Health

How Grief Can Affect Your Health

Grief is difficult to deal with, regardless of how close you felt to the person you lost.  Our bodies and minds can react in unexpected ways, leaving us confused and overwhelmed, struggling to care for ourselves while also having to work through the emotions of what’s happened.

If you or a loved one are grieving and struggling to tell which symptoms are illness and which are grief: here are the things to keep in mind.

Fatigue and Physical Exhaustion

Our brain is an organ that goes through a lot of trauma when we’re dealing with grief.  Although the emotions you’re feeling may be intangible, our entire body is affected by our brains when we’re going through this.  A common side effect of grief is extreme fatigue and physical exhaustion.  You might find yourself wondering how you’re even able to stand with how worn down you feel, and that’s natural.

Take time, rest, and be patient with yourself.  Try to get yourself to move around at least once an hour throughout the day to keep your circulation up.

Increased Inflammation and Joint Pain

If you have arthritis, lupus, or other joint and inflammation issues, grief is going to feel like a bag of bricks on your already stressed system.  Grief can cause higher levels of inflammation and joint pain, so it’s vital that you stop and take your time.  Take anti-inflammatory medication, and talk to your doctor if you’re incapable of carrying on life in the same way you could previously. 

Consistent Headaches 

Headaches can easily pop up out of stress, and nothing is as stressful as grief.  If your head starts throbbing constantly, that’s natural.  Make sure to hydrate, get enough rest, and talk to a medical professional if it persists for more than a couple of days in a row or raises to a full migraine.

Digestive Issues and Eating Pattern Changes

One of the most important reasons people should seek grief support is that it’s common to end up starving or overfeeding yourself: and it’s hard to keep track of this if you’re alone.  It’s vital that you keep up regular bodily functions, even though it can feel like your world is ending.

Try to start taking notes of whether you’re eating more or less, and then work to counteract that.  If you struggle with this, let a loved one know what you’re going through, and try to seek help. 

Sleep and Resting Pattern Changes

As you go through grief, you may notice that you’re suddenly unable to sleep or that you sleep too much.  Either change is natural, but both will lead to increased levels of exhaustion and mood changes.  Although taking sleeping meds for an extended period of time, or chugging caffeine to stay awake, isn’t healthy: you should try to at least set a regular schedule, taking in sunlight during waking hours to help with it. 

Grief is a Personal Change Everyone Experiences Differently

Whether you’re experiencing these sensations or others, it’s vital that you have patience with yourself and those around you.  Grief is a lot to deal with, so it’s important to give yourself room to work through it.

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