Eating Healthy Can Help With the Grieving Process
Did you know that if you are grieving, eating healthier can actually help with the process? It’s true. Bereavement services in San Mateo and elsewhere can also help, but focusing on a strong diet is a great start. In honor of Diet Resolution Week during the first week of January, we are proposing some healthy eating tips that can help you get through the grieving process.
Healthy Diets and Self-Care
Losing a loved one turns your life upside down. You may neglect the basics like your own well-being and health as you navigate through the emotional pain. But maintaining your physical and mental health is critical at this time. Here are some tips for self-care:
- Eat well: A well-balanced diet can help you withstand the stress of grieving, says Harvard Medical School. Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water. It’s easy to get dehydrated when you’re busy grieving! If you don’t have much of an appetite these days, start with small, healthy portions more frequently throughout the day. Add a daily multivitamin to the mix to cover any missing nutrients.
- Increase protein intake: Between 10 and 30 percent of your daily caloric intake should come from protein.
- Take your medications: Because grief makes you more susceptible to illness, you need to keep on top of taking your regular medications.
- Get those ZZZs: Grief is tiresome. Take a short nap during the day if you are feeling fatigued, but try not to sleep for hours on end during the day. You still want to be able to get a good night’s sleep so you can be refreshed the next day. Missing sleep could make it more likely that you get sick. Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol, which tend to mess with your sleep cycle.
- Get exercise: It doesn’t have to be much: a walk around the block, a yoga session, a bike ride, or Pilates. Try some kickboxing if you want a more intense workout to ease anger, agitation, and depression. Whatever you choose, exercise offers a distraction when you need to take a pause from grieving, or when you need quiet time to embrace your loss. Given the physical and emotional toll that grief takes on your body, you may want to hold off on the strenuous workout routines for now. Start with easy or moderate routines and increase slowly from there, says Very Well Fit.
- Stay hydrated: With grief comes a lot of crying, which dehydrates the body quickly. Stay away from too much caffeine and alcohol, which also dehydrate.
- Avoid risky behavior: Some people, after experiencing a profound loss, justify using coping strategies that could be dangerous, such as drinking excessively, using drugs, and engaging in other types of self-destructive behaviors. Short-term pain relief is never worth it in the end. In fact, it can lead to further losses if the behavior gets out of control. Limit alcohol to one glass a week for now.
- Put off big decisions: Grief clouds normal thought processes, so don’t make abrupt decisions that you could regret later. A good rule of thumb is to wait one year from the date of loss to make important, life-altering decisions, such as selling the house, switching jobs, or clearing out mementos.
- Engage in self-care: Take time out for you. Meditate, call a buddy for coffee, go on a girls’ night, or go shopping with a friend, if nothing else than to take a break from grieving.
Tips on How to Eat When Grieving
As you work your way through grief, especially at the beginning, you’ll need a bit more help in the meal prep department. Here are some tips:
- Prepare frozen meals in advance so you can thaw them out fast when you need something healthy.
- If it seems too overwhelming to clean real plates and utensils right now, just use paper plates and plastic utensils. When eating healthy is a priority, your carbon footprint is the last thing you should be worried about.
- Attempt to enjoy cooking by turning on some soothing background music and experimenting with different recipes to stay engaged.
- Stay away from processed food. It may taste good in the moment, but it’s doing damage to your body that you can’t afford right now. Stock your fridge and pantry with leafy greens, fresh produce, chicken, nuts, and homemade trail mixes. Stay away from boxed food, canned food, and microwave dinners.
- Cut down on the intake of caffeine, sugary drinks, alcohol, white breads, and desserts.
- Plan out a few days’ worth of meals in advance. This will give you a guideline to follow so you don’t feel overwhelmed each day debating about what to make for dinner.
Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice
To check out our many bereavement services, such as support groups and counseling, contact us today at 888-978-1306. We are here to help you through this difficult time, as a complement to the things you’re doing to help yourself such as incorporating a healthy diet.