Thursday, June 17, 2004

Coping with the loss of a loved one: Physical Health

This was really interesting to read - I can totally relate to this. I know it is something that I feel I have little control over but who knew! There is light at the end of the tunnel .....

During mourning, you may drink more alcohol and smoke more cigarettes than usual and overuse tranquilizers and other medications. All of these habits contribute to poor health, making it even harder to work through your grief. The effect of grief on our health is just beginning to be measured. While guarding your health can be among the least of your concerns during the throes of grief, you must work toward maintaining your health as soon as you feel able.

Symptoms to be alert for:

Stomach pain
Loss of appetite
Intestinal upsets
Sleep disturbances
Dramatic loss of energy

Many of these symptoms of acute grief, and other physical manifestations of your mental anguish, begin to disappear as you adjust to your loss. You will have to be alert to their messages. Report any ongoing physical complaints to your doctor.

Steps to Renewed Health

1. Regular Exercise
Walking, running, and weight training are good activities to pursue. Start by just taking a walk around the block for 15 minutes. Maybe a day hike in the local park. Invite a friend to join you.

2. Proper nutrition
Cooking for one can be a chore even when your appetite is good. When your appetite is poor or, at best, unpredictable, cooking can simply not get done. Some people find that they are eating unusual things at odd hours, or that they never sit down for a meal because they can't bear to face that empty chair across the table. Understand that these feelings are natural and look for ways to make mealtime as bearable as possible. Perhaps you could share shopping and cooking with a single friend or neighbor.

3. Sleep
Adequate sleep is perhaps one of the toughest goals to achieve. Beware of the temptation to rely on drugs, such as alcohol or tranquilizers, to numb your pain, to bring on sleep. Many people who were offered such artificial relief during their grief say that the drugs only delayed the time they were forced to confront their pain. Take a nap. Go to bed early.

Your health is at a critical point right now. The physical demands on you have been enormous. Take care of yourself!

All very true!

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