Grief and Exercise: Walking ‘Down’ Times Away

What has happened to my good health habits? An inner voice keeps nagging, “You’ve got to start reclaiming your body.” I am aware of my loss of appetite, sleeplessness, fatigue, depression and low energy level. I have decided to try walking these things away. How do I get started?

FIND A WALKING FRIEND. My motivation is at zero. A partner would help. If I promise I will meet a friend at a certain time, I will do it.

START SLOWLY. I must listen to my body when it tells me I’ve had enough. In the beginning, it may be better to take two short walks in a day than one long one. I can gradually increase my pace and distance.

WALK REGULARLY. It is important for me to establish the habit, even if it’s only a short walk. I will start with three days a week and then add more.

WALK EARLY. It would be a good way to get myself started in the morning. I find this very difficult right now. An exercise program will also increase my energy level for the rest of the day.

MAKE A RAINY DAY PLAN. Ride a stationary bike and read. Use an exercise tape. Mall walk, alone or with a friend.

SPICE IT UP. Use a Walkman and play music that has a rhythm that matches my mood. Plan something fun to do after the walk with my partner. Vary the walking route.

I know I would feel better if I got regular exercise. It would add structure to my life. I would feel more like eating and also sleep better. It would be great to have more energy. Jan loves to walk; I’ll call her and see if she can go walking tomorrow!

Do you have an exercise routine that helps you stay healthy while grieving? Share your story below.


Marta Felber, author of Grief Expressed When a Mate Dies and Finding Your Way After Your Spouse Dies, has held many counseling and consulting positions in the U.S. and abroad, including serving for 10 years as director and head counselor at a center for expatriates in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Image: Flickr Creative Commons / theritters

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