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HOW GRIEF FEELS
After your loss, you may feel some or all of the symptoms of grief, listed below. These feelings may come and go and vary in intensity.
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loss of appetite
- Physical aches and pains
- Sleep disruption [too much or too little]
- Sense of heaviness, as if you are carrying a burden
- Lack of energy
- Short-term memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sense the world has become “unreal”
- Disconnection from people and life
- Lack of interest in social activities
- Feelings of sadness, anger, loneliness, guilt, anxiety
Grief can make you physically ill. If it does, you should not hesitate to seek medical assistance from your physician.
What you can do:
- Take it one moment at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time.
- Try to maintain a normal routine.
- Get enough sleep or at least enough rest.
- Exercise regularly to relieve stress and tension
- Eat a balanced diet. Drink plenty of water
- If possible, postpone making major decisions, like selling your home or changing jobs, until after the first year of grieving.
- Find creative outlets to express your feelings, such as a journal, art, photography, needlework, or scrapbooking.
- Write a letter to your loved one telling him or her how you feel.
- Honor the memory of your loved one by engaging in an activity or project he or she held dear.
- Start a new family tradition in your loved one’s memory.
- Think about other times you have experienced a loss and the coping skills used to survive that loss.
- Allow yourself to feel all feelings – sadness, anger, guilt, helplessness, pain.
- Cry as much as you want to. Tears help release pain and tension.
- Forgive yourself for real and imagined transgressions or missed opportunities.
- Be patient with your grief. Don’t let others hurry you through your grief or tell you how you should feel.
- Attend a support group or talk to others who have lost a loved one.
- Seek out your most trusted friends or family for support when you need it. Choose to spend time with those who comfort, sustain, and recharge you.
- Accept the assistance of your close friends when they offer help. Don’t go it alone.
- Take a break from your grief and do something fun – try to keep your sense of humor. See a movie, read a book, listen to your favorite music, buy a new album, get a massage.
- Above all else, take care of yourself.