Everyone experiences grief at some point in their lives, and it usually has to do with losing someone you cared for deeply. The mourning process looks different for everyone. But, there are healthy ways to get through it and move forward.
On the surface, you might not think it’s important to pay attention to your own health and well-being while you’re mourning a loss. But, when you’re grieving, spending some time focusing on your physical, emotional, and mental health will help you get through it.
Nurturing your health and well-being during the mourning process doesn’t mean you’re forgetting about the person you lost, and it’s not taking away from the pain you feel. But, it can make it easier to work through the stages of grief in healthy, effective ways, so you can continue to live the kind of life your loved one would have wanted for you.
Managing Your Stress
To say losing a loved one is stressful would be an understatement. It’s not just the loss itself that feels overwhelming, it’s often everything that goes with it, including:
- Planning a memorial service;
- Taking care of their estate;
- Dealing with family members and friends;
- Managing their finances.
It’s not uncommon for family members of a deceased loved one to go at “full speed” for weeks after a loss, just because there’s so much to take care of. Those issues, on top of the pain of the loss, can lead to a lot of stress that will undoubtedly impact both your mental and physical health. It should come as no surprise that some of the common health effects of grief include:
- Sleep problems;
- A weakened immune system.
Obviously, you’re not going to be able to completely eliminate stress during the mourning process. But, there are things you can do to manage it and improve your physical and mental health in the process.
Start by prioritizing sleep. Your mind and body can quickly become overwhelmed and exhausted, and a lack of sleep can contribute to anxiety and depression. Certain foods can also have an impact on your stress levels. Foods like chocolate, sugary drinks, and high-gluten items might make you feel good for a moment, they can actually make you feel more stressed. Adopting a healthy diet full of unrefined carbs, fruits with Vitamin C, and healthy fats will make you feel better physically and mentally, and can make it easier to manage your stress.
Maintaining Healthy Habits
Losing a loved one can completely throw off your routine and make your world feel like it’s upside down. It can be hard to get out of bed in the morning, eat meals consistently, or take care of your home. But, maintaining healthy habits during the mourning process will help you find a sense of comfort. Everyone needs a routine. It provides stability and consistency.
While sticking to your normal routine as much as possible is a great way to remain stable, this is also a good time to introduce more preventative health practices into your life. Exercising, eating well, and seeing your doctor regularly can help you to stay strong and healthy through this difficult time. That includes regular visits to the dentist, eye doctor, and your general practitioner.
Grief and the stress that comes with it can cause a weakened immune system. The last thing you want right now is to get sick.
You Don’t Have to Manage Your Grief Alone
It’s far too easy to isolate yourself when you’re grieving. You might find it next to impossible to socialize or to establish a sense of normalcy when someone you love is gone. You might even wonder if you’ll ever be able to have fun again with such an extreme loss in your life. But, isolating yourself is one of the worst things you can do for your overall well-being.
Grief can be exhausting. It can keep you from living the life you want and even getting certain things accomplished. You might find it hard to do a load of laundry or cook a meal for your family, let alone go to work, school, or social events. Don’t be afraid to lean on your support system and let people help you. Most people want to help and support you, but they might not know exactly what you need. Expressing those needs, whether it’s a meal train, taking care of kids, or time away from work can make a big difference in reducing your stress and giving you time to focus on your loss.
If you find that you’re really struggling with grief, lean on that same support system and open up about your feelings. You might be surprised to find that others are struggling just as much, and working through your feelings together can help. Alternatively, you might want to consider talking to a mental health professional. A therapist can help you come to terms with the loss and what you’re feeling, and work with you to develop strategies that will make it easier to move forward.
The mourning process never gets easier. Losing a loved one is always devastating. But, by taking care of your well-being, you’ll be able to move on to the next chapter of your life and find peace again.
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