Written by Clara Hinton
Following the loss of a child, many changes take place within the structure of the family. The most obvious change is the acceptance of the death of the child, and the resulting reality of loss.
Coming to terms with the loss of a child is difficult, to say the least. It is not at all unusual for it to take an entire year of getting through all of the “firsts” for the loss to seem real. When reality sets in, other changes take place, also. A mother’s energy level may remain unusually low, and she will often ask the question, “Why do I feel so tired all of the time?”
It is extremely important to remind yourself often that grief affects the mental, emotional, spiritual, and the physical parts of your being. All of these changes drain energy and bring about physical and mental exhaustion. The feelings of grief are not just a figment of your imagination. Grief is real, and it is very hard work. In fact, it is the hardest work you will ever do. A day of grief has been compared to expending the same amount of energy it would take to dig ditches for eight solid hours. So, if you are feeling tired and completely exhausted, there is a reason for feeling worn down and more tired than you’ve ever felt.
What can be done to give some much-needed relief from the tiredness that results from grief? It is of utmost importance to keep yourself well hydrated. The best overall drink is still water. Water keeps the body hydrated, and when the body is properly hydrated, the energy level is boosted considerably.
Getting the proper amount of exercise is also of major importance. Probably the last thing you will feel like doing when you are exhausted from grief is to exercise. But, it is a fact that exercise releases chemicals that will increase your physical energy as well as lend to your emotional health. The best overall method of exercise is walking. If possible, choose an area to walk where you can breathe in some fresh air while viewing peaceful scenes of nature. This will help both your physical and emotional tiredness, and you will find that you will have a more restful sleep in the evening.
Finally, be sure to get the proper amount of rest. Rest is a good way to calm nervousness and anxiety that lends way to feeling physically depleted. When a parent loses a child, the mind can often run out of control with worry for a while. When you rest, close your eyes and allow your mind to drift off to a place where you can choose mental scenes of peacefulness—a babbling brook, the evening sunset, or a field of beautiful wild flowers radiantly in bloom. This will help to relieve the uptight feeling that constantly makes you feel worn down and tired.
Feeling tired from grief is not part of your imagination. Being physically exhausted from doing your grief work is real. By recognizing that grief is hard work, you can take the necessary steps to restore your energy. Stay well hydrated. Exercise daily. Meditate on peaceful scenes. And get your proper rest. By practicing this combination of basic, yet necessary, grief coping skills, you will find your energy level begin to come back to normal.
As you take charge of this area of your grief, you will begin to feel a little less out of control and more in charge. By being aware of the changes that occur following the loss of a child, you can take a positive approach to walking this difficult journey we call grief.