How Physical Activity Can Help You Through Grief

20 March 2022

When you’re suddenly hit with a loss, there are a huge number of services out there to help. There are Family Funeral Services that can help you with funeral planning, and counsellors to help guide you through your grief. 

But even with all these options available to you, grief can be exceptionally difficult to navigate. 
Here’s how physical activity can help.

Exercise Can Help Tie You To The Present

It can be incredibly hard to focus when suffering a loss, as your mind deals with a thousand different thoughts. This can be exhausting, and sometimes you might want a break from this mindset. 

Exercise can help you focus on the present, giving your mind a break from grief and helping you focus on the present for a few moments each day. Running is a great tool for this as your focus is on putting one foot in front of the other. Try Couch to 5K to start to build up your running skills over time.

Physical Activity Can Help Boost Mood

The first point of call should always be your doctor if you are dealing with a large negative impact on your mental health. Physical activity can also be helpful alongside talking therapy. When you run, your body releases endorphins, which is a mood-boosting hormone. Recommended weekly exercise is 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week (or 150 minutes total).

Exercise Can Help You Feel A Sense Of Control

Bereavement is something that is completely out of your hands. You can’t control death, which can have a huge impact on how an individual sees the world and their place in it. Exercise might help regain a feeling of control, as you take your body through a specific exercise or routine. While it’s not possible to control your feelings or emotions through grief, physical activity can help you regain a small sense of control in a world where you might feel a little lost.

Physical Activity Might Help You Sleep Better

Grief can manifest in different ways, but a common effect is a lack of sleep. Moderate exercise during the day can help you sleep better and more regular hours. This can also boost mood, which of course may be low after experiencing a loss. Make sure you don’t exercise 1-2 hours before bed, as this can have the opposite effect and keep you awake.

Above All, Be Kind To Yourself

A loss is an extremely traumatic experience, and you might not feel able to or want to exercise. That is completely understandable - above all, be kind to yourself as you navigate this difficult time. If you aren’t able to exercise, don’t beat yourself up about it, and treat yourself as you would a friend experiencing a bereavement. Speak kindly to yourself and give yourself time to grieve. Hopefully, this article helps provide one option to navigate an extremely challenging time.