Loss and grief trigger stress that can impact physical and mental health. Whether the loss is a death, divorce, job or other difficulty, your health can suffer. Here are a few ways you can manage your health after a loss.
Be Aware of Your Mental and Physical State
The first step in managing your wellbeing following a loss is having an awareness of your physical and mental state. It may help to track how you’re feeling and how you slept in a journal or planner with brief notes or symbols. This can help you track your state over time. Your records can also guide you to take steps to manage your wellbeing with mindfulness, setting a sleep routine, scheduling exercise, and more.
Another key in awareness of your health is maintaining regular health checkups. This includes an annual wellbeing visit with your doctor and with your dentist. Your doctor may order additional health screenings, such as a mammogram, colonoscopy, or other tests that you may have deferred during difficult times. Statistics show that millions of people delayed cancer screenings during the pandemic, which may mean cancers go undetected longer.
Mental Health Following a Loss
While grief is most often associated with depression, it may lead to a range of emotions. Those emotions may seem confusing, as there may be relief knowing an ailing individual is free of the suffering caused by their illness. Anger also can arise from loss, which is also normal. Knowing this and more about grief can help you cope. That is why New Day Cremation and Funeral Care provides grief-related content in this blog.
Support groups can be a healthy part of recovering from a loss. It can be reassuring to know that others are experiencing similar difficulties. Support groups are often free or low-cost opportunities to connect with others rather than burdening friends who may not have the same experience. Attending a support group allows those present to express feelings and to feel validated by others. Check out our list of grief resources for the New Bedford area.
Counseling may be an option to work through very personal emotions and feelings of anger, sadness, and anxiety that can appear in grief. A good counselor can not only help you express and manage your feelings, but they may also be helpful as you determine the next steps in your life. A loss may also precipitate moving, getting a job, or any number of other life changes. The transition of loss is very personal, which can necessitate one-on-one conversations. Counselors can also determine if you are clinically depressed and refer you to appropriate providers to address depression, PTSD, and anxiety.
Remember that having a plan can reduce anxiety. South Shore families who preplan a funeral feel more control and peace about the future knowing that their plans are in place. Learn more about the benefits of planning a funeral.
Caring for Your Physical Health
Like any major life transition, such as moving or getting married, loss is stressful. It comes with many tasks for heirs and estate executors that need to be completed in a certain timeframe. This can increase your stress and reduce your ability to get a good night’s rest or take care of yourself so you can function at your best.
The stress of loss can impact physical health, and it can be one reason people defer healthcare. The additional tasks following a loss can present scheduling challenges, but healthcare should be taken seriously. If you must defer a health screening, set a timeframe when you will have more time to reschedule the appointment. Your healthcare providers will likely understand and can call you about rescheduling when you are ready.
In addition, some individuals who have been caregivers to ailing loved ones, such as those with dementia, cancer, or other progressive illnesses, struggle to find the time for doctor visits. We encourage caregivers to reach out to friends to see if they can spend the couple of hours with the person in need so the caregiver can visit the doctor or dentist.
Respite care providers and adult day programs may be available to allow for health appointments as well as shopping, exercise classes, and self-care activities. Start by searching online for respite care in the South Shore area, and ask others if they have taken advantage of local respite providers. Knowing the resources available is a step you can take now to ease anxiety. Besides, you never know when you may need these services.
Reminders about Grief and Health
Being aware of your mental and physical state and mindful of your needs is important. Grief can have short-term and long-term effects that can surprise you months or years later. Read more about some common grief myths, and reach out to a support group or counselor for help balancing emotional and mental needs.
On the physical side, take care to get enough sleep and rest when you need it. Approach appointments and tasks one at a time, keeping a list of your health priorities so you can be more resilient. Our wish is that you will manage your health after loss to enhance your quality of life so you can spend more good times with your family and friends.