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Todays Question December 12, 2017
 

Question:
I just lost my husband six months ago and I feel tired so much of the time. Is that normal and do you have any suggestions?
Dotty R, Columbus Ohio



This Answer given by Rachel Weinstein, MS, Psychotherapist & Bereavement Specialist.Rachel Weinstein
Rachel Weinstein is a Bereavement Specialist. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Health Science and a Master of Science in Education/Counseling Psychology from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She has worked as a psychotherapist in both private practice and in the outpatient mental health system. In 1995 she became interested in the area of bereavement after the sudden death of someone she loved prompted her to seek support for herself. She subsequently became acutely aware of what was missing in the way of support and practical guidance through the grief process. She has since obtained additional education and experience in the area of grief support and was the Coordinator of Client Care at the Centre for Living with Dying in Santa Clara, California. She maintains a private practice in Monterey, California providing support, education, and consultation for grief, loss, and life transition. She offers workshops and presentations throughout the country and is committed to providing compassionate, responsible grief support and education. Rachel can be reached at 831/476-5051, or HealingAll@GriefComfort.com.


Answer

Grief is not only an emotional process, but a physical one. Our bodies do not know the difference between a physical trauma and an emotional one. So, one thing we can do as we grieve is to honor both our emotional and our physical needs. In a nutshell, it’s important to get more water, more rest, good nutrition, gentle movement to break up the stress, and deep breaths.

Did you know that dehydration (and subsequent thirst) is a common experience as we grieve? Experiencing grief is likened to running a marathon. Just like a marathon runner who needs more water to meet the body’s increased need, you need more water to hydrate your body and help it meet its increased demands during the challenge.

Fatigue is also a symptom of grief. Just as we feel more tired when we have the flu (because we need to slow down in order to heal), in grief our bodies also signals us to slow down so that we can begin the healing process. Finding time to rest or nap, if possible, during our grief is so important. Holidays may be demanding, but create an opportunity whenever you can to honor your body’s need for rest. This may require enlisting the help of others to create an opportunity for you to nap or “sleep in” a bit.

Being mindful of eating nutritiously is also important, even though we may either have no appetite or be prone to overeat out of stress. Give your body the fuel it needs to take on additional tasks during the holidays while dealing with your emotional pain. Eat small nutritious snacks throughout the day, even if it means keeping some on hand in your car or workplace.

Your body also experiences the effects of tension and stress, so working out the tension through exercise and gentle stretches is important. This may not be by getting a full “workout” in, but through brisk walks, yoga or swimming, for example. Massages are also a wonderful way to work out the tension and stress in our bodies.

Finally, because we all tend to be unaware that we breathe shallowly (and even hold our breaths) when we’re stressed, getting deep breaths as often as possible is important. Unsure how? Put your hand on your diaphragm (just under your ribcage). Breathe in slowly through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Your hand should rise up and down with your breaths. In shallow breathing, our chest rises and falls. Try getting 10 deep breaths in whenever you feel tense, lightheaded, or simply catch yourself holding your breath. It’s a simple way to get your body the oxygen it needs to help you move through your difficult moments.




     
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