The Stress of Loss
It's hard to sort through the flood of emotions that typifies grief and the stress that comes with it. Intense sadness, numbness, even anger and guilt all are normal reactions. Grief also can have physical effects, such as insomnia.
How long someone grieves varies from person to person. Someone who loses a spouse or child may grieve for as long as 3 years or more. This is particularly true when the death is unexpected. And, of course, a person may always feel sad about the loss.
After you've lost someone close to you, it's important to take care of yourself. Major loss is stressful, and this stress can zap your energy and leave you feeling run down. Attending to your emotional and physical needs will help you combat the stress of this difficult time.
While it's hard to imagine at first, most people eventually do adjust after the death of a loved one. The key to this is admitting the loss and the painful feelings that go with it. For some, these actions may help:
- Talk to someone you trust, or jot down your feelings in a journal. Or you may want to join a bereavement support group.
- Set aside time for reflecting. Allow yourself to cry and express what you feel.
- Fight stress by being kind to your body. Stick to a healthy diet and get enough sleep and exercise. Avoid alcohol, which can make you feel more depressed.
- Keep up with at least one of your hobbies.
Again, while everyone experiences grief differently, you should speak to your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- feelings of worthlessness
- persistent thoughts of death
- trouble carrying out everyday activities
He or she will have advice to help you grieve and begin to move on.
Sources: Krames Staywell, Helpguide.org