January has come and gone and whether you’ve made and kept your New Year’s Resolutions or not, we have some great reasons why you should! If you’re grieving it can be especially important to have a goal to push towards and even a reward for completing that goal. And if you haven’t documented your News Years Resolutions, there is still time. Use this as your starting point. Here’s Part One of the New Year’s Resolutions that you should make, and why you should keep them this year.
We’ll start with one of the most common resolutions: adding consistent exercise into your schedule. We all know the health benefits of exercising more but what are the additional benefits if you’re grieving? Exercise is said to be one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. Consistent exercise can have a distinct positive impact when you’re grieving. It relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better and boosts your overall mood. What’s more, you don’t have to be an exercise-aholic to gain these benefits. Studies show that modest and consistent amounts of exercise are a game changer.
In addition, exercise adds benefits by creating healthy change in the brain. From neural growth, reduced inflammation, and even new activity patterns; these adjustments in your brain’s functioning promotes feelings of calm and well-being. You will feel the benefit of exercise in your emotional state! Not to mention that during exercise, endorphins are released. These are potent chemicals in your brain that invigorate your mind and make you feel good. What more reasons do you need!
This resolution is often paired along with exercising more: eating more fruits, vegetables, and protein and cutting down on fat, sugar and processed products. The food that we put into our bodies is the fuel that it runs on. If we put low-grade fuel into an expensive car, it will eventually show! Obviously, the fuel we eat affects our mental health as well as our physical health. Studies have shown that comparing a typical Western Diet to a “traditional” Mediterranean diet or Japanese diet, those who have a “traditional” diet have a 25% - 35% lower risk for depression than their Western counterparts. Now that is compelling evidence!
One researcher suggests that a good starting place is to pay attention to how eating different foods makes you feel — not just at the moment, but the next day too. Then start a “clean” diet for two to three weeks, cutting out all processed foods and sugar. To really boost your healthy eating, add fermented foods like kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, pickles, or kombucha. You could also consider going dairy-free or grain-free and see how your body feels. Once you’ve been clean eating for a few weeks, start re-introducing food back into your diet slowly to see how it affects you. That way you can see which food makes you feel good and which food makes you feel sluggish and adds to your grief.
Drink More Water
Most of us know that we should be drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water per day (which is about 2 liters). This prevents dehydration, which if untreated can lead to fatigue, difficulty concentrating and mood changes. These alone are good reasons to drink more water this year. In addition, did you know that you can actually get high off of water (not recommended though!)? Water can, in fact, make your mind feel good. If you are grieving, anything you can do to help your mind feel better is a benefit.
Water consumption has also been associated with a number of other benefits, such as improved memory, reduced stress, improved cognitive capacity, and better sleep. Research even shows that it can aid in weight loss. Why not put down the coffee and grab a water bottle instead! And if you’re really craving caffeine, try tea instead!
Come Back For More
We have so many reasons to make and keep these New Year’s Resolutions and we’ll have even more to add in a couple weeks. If you enjoyed this article you might also like part two and part three of the series. If you liked these ideas, subscribe to our blog so you can get helpful information like this in your inbox every week!