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How Exercise and Healthy Eating can Help to Ease your Grief
It’s January, and that means time for new year’s resolutions to be made. The most popular resolutions usually involve getting more exercise and eating more healthily, and for good reason. Looking after yourself can help you relieve stress, ease your grief and feel better in the long run.
Exercise
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Some benefits of regular exercise are:
  • Exercise makes you more tired at the end of the day, so it helps you to sleep better.
  • Exercising releases positive endorphins that can make you feel happier and give you energy, as well as cortisol that helps us to manage stress.
  • Exercise can work as a distraction, giving you something to focus on.
  • As you meet your goals and improve your fitness, exercising can help to improve your self esteem.
  • Research has shown that regular exercise can reduce the chance of suffering from depression.
  • Some forms of exercise such as sports and classes are great for connecting with new people.
  • Here are some ideas for being more physically active:
  • Walk more - get off the bus one stop early, walk the dog, walk to the shops instead of driving. Just walking more can do wonders for physical and mental health.
  • Be more active at home - put some music on while cooking and dance, do some household chores like hoovering or tidying up.
  • Try something new - go to a new class, try out a new sport. Your local leisure centre would be a great place to start, as they usually offer a wide range of different activities including swimming, classes and a gym.
  • Go natural - gardening is an excellent form of exercise, and it has the bonus of getting you outdoors. You can also go hiking or walking in the countryside.
  • There is something to suit everyone, from gentle exercise like walking or yoga to running marathons. For more ideas, mental health charity Mind has some great information here.
    Healthy Eating
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    It can be so tempting to reach for something easy and not so healthy to eat, especially when grieving. However, this kind of food can actually make you feel worse in the long run.

    Here are some ways you can try to eat more healthily:
  • Cook from scratch if possible - cooking can be therapeutic, as well as healthy. It’s always good to know exactly what is going into your food, and making a meal yourself rather than getting a takeaway or having a ready meal can do wonders for your self-esteem.
  • Ask for help from family and friends with food shopping/cooking if needed
  • Try to have breakfast every day - this helps to get your metabolism going and can help with concentration
  • Ensure every meal contains protein to keep you fuller for longer
  • Try to eat your 5 a day - tinned, frozen, dried and fresh fruits and vegetables all count towards this
  • Try to avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Drink more water
  • It is important not to try to change too much at once - start small, maybe adding 10 minutes of easy exercise such as a walk around the block a day, or trying to cook a new recipe.

    RED January is active again this year, where people are encouraged to try to do some form of exercise every day in the month of January. Read our blog post about it here, or visit the website for more information.