Thoughtful Therapy

  Helping women find freedom and peace



How to Prepare to Leave

Posted on 14 July, 2015 at 8:00 Comments comments (7421)

Sometimes when you are in a relationship you know it is time to leave. The relationship may be over even though you are still in it. It may be time to go because of a variety of reasons:

You're tired of being cheated on.

You're done putting up with verbal or emotional abuse.

You don't want to be hit and pushed anymore.

You long to emotionally connect with someone.

When it's time to go, you may know it's time, but still feel trapped. How do you get out of it? What do you do to get ready to go? Is it really possible to leave, or will you have to stay in this place forever?

Yes, it really is possible to leave. You may feel trapped now, but you don't have to continue to feel this way. I will detail below a few ways to prepare. For a full description of what to do, how to prepare, and other information, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. You can also visit their website at

Develop a Network of Supportive People. You need friends now, more than ever. You may feel isolated or paralyzed, but you must find the courage to act. Now is the time to join a club or a Bible study, meet your neighbors, reconnect with old friends, make current acqaintances into friends, reach out to your family. These people can support you as you prepare for your new life. You may be able to ask them for help in finding a job or a new place to live, or transportation to a shelter.

Save Money. One of the biggest concerns for many people is money. Of course there are worries about supporting yourself and your children, or whoever may be with you. Money may be a way that the person you are leaving controls you, but nonetheless, you must find a way to save up. Open a bank account in your own name. Create retirement funds if possible (Roth IRA is my recommendation, but speak to a financial advisor to verify what is best for you). You will need money to be out on your own.

Get a Job. This is, of course, a great way to make money. If you already have a job, this one may be taken care of. If it's been a while since you have worked outside the home, remind yourself of your skills. Reinforce to yourself that you have value and worth. You can do this. Look over your resume and update it, or create one from scratch based on your skills and any previous jobs or positions you have held. You can include volunteer work. One website I have used in creating my own resume is the Rockport Institute. This site also has other helpful career info about finding a career that is a best-fit for you.

Go Back To School. This is a sub-heading of getting a job. If you find you need to add to your skill set, check out the local community college or online courses to see what might be of help and of interest to you. Colleges often have career counselors who can help you figure out what you might like to do, and give you some guidance toward a particular field.

Figure Out Where You Will Go. This may be an area where your support network can help. Do you need to stay at a shelter for a while? Or is it safe to stay with a friend or family member? Maybe you are ready to rent an apartment. Whatever the case, pick this place out before you leave. Plan how you will get there, what route to take, if you will take yourself or if someone will pick you up. Figure out as much in advance as possible.

It may take some time to make your exit plan, but have courage that life can be better for you. You don't have to stay in a dead or abusive relationship. You deserve more. You deserve better.

Examples of Routines

Posted on 12 May, 2015 at 8:00 Comments comments (459)

As a follow-up to my blog about the necessity of routines, here are a few examples of routines you might put into practice. These are only examples; you should modify them to suit your needs, and create other routines that are helpful to you.


Try picking one day (or two or three, if needed) per week for doing laundry: the same day every week. This can help minimize worries of running out of clean clothes. Sort clothes into light, dark, etc., as you put them in the hamper, or maintain different containers for each category. This cuts down on sorting on laundry day. After the clothes have been washed and dried, go ahead and fold or hang them and put them away. Consider this part of doing the laundry and just do it.

Morning Routine

Get up at the same time every day, and allow yourself at least an hour (or two) to get ready. Plan what you will wear the night before, and lay it out so that you don't have to think about it in the morning. Eat breakfast. Make sure you have food on hand that you will actually eat at breakfast, and plan the meal (even if it's just cereal and milk) so that you don't wind up staring wistfully into the refrigerator or pantry, wasting precious time. Have a place near the door (kitchen counter, washing machine, hall table) where you put things you need to take with you to work or school. Always put your keys in the same place (preferably not in the bottom of your purse), so you will be able to find them easily. Make a rule for yourself that you don't watch television until you are fully dressed and ready to walk out the door. Knowing what the plan is can help reduce anxiety that you will forget to do something or take something with you when you leave.

Bedtime Routine

About an hour before bedtime, turn off all devices that emit blue light (cell phone, television, computer). Take a warm bath if that is relaxing to you. Wash your face, brush your teeth, and put on your pajamas. Take some time to choose your outfit for the next day and lay it out for tomorrow. Spend time doing something relaxing, such as reading or listening to soft music. If you have difficulty turning off your brain, make a list of worries, tasks for the next day, or anything else that is on your mind. Turn out the light and sleep.


Make this a priority. Set a regular time to move your body, and write it into your calendar. It could be first thing in the morning, after work, or on your lunch break, but get it done. Even though it is hard to get started, you will not regret doing it after it is over.

Grocery List

Put items on the grocery list as soon as they are used up, or when they are running low. This keeps you from forgetting what you need to get next time you go to the store. You might even organize your list by areas of the store: produce, frozen, canned goods, dairy, etc. It can also be helpful to pick a certain day of the week to go grocery shopping. That way you don't have to worry about running out of food or worry about when you will be able to get to the store because you know you will be going on [chosen day of the week for grocery shopping].


As you plan your grocery shopping, start planning in advance your meals for the week. Ask your family, or yourself, what you want to eat in the coming week. Evaluate which meal is appropriate for which day based on who will be home, and when, and what other activities need to be worked around. For example, on a night when the kids have soccer practice, or you have to work late, you don't want to have planned a complicated meal that will take a couple hours to prepare. That might be the night to pop a frozen pizza in the oven, make scrambled eggs and toast, or heat up planned-overs (leftovers you planned to have again). On a night where everyone will be home, you might want to involve the whole family in cooking dinner or make something a little more complicated or that takes a little longer. Knowing in the morning what you are having for dinner that night takes the pressure off, and also reminds you if you need to thaw something in order to be ready to cook when you get home or throw something in the crock pot right now.

The Beauty of Routines

Posted on 24 March, 2015 at 9:00 Comments comments (10200)

Routines can seem so boring. Maybe you envision yourself doing the same thing, at the same time, every single day. Blech. You'd rather live spontaneously! You want to do what you want, when you want! Live by the seat of your pants! Throw caution to the wind! Wing it!

While that approach sounds really exciting and glamourous, and there is a time and a place for it, the reality is that living by the seat of your pants, without a plan, means you don't get things done. You find yourself wasting time, feeling unproductive, wondering where the day went. You know you were supposed to do these certain tasks, but somehow it just didn't happen.

The reason those tasks "just didn't happen" is because of a lack of planning. In order to accomplish something meaningful, you must have a plan. You can't depend on things working out by themselves. You may be saying to yourself, "Well, that's not true. I do get things done." And you probably do. But, how often do you get to the end of the day and realize how many chunks of time you have wasted? Or how many necessary tasks will be put off until tomorrow? With each new day, you have a chance to begin again. You are in charge of your time and how you spend it. It's okay for you to plan, and maybe even essential.

When you create routines for yourself, you put plans into place that can become automatic for you. For instance, if you have a morning routine, you can eliminate worry over things like how long it will take you to get ready, what you will wear to work, what you will eat for breakfast, or if your lunch is ready to go. You do this by picking your outfit the night before, or even choosing your outfits at the beginning of the week; by planning your meals in advance or making your lunch the night before so it's ready for you to take with you in the morning. Maybe you have been in the habit of trying to fit in extra chores like starting a load of laundry or emptying the dishwasher before work. While there is nothing wrong with doing these things, if you find they make you late for work, eliminate them and all extraneous tasks until you are able to function with your basic routine. At that point, it is possible that you could add back some of these things, provided they are incorporated into the routine, meaning that you have planned for the time they will take. A primary reason people are late is because they try to fit in "just one more thing" before leaving. Sorry to tell you, but if you didn't plan for it, you don't have time for it, at least, not if your priority is being on time and getting things done.

Experiment with different areas of your life and see how planning ahead can help. Check out situations such as these and try making a plan, creating a routine for them: laundry, grocery lists, cleaning the bathroom, getting ready to leave in the morning, getting ready for bed at night, exercise. See how much you can get done when you let routines work for you.