Grief is hard work. Losing a loved one causes stress on multiple levels. Emotions come and go without warning. This takes a toll on your body, too. At first, you may not even notice it. You think it’s because of all the logistics that need to be dealt with after a death. So many arrangements and phone calls and other details.
After the funeral, others have to get back to their own lives. For you, it’s impossible to think about “moving on.” Without so many people around, it starts to really hit you. They call it “grief fatigue” and it definitely lives up to the name.
Common Signs of Grief Fatigue
You feel like you’re dragging more than walking. Basic chores and daily functions feel daunting. Holding a conversation or engaging in small talk wipes you out.
Some folks struggle with insomnia. Others sleep all the time. In some instances, it’s a mix of both. Despite it all, you never feel rested even when you are able to sleep.
Being on edge is a trauma reaction. But it keeps you tense and wears you out. It’s as if you’re stuck in fight-or-flight mode. This exhausts your nervous system and subsequently, you.
You pushed through the phone calls and the funeral details and all the family interactions. Now, you just want to be alone. With no one else around, you tend to ruminate and this just adds to your fatigue.
Other Sources of Exhaustion
- Intense sorrow and emotional suffering
- Fixated on the person who died
- Conflicts with the people in your life
- Self-blame, guilt, and anger
- Unable to accept what has happened
- Loneliness and numbness
- Unexplained physical pain or tension
How Long Does Grief Fatigue Last After A Loss?
There is no single correct answer to this question. Everyone grieves differently. So many factors are at play. One thing that shows up across the board, though, is that you can take steps to ease the process. If grief exhaustion has you in its grip, here are some self-help suggestions to consider:
It’s not the sexy, quick-fix answer we see in clickbait articles but prioritizing your own health is as fundamental as it gets. This means safeguarding your habits in areas like sleep, eating habits, exercise and physical activity, and stress management.
Resist the Urge to Isolate
Fatigue can build on itself in isolation. It may sound counterintuitive to socialize when you’re tired. But this is a situation where contact with trusted friends and family members can be energizing and healing.
When you suffer a loss, the grief process is not linear. It does not follow a predetermined structure. Letting go of your expectations will reduce the frustration and thus, some of the exhaustion.
Do Not Suppress Your Feelings
Grief is not a form of weakness. You are under no obligation to “stay strong” or “move on” until you’re ready to do so. Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel. You never have to adhere to someone else’s timetable.
Create New Rituals and Traditions
The loss has changed your life. This reality will hit you from time to time, no matter how long it’s been. Finding meaning (whatever that means to you) in the situation is a powerful step toward recovery.
Complicated Grief is a Thing
Asking for help is often the best choice. Left unchecked, grief can linger and become a long-term issue. Since there is no single “right” way to grieve, it can be hugely helpful to work with a therapist during this time period. It all begins with a free and confidential consultation. Let’s connect today so we can help you in grief counseling.