Can Grief Make You Tired?

March 30, 2021

Grieving the loss of a loved one takes immense energy.  Chronic fatigue and exhaustion are extremely common throughout the grieving process.  Sometimes, it takes all our energy to pretend that we are okay when in reality, we feel as though we are drowning in despair.  We move through each day as if we are in a zombie-like state, totally numb and simply going through the motions.  On some mornings, we might feel like we can barely lift our heads off the pillow.  Any attempts to parent, socialize, or just do normal day-to-day tasks completely wipe us out.  All this is wholly normal and part of the grieving experience.

To manage the extreme fatigue, it is important to take a few action steps:

  • Be patient with yourself and understand that you are grieving; under normal circumstances, you would not feel this way. Healing takes time and this will not last forever.
  • Cut yourself some slack and try not to take on too much in one day. Limit your daily tasks and tackle them in order of urgency.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Often, when we are grieving, we get so caught up in our own heads that we feel as though we are a burden on our family and friends.  That is not the case—most of our loved ones are chomping at the bit to help in any way they can.

Unburden yourself and ask for help with carpool pick-up, meal preparation, and any other daily activity that needs attention.  This does not mean you are not handling your grief well; it means that you recognize you need to make your healing a priority.

Although some aspects of grief can be felt long-term, the intense feelings decrease over time. Eventually, you will begin to see the glimpses of your old self and feel as though life is returning to normal.  If you feel your symptoms are not getting better, please reach out for professional help.


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