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May 2019 Blog: Managing your health in times of grief.

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Managing grief and the effect it has on your health and body A close family relative unexpectedly passed away recently, necessitating my family and I to drop everything and hop on a long-haul flight for their funeral. Now we’re back home and the sense of detachment and disorientation is more acute than ever.

The act of busying oneself is helpful to a point in keeping some semblance of order in one’s life. However, the degree of effort to maintain this seems disproportionate to the tasks at hand.

Everything feels uphill and against a headwind. Regardless, the reality is that life does go on and the demands of work, life and family continue.  With more tasks to sort out but less energy and less head space available, it is easy to feel time is unavailable to exercise and be physically active. Assuming that is, the inclination is there in the first place. 

A pleasurable walk seems too far, exciting terrain feels too much of a challenge, and a much loved swim is, well, just too wet. 

Of all people, you’d think I would get a grip and exploit all the physiological effects exercise has on triggering the much needed chemicals that could improve my mood, help clear my brain fog, provide me with more energy and a greater sense of inner calm. In fact I did have a turbo charged workout during my Simply Fit! Class this week and felt so much more myself. Mind you, if you’d asked the Simply Fitters present, I’m not so sure they were as enamoured with my fleeting power surge…

As it turns out though, this was a one-off power surge and I am back to feeling generally exhausted, disoriented and detached once more.

So, what I am going to do about it? Firstly, I am going to accept that I am where I am and how it makes me feel. The situation is very very sad for many reasons and nothing I can say or do can change that. What I can change is to stop the frustration I feel when my battery charge is low and to stop asking myself ‘what is wrong with me?’. Nothing is wrong with me, I am simply responding as humans do to the sadness I feel, not only for the loss of this remarkable person but the effect their passing is having on all the people around me.

Secondly I am going to revisit the whole concept of exercising for my health. Yesterday my brain (and my to do list) were telling me to go for a walk but my heart wasn’t having any of it. Instead I strolled around my garden, walking and standing tall as I wandered and pondered. I held my face to the sun and breathed in and out deeply and felt the ground firmly beneath my feet. For me, that moment was the best form of exercise for my health. In the evening I sat on the floor and did three stretches instead of the usual multiples and repeated the same this morning. Today I said to myself ‘well done you!’.

Soon I will be playing tennis with a friend and I have been thinking of the excuses I could make to cancel. However, I have decided to be honest with her and explain how I am feeling and see how the play pans out. (For those of you who have been following my blogs and are aware that I have been taking tennis lessons after 30 years of not playing, this is my first attempt at playing ‘for real’. This is a BIG moment in my life (!) and what better time to start than now when there are no expectations. Just two friends with two rackets and a ball. There’s nothing more to it than that, surely?).

Checking in on my mindset and energy levels each day, is my plan for now. I’m working hard at not comparing or judging what exercise I was doing three weeks ago with what I am doing now. I’m focusing on what will centre me. I am embracing the wider concept of healthy exercise which is to move my body within the reserves and capacity available to me. This can vary from day to day and that’s ok. How I feel now I know, will soften with the passage of time. What I want for now, is to wisely use the energy and head space I have, on any given day, to enable me to function without the pressure of ‘I must do more’ which if I did, would markedly diminish my ability to function.

Living well is not about living when you are well. It is about tuning into your mental and physical health and focusing your attention on what will nourish and sustain you today, for all your tomorrows. If you have found yourself where I am now and would like to share your experience for the benefit of others, it would be lovely to hear from you.

Best wishes


15-05-19 | 4 comments | in Grief, Grief and exercise

4 Responses to May 2019 Blog: Managing your health in times of grief.

  1. Helen R Morrison says:

    Hi,Rachel. I am sorry to hear that you have lost a loved one. It is always hard to come to terms with and I think you are making a good start by talking about it and allowing yourself a little slack at the moment.

    For me, I try to keep the loved ones I have lost alive inside me. I remember and talk about them and I try to live a little of my life with them in mind. Being alive makes me feel so lucky and I know the ones I have lost would want me to make the most of it.

    Be easy on yourself,feel that sunshine on your face and talk,laugh and cry as you need to. You will begin to feel yourself again as soon as your mind and body are ready and your loved one will always be in your heart and your memory.

    Take care.

    • Rachel Kili says:

      Hello Helen

      What a fabulous perspective on the loss of a loved one. Thank you for sharing and for your kind words.

      Rachel xx

  2. Elly Land says:

    Just catching up on your blog Rachel. Beautifully and sensitively written at a challenging time for you and your family. I hope you are continuing to find the strength to exercise in whatever way is right for you and finding comfort in those simple things that can lift our hearts and spirits. Thanks for sharing your very honest and very human experiences that make us feel like we’re all normal. Much love xxx

    • Rachel Kili says:

      Hello Elly
      It was lovely to read that my experience might have helped others to relate to their own lives. I greatly appreciate your thoughtful words.
      Rachel x

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