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  • Carly

RELEASE: Work your grief out through Boxing

Over the last three years I have slowly become more and more obsessed with boxing. Some of you may remember a previous blog where I’d shared a bit more of my own personal journey with health and wellbeing and how boxing had been an amazing way to create a substantial positive shift in my life. I’ve become more and more interested in how movement and fitness are a great tool for processing and exploring grief and loss. It seems like such an underexplored space with much more focus on talking, rather than being present in our bodies and using ourselves as a tool to shake out and release grief.

This has also been a theme in our collaboration with The Fandangoe Kid, the most popular sessions at the Fandangoe Skip were movement based, including dancing and yoga. My passion and progress in my own health and fitness journey, as spurred me to qualify as a level three personal trainer, alongside working at the Dennis and Dyer Boxing Academy to learn to be a boxing coach so I can share my passion with others.

Kubler-Ross outlines anger as one of the five stages of grief, but often it doesn’t have enough attention paid to it. Megan Devine, Psychotherapist states:

“The reality of anger never gets any airtime in our culture. Anger is a response to a sense of injustice. Of course you’re angry…..anger, allowed expression, is simply energy. Shown respect and given room, anger tells a story of love and connection and longing for what is lost. Contrary to pop psychology and the medical model, anger is healthy, normal, and necessary.”

An American Study shows how non-contact boxing could be a great antidote to this with many other benefits too: ‘non-contact boxing appears to provide a cathartic release of anger, aggression, stress, and the dissipation of anxious energy’. RELEASE is a holistic 12-week programme offering participants bereavement, a combination of boxing, fitness and grief support. Participants will learn the basics of boxing and by the end be confident at beginner level, alongside group grief support to enable people to connect with each other and explore their grief using a combination of creative and mindfulness activities. We hope to see improvements in people's wellbeing and have some new tools to cope. Each participant will also have access to a 1-1 wellbeing coaching session with a qualified coach aimed to equip them with the tools and confidence to develop further. We’re really grateful to Maverick Stars Trust for generously supporting the programme.

The impacts of the programme will include:

  • Increase skills in boxing and fitness,

  • Improving their health and wellbeing

  • Confidence to acknowledge and explore grief and loss.

  • Help people feel less alone and more connected to others who have similar experiences.

  • Gain new tools for coping with their loss.

A Hospice Bereavement Manager said “this is ideal for people in our patch who are not interested in traditional services but need additional support with their grief. We welcome this collaboration and can see the potential impact for people to process their loss.”

The programme is for men and women and we have a great mixed group forming so far. Participants signing up to the programme happening at the Dennis and Dyer Boxing Academy, Loughton have little boxing experience and told us they are attracted to the programme to help them release their anger and stress, to find a different tool to cope and to meet like minded people. Many of the participants also told us they’d had counselling before, whether bereavement specific or not but found it really difficult, most people said they found it uncomfortable and didn’t like talking about their experiences. We think that RELEASE offers an alternative for the bereaved that also meets people’s overall health and wellbeing and helps us to process grief through our minds and our bodies. We’ll be telling you more about RELEASE in the coming weeks once the programme gets started. We’re also developing a training programme for other gyms, an online version, as well as 1-1s or small groups available for people in the West Essex/London area.

Get in touch with Carly for more info

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