The death of a loved one can affect you in many ways. For example, you are very aware of your emotional reactions such as sadness, loneliness, anger or guilt. While experiencing these feelings, however, you may fail to recognize the physical symptoms of grief.

Physical Symptoms of Grief

Often, these symptoms are the side effects of stress. While many of them are normal, if they persist for more than a couple of months or impair your ability to function for long periods, you should contact your physician.

Some normal physical symptoms of grief may include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Withdrawal
  • Sleeplessness or sleeping too much
  • Loss of appetite or eating too much
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Forgetfulness
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Confusion
  • Numbness
  • Racing heart
  • Shortness of breath
  • Panic and anxiety
  • Reduced immune system

Relieving the Physical Symptoms of Grief

Realize the importance of taking care of yourself. Although you cannot bring back your loved one, you do have control over your physical well-being. Here are some ways that you can relieve the physical symptoms of grief.

  • Do Not Neglect Your Body

The healthier you are physically, the better you will be able to cope emotionally. If you have existing health problems, see your doctor to monitor your condition. Make sure that stress does not cause problems. Eat properly and get enough rest and exercise.

  • Maintain Your Daily Routines

It can be difficult to maintain your daily routines when experiencing grief. Losing a loved one can disrupt your life in many ways. However, if you make an effort to maintain your routines it can be beneficial for recovering from your loss.

  • Make Lists to Help You Remember What You Need To Do

Making a to-do list can help you maintain your daily routines. It can also be useful for taking care of affairs related to the loss of your loved one. In the case of recovering from grief, it is best to approach tasks one step at a time.

  • Connect With Others

Seek out family members, friends or your pastor to help you through the difficult times.

  • Ask For Help

It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. Support groups are available in most areas. Check with your local hospice, hospitals or churches for grief support groups.

  • Allow Yourself Time to Remember

Although memories of your loved one may be painful to recall, you may find that, in time, they will bring a sense of comfort.

  • Take a Break From Your Grief 

Finding a moment of joy does not mean you are disloyal to the memory of your loved one.

  • Learn Some Relaxation Techniques

Meditation and deep breathing techniques can be highly beneficial for recovering from grief. They can also aid in healing emotional trauma. Practicing relaxation techniques can introduce a new routine that can aid in recovery.

An example of relaxation techniques designed to help relieve the physical symptoms of grief is Yoga for Grief. 

  • Be Wary of Problems With Concentration

If you have trouble concentrating, take extra precautions if you must drive. Or alternatively, ask a family member, friend or coworker to drive. It can be dangerous to operate heavy machinery if you are feeling emotional and/or distracted.

  • Plan a Funeral Service

Plan a funeral service that will honor their memory. Personalizing a funeral service can help to provide closure so that you can move on, while paying tribute to someone close to you who has passed away.

Preplanning cremation services can help to ease the process so that you and your loved ones can take time to process your grief and avoid the stress of planning these services at the time that your loved one passes away.

— Adapted from an article by Nancy E. Crump, M.S., Certified Grief Counselor

The Neptune Society of Northern California has provided a simple and affordable option for more than 125,000 Californians who prefer cremation as the dignified and ecologically responsible alternative to traditional final arrangements. Contact us online or browse our locations to contact a representative.


Category: Grief Support.