I recently dealt with some legal issues relating to my parents property. Because it is in Puerto Rico (where bureaucracy is thick and difficult to navigate) it meant digging up all sorts of documentation, scanning, faxing, calling, and crossing my fingers that my lawyer was not going to call me and inform me that my family of 5 had to pack up and go there personally.
Needless to say, I started grieving all over again. The interesting thing is that at the beginning I didn’t notice it. All I noticed is that I was feeling very, very tired.
I tried sleeping more, exercising more, drinking less coffee, drinking less wine, drinking more wine… nothing relieved the heaviness I was feeling. Then I found this podcast [Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen offers 7 possibilities, some common, some not-so-obvious, for why you may be tired]. I wanted to share it because it helped me put things in perspective and realize that I was having a bit of anxiety, but most importantly that a big part of what I was feeling was grief.
My mother died 4 years ago, my dad 6 years ago. It has been a long time, but seeing their death certificates and reading through their bank account print outs brought back so much emotion that at first I didn’t even know how to categorize it.
Grief is exhausting. It helps to know that you are exhausted because you are grieving. It helps to know that you are not being lazy or not trying hard enough to “get out there” and “do things”.
It is perfectly normal to feel this way and rest assured that the exhaustion will pass. In my case I couldn’t even remember how tired I felt after my mom passed away. My body didn’t recognize what I was feeling as grief. Acknowledging it helped me focus on the things that I could control and not fret about the things that were just normal psychological reactions.
I hate giving advice, but if you need a list of things you can control, you can try these: keep hydrated, eat well, exercise, take vitamins, get outside-enjoy some sunshine (if you can’t, make sure to take a vitamin D supplement). Also, try to not drink too much coffee or alcohol. If you can, exercise. Like me, you will most likely feel that it is not helping, but you will be able to take pride in knowing that you are keeping your body healthy while the rest of you heals. And remember, be gentle on yourself. Grief is real and everyone grieves in their own personal way, which means that what you are feeling is perfectly normal.