We all know that feeling and looking our best requires doing things to promote our mental and physical health. The good news is that not everything that’s good for you is agonizing. Here are ten health tips you can start today that don’t involve turning your lifestyle upside down, spending a ton of cash or exposing yourself to excruciating torment.
While every guy needs to implement these healthy habits, it’s even more essential for divorced men to prioritize their health, because they are at higher risk for a slew of illnesses like cancer and heart attacks. And that’s not all: according to the Huffington Post, divorced and single men have higher rates of mortality and are more prone to substance abuse and depression than married men.
10 Easy Health Tips To Start Now
Laugh a lot.
Laughter really is great medicine; it eases stress and depression, promotes social bonding, and lowers blood pressure. Want to get your giggle on? Take a date or your posse out to a comedy show. For those days when putting on pants is too much effort, find a comedy special on Netflix. Reruns of Saturday Night Live, Arrested Development or websites like funnyordie.com also have good “laugh until you cry” sketches and shows.
Just breathe, deeply.
Taking time to take a breather can be one of the most simple but effective ways to relax and slow your heart rate. Breath through your nose until your lungs are full. They’ll fill with nitric oxide, a chemical found in the back of your nose that opens up blood vessels. The dose of oxygen will make you feel happier and more alert. This is also a handy way to calm yourself down when feeling anxious or nervous, like before an important meeting, presentation or first date.
Sleep on it.
Seven hours of sleep a night not only helps you live longer, but also lowers your stress, sharpens your memory, and reduces cravings for junk foods.
Keep it colorful.
Eat nine handfuls of colorful fruits and vegetables each day. The different colors represent different good for you things your body needs to function at its finest. These foods are often more powerful than the drugs sold in pharmacies, and without the scary side effects.
Get up, go out, and get going.
Sweat for just an hour a week and you’ll enjoy a range of benefits: reduced risk of heart attack, better mood, more energy, and lower blood pressure. Men who exercise enough to burn 200 calories a day also significantly lower their chances of impotence. Yeah, these health tips help your sex life, too! That’s because impotence often has the same cause as heart attacks: blocked arteries. So engage in a little activity that doesn’t involve tossing the couch cushions aside and fervently searching for the remote. Your, uh, little buddy downstairs will thank you.
Form tight social networks.
And I don’t mean that dude you went to grade school with on Facebook. Have a couple friends or family members you can talk to when things are on your mind and you can call on when you feel overwhelmed and need help. This is one of those health tips that can get you out of the house for beer and wings with a buddy. If you face life’s stresses alone, you will make yourself older. Not a people person? Get a dog or cat or bird or gerbil. Spending time with a pet is more effective at reducing stress than spending time with friends, girlfriends, or alcohol.
Get rid of the gut.
Visceral fat (the stuff that settles in your abdomen) lets toxins seep into your vital organs, which is why round-bellied men die sooner than flat-bellies. Grab a tape measure and put it around your body at the level of your belly button. That number should be less than half your height.
Moderation and food choices are key in trimming belly fat and keeping it off, so eat six small meals a day instead of three big ones—you’ll stave off hunger and avoid overeating. Keep the beer to 1 or 2 instead of 3 or 4 and eat some protein, veggies and healthy fats with those processed carbs. Bonus, you’ll reduce your risk for heart attack and diabetes.
Nuts are among the best sources of healthful fats and protein around. Best part is there’s no cooking or clean up. Unless you chew with your mouth open, which is a whole other problem.
Eat in more.
If you cook at home, you not only save money but also gain control over what goes into your meals. A tremendous amount of calories hide in sauces, dressing and soups at restaurants. Food is cooked in fatty oils, butter and sugar. Portions are usually double what your calorie intake should be.If you do eat out, take half home for lunch the next day. It’s cheaper and better for you.
Have regular colonoscopy and prostate serum antigen testing.
Both of these tests are crucial in spotting two common and potentially lethal diseases — colon and prostate cancer — that are still curable if detected early enough. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a prolonged and painful death. As William Shakespeare might have said: check yourself, before you wreck yourself.
Every man deserves a happy and satisfying life, even after divorce. Start implementing these tips today for a healthier life – and have fun!
My marriage ended because I cheated on my wife. It’s as simple as that. I can tell you all the reasons it happened, how I found myself in that situation when I’d never imagined I’d be that guy, why it didn’t really mean anything.
But none of those things matter. What matters is that I broke my vows and hurt someone I loved very much in the process.
Divorce is never easy. Even when it’s amicable, even when you don’t blame each other for anything – when you both just admit you’ve both changed, or have different goals, or have simply grown apart – it’s hard to deal with.
But what do you do when you know – 100%, without any doubt – that it’s your fault?
I Cheated on My Wife and She Left
After it had all settled down – after she’d packed up her stuff and left and I was alone in my house, just me and the cats – the hardest part to deal with was the guilt I felt for the hurt I’d caused. I missed her, of course; I often think the thing we miss most when the relationship ends is not what we had, but what we would have had, the life we expected to share with someone else. To have that life blown away, for her and for me, was excruciating. But so was the knowledge that it was on me. I had cheated on my wife.
There were other problems, of course – show me a relationship that doesn’t have problems and I’ll show you the last five minutes of a sappy romantic comedy – but this problem was one that I created, through my own selfishness and stupidity. It left me literally tossing and turning every night; in my dreams, I played Monday morning quarterback, endlessly replaying the last angry, tearful conversation, trying to figure out if I could have done something, said something, to mitigate the pain I’d caused, to find a way that we could work through it.
But worse than those dreams, of course, were the ones where it had never happened; where I dreamed of my wife and I going out, or going on vacation, or simply sitting around watching TV, the way we used to. Those were the dreams that hurt to wake up from.
Fooling Yourself Doesn’t Erase the Guilt
The easiest way to deal with the guilt, of cour se, is to fool yourself. Yes, you screwed up, but maybe if she’d been a little more this or done a little more of that, you wouldn’t have been driven to cheat or lie or whatever you did to make the relationship end. Maybe if she’d been a little more understanding.
This is all bullshit and it’s beneath you. You need to accept responsibility for your actions and their consequences. You screwed up. Yes, maybe there were other problems, but if so you should have faced them and worked on them rather than allowing them to drive you to do something you couldn’t take back. Part of being a grown-up is admitting to yourself that you did wrong. That’s the first step.
Unfortunately, that can lead you to a very dark place. I had to accept the fact that, despite a lifetime of believing in true love and finding that special someone and being faithful to them until the end, I was a man who had cheated on my wife. I was, in my own eyes, a faithless son of a bitch. I was not the misunderstood hero of the piece. I was, in fact, the villain. That’s a hard row for anybody to hoe.
Sometimes You Just Need to Grow the Fuck Up
It’s a terrible thing to realize that you’re not perfect, that you are, in fact, human and that you sometimes do stupid or thoughtless or mean things. It’s terrible to realize what you’re capable of. But in that realization is self-awareness. You have discovered something true about yourself – something unpleasant, certainly, but that awareness is important. It helps you understand who you are, how you got there and – most importantly – what you need to change, in yourself and in your life. To err is human…but so is learning from one’s errors. You need to take a long look at yourself in the mirror and really see the face there, looking back at you. And you need to understand what’s required to once again make that face one you can be proud to look at.
It’s different for everybody. Some people need to realize they have a problem with the booze or the pills. Some people need to realize they have an anger management problem. And some people just need to, frankly, grow the fuck up and realize they’re not the only person on the planet, that other people have feelings that are just as important as their own. Sometimes you need to be reminded that you need to tread lightly in this world because if you don’t you can trample people who don’t deserve it, people you don’t ever want to hurt.
You Will Always Carry the Scars
Then you need to take a deep breath and you need to just get moving, keep living your life, one day at a time, as the folks in Alcoholics Anonymous say. You can’t take back what you did, and maybe you can’t rebuild the bridges you burned, but you can do your best not to burn any more of them as you go. You can come out the other side of your pain and self-recrimination and find a more thoughtful, mindful, conscientious person there, waiting for you.
You will always carry the scars, though; don’t fool yourself about that. I sometimes wonder if it’s worse to be the hurter than the hurt; after all, the hurter has to live with what they’ve done. You may learn to forgive yourself, but you will never forget. She’s been gone over a year and I still ache when I think of her, think of the sorrow on her face, that I caused. Those scars will never vanish.
But that’s okay. Scars are snapshots of our lives; they remind us of what made us who we are. We learn from scars. We move on. We survive.
There’s a line from an old Tom Petty song I often think of when I think of my ex-wife:
I still think of her when the sun goes down
It never goes away, but it all works out
That’s the plain truth, right there. You will get through this. You will feel better. You will be better. That’s part of being human, too. You will survive.
(c) Can Stock Photo / dmitrimaruta
Do you spend a great deal of your time in arguments with your ex? Is it nearly impossible to communicate anything at all that doesn’t lead to an explosion of tempers? Do you often feel you can’t say do anything right and try to avoid communication altogether, even when you sometimes need to talk about the kids? If so, you are not alone. Communication, in all aspects of life, is difficult and causes great strain in divorce. However, there is a way to avoid escalation and help your kids, too.
Start using four simple tools in your email and other communications with your ex. I endorse email as the “go to” for most of your communication. It is less immediate than text, which can be intrusive and easily inflammatory when quick responses are given. It also creates a written record you can rely on later as needed which in person or telephone communications are less likely to provide.
If you follow these simple ideas, the impact will be almost immediate. Remember, though, that your ex may expect tempers to flare now so may not be prepared for what’s next. The single biggest tip you can internalize now is to stay steady and give it time to work. Once you do, you will find the benefits of reducing your escalation pays off in more joy and less stress for you too. This, in turn, helps you feel better because the messages you send to yourself and others are more positive. It’s a win for everyone in your life!
Go Neutral, Not Nasty
Remember a time when arguments with your ex quickly escalated. Perhaps she wanted to get the kids sooner or drop them later or vary the custody schedule. Maybe she asked for money. All of these demands may act as triggers for you having nothing to do with her request, especially if you feel she has always told you what to do or chronically complains about money. However, it’s your job to address only what’s asked, that is, as the expression goes, “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.” If you are asked about something, answer the question. That is, answer only that question and do not bring up other matters in your response.
It may or may not be true that your ex has repeatedly asked for varied times or dates, but it doesn’t matter. Just answer her question. For example, if she asks you whether she can drop the kids at 8 pm instead of 6 pm Sunday night, you can answer, “Yes,” or “No.”
There’s no need to remind her she always asks for a later time and that you are tired of it. In fact, it’s better not to even add, at least as a first response, any reason. Just say, “That works,” or “That doesn’t work this time.” If she comes back to ask why, keep it short and sweet. “The kids need a bath and story by 8:30 so they can get enough rest before school tomorrow.” If she reminds you that you never cared about that when you were married, no response is required. If the kids aren’t dropped until 8 pm, just make a note and keep a record of it.
Over time, you can decide if a pattern has been created that makes any action on your part worthwhile. Remember, the goal is to support the kids and not punish you or her.
State What You Want, Not What You Don’t
When you have a request for your ex, ask it. Don’t tell her you are asking because she has previously failed to do whatever you are asking or criticizing her in another way.
For example, if you want to take your child to the zoo on a day you wouldn’t have her because there’s a special exhibit, email, “Can I take our daughter on Saturday because there is a special exhibit of penguins only on that day?” Don’t say, “I want to take our daughter to the zoo Saturday because I know you won’t do it and I don’t want her to miss the penguin exhibit.” The difference may seem obvious now but may not always be to you.
So, after you draft an email, save it. Turn to another task and come back a bit later. Re-read what you have written. Remove anything that suggests your ex has done something wrong. Remember, you are asking for something and want to get it.
Even if you are entitled to it, she can make it difficult so why communicate in a way that makes it harder for you? If you can’t see your own biases, ask one trusted person to review your email until you get the hang of it. Friends and family can be tricky as they are likely “in your corner.” Often, a divorce coach is the perfect neutral to help you with your goal and hold you gently accountable as needed. But, over time, you can certainly do this on your own!
Make what you are asking as flexible as possible. Allow your ex to feel empowered by what you are asking to allow them some control too. If you want to take your daughter to the zoo on a day you don’t have custody, and there is more than one date or time that can happen for you, ask your ex what she prefers. “I’d love to take our daughter to the zoo and see the exhibit is this Saturday and Sunday. Does one of those days work for you?” This will be much more likely to receive a positive response than, “I want to take our daughter to the zoo and it has to be Saturday because I have other plans Sunday so don’t suggest it.”
This may seem obvious, but you will be surprised by how much you even unintentionally convey if your communication in the past has not been friendly or cooperative. Build in your own flexibility so you can prepare for a response that gets you what you want, going to the zoo, even if it turns out it has to be on Sunday, for example.
Agree to Disagree
You are likely familiar with the Rolling Stones lyrics, “You can’t always get what you want.” Yet, in separation and divorce, we are often loathe letting go any of our ideas when our ex takes another position. We become entrenched in ways we wouldn’t with friends, most family, and even co-workers.
The remedy to avoid escalating arguments with your ex is to recognize that so much of this disagreement is simply noise.
It doesn’t really matter much what she thinks about your ideas anymore.
You need to have some agreement about the kids, but you mostly have authority in your home and she in hers. Of course, it’s better for the kids if you can be consistent across homes on the big issues, but you can let the rest go.
For example, if your ex puts the kids to bed at 7:30 pm and you think it’s too early, that 8:30 pm is just fine; it’s not necessary to tell her that unless you notice the kids aren’t well rested. And, even if they aren’t, there are many other reasons that may occur having nothing to do with your difference in bedtimes. In other words, let it go.
If you can remind yourself of this, in divorce, almost every day, you will likely serve yourself and your kids much better. Naturally, when something happens that has a big impact on your kid’s life, you will state it, with respect and in a neutral way. For example, “I noticed our daughter wakes up at 5:00 am, and I wonder if her bedtime impacts that. I’m trying 8:30 pm now and find she sleeps until 6:30 am. Do you think that might work for you too?” Of course, if your daughter isn’t waking up for you too early, you don’t need to say anything at all and will only tell your ex this suggestion if asked.
Controlling Arguments With Your Ex
After all, we may not always get what we want but it is likely, sometimes, we will get what we need. Reminding yourself, repeatedly, what you can control and what you can’t, and communicating only what you control will help avoid escalating arguments with your ex. And, really, that’s what all of us really need.
(c) Can Stock Photo / 4774344sean
It happened. You got over your divorce, met an amazing woman, and things are starting to get serious. Remarriage can be so exciting to think about that you may not stop to ask yourself some critical questions before taking this big step. Maybe you think you have it all figured out because you were married before. And while that may be partly true, there are still eight important things to consider before getting hitched again.
1. What About Having Kids?
Having kids is a huge decision. If one of you wants kids and the other one doesn’t, it should be a deal breaker. It’s something you need to figure out before the two of you tie the knot. Do you already have kids from a former marriage? Does she? If one of you already has kids, you may not want more. Age is a factor too. If you’re older, you may not feel the need to have kids at this stage of your life.
And if you do decide to have kids, how many will you have? Who’s willing to change diapers, and get up in the middle of the night when the baby is crying? Will either of you be a stay-at-home parent? When you’re discussing the topic of kids, get as specific as possible so you’re both aware of each other’s expectations when it comes to having and raising children.
2. Have You Given Yourself Enough Time Before Remarriage?
How long has it been since your previous marriage or last serious relationship? There’s no need to jump into anything too quickly, especially when it comes to remarriage.
Some couples meet and decide they’ve found the one within a few months, but that’s not enough time to deeply know a person and be sure you want to spend the rest of your life with her.
There’s no magical amount of time that will tell you if you’re ready or not, but make sure you’re not just getting married because you’re in the “exciting and new” stage of your relationship when the sex is hot and everything else seems fine and dandy. You need to take your time to find out if you’re ready for remarriage and if she’s the one for you.
3. Do You Live Well Together?
Have you moved in together? How is it to live with her? Do your sleep schedules match? How does she handle cleanliness around the house? Do you give each other enough space? Do either of you have habits that the other one can’t stand? What are her attitudes on pets, guests, chores, and who does the cooking?
These are important things to figure out and discuss before remarriage. Some couples are perfect until they move in together. There are things you can’t know about someone until you live with them, so make sure you know what it’s like to live with her before you tie the knot.
4. Have You Gone Through Hardships Together?
One of the best signs that a relationship will last is if it can make it through a storm. Have you seen her at her best and worst? You need to be able to conquer tough times together and be there for each other when life gets hard, not just when things are good.
You don’t know how someone will deal with a tough situation until it happens, and the way she deals with hard times may not be in a way you’re willing to put up with. Make sure you know if she’ll have your back and whether the two of you can make it through disasters.
5. How Will Finances be Handled?
Money can be a tricky thing to talk about, but suck it up and do it if you’re thinking about marriage. Money issues can cause a lot of conflict and fights, so figure out how the two of you will handle your finances before you tie the knot.
Different people have different spending styles. Will you combine accounts? How does she handle credit? Does she have mountains of debt? What are her opinions on how much money to spend on a house or a car? What about lending money to friends and family, tipping, or how much to give your children? The more you honestly talk about it, the easier it’ll be when you’re married.
6. Do You Get Along with Each Other’s Families?
Whether it’s her kids, or her sisters, brothers, and parents, do you get along well with her family? If you haven’t developed a good relationship with her family, and vice versa, it will affect your life down the road. You don’t have to be the best of friends, but it’s important to at least get along with them. If you’re not willing to deal with her family, or if she’s not making an effort to get along with yours, you have to ask yourself if this is the right relationship for you to be in. They say when you marry a person, you marry their family, so ask yourself if it’s a family you’re willing to put up with for the rest of your life.
7. Do You Share the Same Values?
You don’t have to agree about everything. Opposites often attract when it comes to hobbies, your favorite foods and movies, and even personality traits, but if you don’t share the same core values, it can lead to extreme relationship problems. Before remarriage, make sure you understand what’s most important to her – and what’s not.
If you value honesty and loyalty and she could care less about those things, it’s probably not going to end well. If you’re always giving while she’s more of a taker, look out for trouble ahead. Know your values and know hers, before jumping into marriage.
8. What Happens When You Disagree?
Disagreements are bound to happen, but it’s how you deal with it that indicates the strength of your relationship. Does she always have to be right? Is she willing to listen to the other’s point of view? Or does she ignore what you just said and talk over you? You both need to be able to compromise and realize that it doesn’t have to be your way all the time. A big red flag is if you’re already keeping quiet to avoid arguments. A great marriage doesn’t mean there’s never disagreements; it means that both of you can eventually agree, are willing to face problems rather than ignore them.
Remarriage can be an exciting thing to think about, but don’t let your excitement blind you to important issues that could lead to another divorce. The most important things are that your core values are aligned, you’re on the same page when it comes to finances, and it’s the right time for you to get remarried.
(c) Can Stock Photo / lunamarina
Food fuels your body and your brain. It has a dramatic impact on how you look, feel, and age. Who you are tomorrow, next month, or a year from now, is related to the foods you choose each day. It’s important to engage in healthy eating habits now for an active and hearty lifestyle for years to come.
Many of us grew up on fast food, processed foods, or family ‘comfort food’ meals. But, today, we know these fried foods and fatty cuts of meat and potatoes smothered with butter and gravy are not healthy for us. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and fish are best.
The core principles of healthy eating are similar to what our ancestors used, and many thrive today with this traditional style of eating, think the Mediterranean diet or Paleo like way of eating
Enjoying a healthful diet isn’t difficult, and it can be fun to try new recipes and experiment with varied spices and cuisines. It’s not a diet in the popular modern media sense, it’s a diet in the traditional sense, a lifelong way of eating.
Change slowly and give yourself time to adjust. You’re doing this for the long-term, not just a few weeks or months. Don’t worry about being perfect, just strive for 80 – 90% adherence. Your nutrition intake will balance out if your overall healthy eating pattern is good.
Food for Energy
A quality food program includes foods high in nutrient density while low in calorie density. Meaning the foods provide substantial amounts of nutrients with only the necessary amount of calories – large quantities of vital nutrients per 100 calories.
Those nutrients include:
Nutrient-dense foods include veggies, fruits, and chicken breasts, turkey breasts, and other lean protein. Foods low in nutrient density are items such as donuts, soft drinks, cookies, crackers, and ice cream.
Since you eat food, not just nutrients though, let’s look at some ways to help you incorporate healthy food in an enjoyable manner for a lifelong diet. These guidelines are intended for healthy people, so for those with medical conditions consult your doctor for additional guidance.
Make a great meal tonight using this flexible plan below. It incorporates good flavors so meals will taste great and be healthy for you too. Consider cooking meals in a slow cooker or one pot for timesaving and less mess as well.
Start With Choosing Protein, Carbs, and Healthy Fats
Select one ingredient from each of the four columns below:
||Extra Virgin Olive Oil
||Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Portion Your Ingredients
The guidelines for males are two palm-sized servings of protein, two fists sized servings of vegetables, 2 cupped hand sized servings of smart carbs, and two thumb-sized servings of healthy fats. For females use one-half of the male servings.
Adjust portions up or down according to how active you are, how frequently you eat, and your particular size and calorie needs.
Make additional servings for leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.
Choose a Flavor Profile
Select a flavor profile and use at least three of the ingredients in your dish.
||Fresh Curry Leaf
Cook, plate and serve.
Mix and match the ingredients above and let your imagination flow.
Try Thai 3 Ways:
· Shrimp with coconut brown rice and bok choy
· Chicken with eggplant, spelt, and peanuts
· Steak with broccoli and spaghetti squash
Mexican 3 Ways:
· Chicken with spinach and quinoa
· Salmon with bell peppers and plantain
· Beans with carrots, brown rice, and avocado
Try A Slow Cooker Pot Roast
4 lb boneless beef shoulder pot roast, trimmed of fat
4 dashes salt & pepper
2 tsp thyme, dried
2 cloves garlic, minced
64 baby carrots (about 21 oz)
2 lbs yellow potatoes, peeled & cut
Place the pot roast in your slow cooker and sprinkle with salt, pepper, & thyme.
- Add carrots and potatoes around the roast.
- Cook on low for about 8 hours, or on high for about 5 hours. Serve & Enjoy!
Develop Your Healthy Eating Plan
Moving to a healthier eating plan may seem daunting so keep these things in mind:
- Eat vegetables at all meals. In salads, side dishes, soups, and add veggies to your sandwich or wrap.
- When craving something sweet, eat a serving of fruit to satisfy the craving.
- When eating meat, it’s best to choose organic, grass-fed, and hormone-free, to maximize nutrients without harmful antibiotics, hormones, etc.
- Stock healthy food choices that are ready to eat and go. Nuts, seeds, and fruit are great for ‘grab and go’ snacks.
- Eating healthy food on at regular intervals will help you avoid unhealthy choices so never leave the house without food when you’ll be gone for more than 2 hours.
For busy mornings this is my favorite time saver meal hack, a super smoothie:
Pick a liquid, 4-8 ounces, less for thicker shake and more for thinner shakes
- Almond Milk (unsweetened)
- Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
- Cow’s milk
- Soy milk (unsweetened)
- Hemp milk (unsweetened)
- Green iced tea (unsweetened)
Choose a protein powder; one scoop is usually sufficient
- Whey protein
- Casein protein
- Rice protein
- Hemp protein
- Pea protein
- Bone broth protein
- Other protein/protein blend
Pick a vegetable, 1-2 handfuls of raw or roasted veggies:
- Dark leafy greens like kale or spinach
- Sweet potato
- Or powdered green supplement
Pick a fruit, 1-2 handfuls of fresh or frozen fruit
Choose a healthy fat, 1-2 thumb-sized portions
- Almond butter or other nut butter
- Flax, hemp, or chia seeds
- Coconut Oil
- Add greek yogurt for additional protein and smoother texture
- Add oats for additional carbs
- Sprinkle with cinnamon or chocolate shavings for extra zip
- Add ice if using fresh, not frozen fruit
Blend all ingredients in a good blender and enjoy as an excellent meal replacement when you are short on time.
(c) Can Stock Photo / ikophotos
Just turn it all off. All the brand-new you New Year goals. All the stuff that says this is the time for your total transformation. All the stuff that begins January 2nd and fades away by March. This new year is all about ditching the guilt and moving forward. Tough to do when everyone is waving the answer in your face, with a deadline to begin. For the first time, in maybe a long time, your future is in your own hands. Time to get reacquainted with what you want. No time like the present. Shall we?
It’s All About You: New Year Goals
There are no clever names for what comes next, because it’s personal. What works for you may not be the right thing for everyone. That’s your first step, realizing that you’re unique. Too often we try to fit into the mold of whatever is the latest and greatest. Be strong. Be vulnerable. Share. Be silent. In reality, you need to be you, and you need to embrace those things that work for you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stretch yourself at times to try something new, but it’s okay if what you choose is in alignment with who you are.
Divorce itself is a huge change, and it can take time to adjust to your new normal. It is self-defeating to heap unrealistic requirements on top of the resolution you’re already undertaking: starting over. Artificial timetables and deadlines don’t help. What does?
Getting to Know You Again
Marriage changes everyone, and both parties learn to compromise and accommodate each other. It’s often gradual, and you don’t even notice it’s happening, until one day you realize it’s been ages since you’ve… well, fill in the blank. Take some time to try and remember those things you liked to do. Things that maybe didn’t fit so well when you were married. Maybe you liked to hike, or scuba dive or spend hours in vintage bookstores. Maybe you liked history or playing an instrument. Think about it, and try your hand at things you used to do. Maybe it was cycling; you know what they say about riding a bike. You never forget.
Do I Know You?
Part of a new life in a new year is new people. Sure, you can explore any number of online dating services, but exploring new connections in the everyday takes off the pressure and allows you the freedom to just be you. Chat with the vendors at the local farmers market. Hold the door and smile at the person going through. Make eye contact. These small connections and kindnesses aren’t part of a grander plan to find a new life partner. It’s part of a plan to make your life sweeter, to feel part of a community.
But what about…
Just stop. Stop worrying about what other people think. Truth be told, most folks have enough on their plates to wonder what’s on yours. Just think about your everyday to-do list; some days it’s difficult to complete half of it, let alone worry about someone else’s. Think of it like a yoga practice. In yoga, your focus is turned inward as you seek to achieve the most benefit, and everyone progresses at their own pace. Same deal here.
Slow Growth = Strong Roots
Slow is hard. There’s no dramatic, instantaneous change. And no catchy tagline. But there are long-lasting benefits to moving one step at a time. Slow growth and small changes turn into forever changes. Can you run a marathon this weekend if you’ve never run before, or trained at all? Maybe, but most likely it won’t be pretty, and you won’t feel great afterward. Worse yet, you may injure yourself, or quit, and then it’s likely you’ll abandon the whole idea. But what if you start with a 5K? Walk it, run it, do anything to complete the 3.1 miles. It may still be hard, but it’s doable, and your sense of accomplishment can push you to try the next level.
Try and look past the flashing lights to see what you’d like to accomplish. It may look easier when someone else lays out a plan for you, but choosing a realistic plan, you develop yourself will promote those strong roots we all need to keep moving forward.
Just Do It.
Here’s the thing: you need to decide what it is. Yes, there’s a lot of thought that goes into creating a new, single life. And you need to invest the time, but then you need to do something. It doesn’t need to be a huge, life-changing event. It needs to be a small win that puts you on the path to success. Tired of ready made meals and takeout? Maybe try a cooking class. Too big? Get a cookbook and get cooking. But do something. Humans are lifelong students. We change and grow constantly, and learning something new, albeit small, stimulates the brain. It makes you feel better and gives your confidence a boost. What’s not to like? Naming and pursuing small new year goals as part of the bigger picture is far more attainable than lofty, vague goals that are unmanageable. Small goal: I’d like to take a cooking class so that I could make my own meals and ditch takeout. It’s defined and doable. Lofty goal: I want to eat healthily. Where do I begin? What defines healthy? Will I eat at certain restaurants, or research the internet? Maybe I should try one of the popular diets? Maybe I should eliminate gluten. Not defined and difficult to start. Don’t sabotage your success by being too open-ended to begin. Small successes add up.
My Friends Liked the Old Me
This can be a tough one. If you begin pursuing new interests and new year goals that aren’t in alignment with the old you, that’s okay. Just like we tell our children, your true friends are with you for the long haul. And again, as we tell the kiddos, we aren’t always going to like the same things. And that’s okay. Some will stay, and some will go, and there will be new ones along the way. Think about what our mothers used to ask us. “If your friend jumps off a cliff, are you going to follow him?” Now is the time to choose what’s right for you. It’s not a committee decision.
Yes, you’re divorced, and life is certainly different. But in many respects, you’re just like everyone else. A work-in-progress. You may not see it in other folks, but it’s there in everyone, whether we admit it or not. You are certainly not alone; everyone struggles from time to time with the question of who am I now, and it changes. Married, single, divorced, widowed, new babies and empty nests. Everyone. The only thing that’s different is the choices we make to address the changes in life. It’s never one-and-done. It is a process, one that we each define for ourselves.
So, take a deep breath. Maybe two. You can do this. Once you accept the process and the pace and experience success with small wins, change happens. If you don’t like the change, you can always alter the path again. It’s the beautiful part of being master of your own destiny. The choice is always yours.
(c) Can Stock Photo / PixelsAway