I over all this by now’ (on days when the pain and anxiety levels are still rampant) and there is no way on those days that my logic brain wins over my crushed soul……. and the body loses out, with the cake eating.
      I guess the first step is recognising it.

      • Elizabeth,

        You put it so poignantly: “there is no way on those days that my logic brain wins over my crushed soul.” We are not machines and need ourselves to be gentle with ourselves.

        We can’t be over it because we are in it. The financial logistics that resulted from the divorce are happening now. Will I be “over it” when my COBRA health insurance runs out and my new premiums will be through the roof? It will be a new hurt and anger. And those new feelings will probably not get their needed attention because I will be dealing with the logistics—phone calls, paperwork, looking for work, going to school… So the “crushed soul” you beautifully describe gets 3 pieces of chocolate fudge.

        On the good days, we will find better ways to mother our crushed souls, recommitted to loving ourselves with healthy lifestyles.

        Your words touch me, and thank you for letting me know mine affect you as well!

        Claudia

      • Well said. “We can’t be over it because we are in it.”
        It is easy for others (and even ourselves) to forget that.
        It takes a while to full comprehend the long-term ramifications of the divorce. I think initially one can’t cope with the immensity of it all and therefore pushes aside some aspects of it all. And as it bubbles to the surface and you face a new aspect – or comprehend it – the pain starts all over again.
        Thanks for your constant support.

  6. Thanks so much for liking my blog – it brought me across to read yours! I really liked what you said in this blog and I really relate to what you are going through. I find it so easy to slip into survival mode even though there is no need for me to be in that space. It is a hard habit to get out of. Have you read any of Martin Seligman’s books? I was just reflecting this morning how about “learned helplessness” as he writes about it. Anyway… thanks for sharing your thoughts today as they are really relevant to where I am at 🙂 take care, Lorraine

    • Yes, it is so easy to slip into survival mode. I suppose, if we recognise that we are doing it, then it gradually becomes easier to get back to the land of ‘normal’.
      Thanks so much for your comment. I have not read any of Seligman’s books and I will check them out.
      By the way, i started following your blog because you comment on the Australian scene and I am Australian (Tasmanian). However, with my head still in survival mode, I do not often get to read or comment on the more intellectual-stimulating posts. I will get there eventually!
      Have a great day 🙂

  7. YES YES & YES

    BEST of health to you 🙂 I took up yoga near last Christmas. The breathing is the best part. I highly recommend!

  8. Pingback: The Financial Lessons Of Divorce #3. Priorities | Almost Spring

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