You have no energy because grief is exhausting, yet you need energy to survive the stages of grief! Here’s how to re-energize your body through the grieving process. Feeling bleak, tired, and even physically exhausted are normal signs of grief — which means you can’t completely avoid them. But just because it’s normal to have no energy when you’re grieving doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to re-energize.
“I want to be in a good place in my life again, to accept what happened and move forward happily,” says Shelley on “Letting Go of the Past – Without a Long Goodbye”. “I’m trying every day. There are days where I feel I can’t take it anymore, but I’ll keep trying. I’m glad I came across this blog post. It’s comforting and very helpful. I’m reading a couple of articles that you wrote on the grieving process. I like how the advice is not just generic and tells you to snap out of it. Rather it really makes you reflect on what is causing the pain and gives you specifics on how to help yourself.”
Yes, I’m a big fan of specific and practical tips on how to solve problems and Blossom into who we were created to be! But if we struggling with no energy, lack of motivation, or a prolonged grieving process…then how do we get out of bed, much less Blossom?
These tips on how to re-energize your body will help you cope with the bleak, depressing days of grief. It’s a dark tunnel, the grieving process, and the physical symptoms seem to make everything worse. Let’s take a brief look at the most common symptoms of grief on your body, and learn why your have no energy. Then I’ll share three of my best tips for re-energizing your body so you can move forward with your life!
Physical Symptoms of Grief
Here’s a short list of the physical signs of grief:
- Lack of energy, fatigue, exhaustion
- Pain in the chest area
- Feeling of tightness in the throat
- Disruption of eating and sleeping rhythms
- Dry mouth
- Restlessness, irritability, and impatience
- Stomach and digestive problems
Other effects of grief include weakness and lack of life, physical aches and pains, cognitive impairment, and lack of concern with personal care (eg, showering, bathing, or brushing your teeth). When you’re grieving, you have no energy to take care of your physical health needs. This spirals you downward physically and emotionally, which gives you even less energy to take care of yourself! See the importance of learning how to re-energize your body when you’re grieving?
In 10 Benefits of Yoga in the Grieving Process, I describe how the physical movements and poses of yoga can re-energize your body in grief and help you sleep better.
3 Reasons You Have No Energy When You’re Grieving
“I feel physically exhausted and emotionally empty,” says Marie on How to Recover From Loss and Survive Grief. “My husband was ill with multiple sclerosis for 45 years; he died when he was 68. I’m now in my late 60s and I don’t know what makes me happy or what to do. I have no energy and I’m just tired.I think ‘Oh well I’m not going anywhere what’s the point of getting dressed?’ I can’t be bothered and I know this is not healthy. I have no idea what to do. Any advice would be appreciated.”
1. You’re recovering from the physical toll of caregiving
If you’re grieving the loss of a loved one you cared for, then your body is physically depleted. You have no energy because you used it all up while caring for your ill family member! Even if you didn’t take care of your loved for for years — and even if your loved one was hospitalized and cared for, or died a quick unexpected death — your body has been dealt a physical blow.
Grief affects your physical body, not just your emotions and spirit. That’s one of the reasons why you have no energy in the grieving process: your loss actually impacts your stomach, gut, heart, and muscles.
2. The emotional experience of grief is physically exhausting
Your emotions are directly connected to your physical body. Here’s an easy way to feel that connection: take a deep breath. Notice how it makes you physically feel to take that breath. And, notice how it makes you feel emotionally. Do you feel lighter in spirit, more open in your heart?
You have no energy when you’re in the grieving process because your body is dealing with the shock of your loss. Even if your loss was anticipated — even if you think you were prepared for the death or divorce — your body still has to absorb the shocking blow of grief. And this tires you out. All your body’s resources are coping with the emotional and spiritual toll of grief…and this gives you a lack of energy for everything else.
3. You’re spending energy on refusing to accept the loss
Ah, the biggest cause of suffering in our world: denial of reality. You probably aren’t walking around believing or pretending your dead loved ones are actually alive…but are you asking “Why” a lot? Are you refusing to believe or accept your loss? Do you keep wishing your loved one was still alive, and not allowing yourself to move forward into a new season in your life?
You are not alone. Read through the comments of Help Starting Over in Your 60s – After Your Husband Dies. Know that accepting that your loved one is gone — or that the divorce really happened, or a broken relationship won’t be restored — is difficult. It’s hard to say good-bye. If you’re struggling to accept your loss, then you have no energy because you’re fighting reality. You may be “passively grieving,” which means you’re spinning your wheels in sadness and sorrow.
So, how do you re-energize your body when you’re going through the stages of grief? I’m glad you asked!
3 Ways to Re-Energize Your Body When You’re Grieving
While you’re scrolling through these practical tips, remember that everybody recovers differently. These are my favorite ways to regain energy after a loss…and they may or may not work for you. Your job is to try it and see. And, report back in the comments section below! I’d love to hear how you are, and if you’ve found better ways to re-energize yourself through the grieving process.
1. Remember that physical activity energizes you – so don’t wait!
Don’t wait until you feel energized before you go for a walk, hike through a forest trail, or ride your bike to the park. You will never have enough energy if you just wait for your grief to pass.
Instead, focus on one of the most famous laws of physics: a body in motion stays in motion. A body at rest wants to stay at rest. This means that the best way to get your physical body in motion — and to re-energize yourself — is to get back on the horse. What was your horse before you lost your loved one? Maybe it was swimming, jogging, or going to yoga class. If you didn’t do physical exercise before your loss, then you’ll have even less energy through the grieving process. And that, my friend, explains why you have no energy now. Not only are you in grief, you’re also out of shape. Double dose of despair.
2. Eat the good stuff – and pay attention to your energy levels
I didn’t even want to include this tip on how to re-energize your body, because you already know it. You know you should be eating healthy food that revitalizes and energizes your brain, heart, stomach, muscles, and digestive tract!
But do you pay attention to how food makes you feel AFTER you eat it? Sure, you know how great it feels to nosh down on chocolate chunk cookies, sloppy fatty french fries in cheese curds and gravy, or deep fried chicken cutlets with whatever butter-drenched side dishes that are heavy, rich, and energy draining.
You can fight those “I have no energy” feelings — even when you’re in the grieving process — by eating healthy, light, nutritious foods. I urge you to try it today: just eat one meal that is healthy and life-giving, light and full of nutrition. Pay attention to how your body feels, and to how re-energized your cells and muscles get. Trust me! It works. Food is a healer, it will give you the energy you lack and the motivation you need to survive life after someone you love dies.
3. Look upwards and surrender to God’s loving, powerful energy
Ah, the best and only sustainable way to re-energize your body through the grieving process: accept God’s power and love into your life, heart, and spirit. Your job is to care for yourself, and to open your heart to a life flow you can find nowhere else. God’s job is to heal your body, spirit, and soul in ancient ways. He binds the broken-hearted and heals His wounded children.
Life grows after death. Seeds sprout in garbage piles. Energy fills empty voids…even after the painful loss of a loved one. You can’t be with the person you love and desperately, and it hurts. I am sorry for your loss.
But if you want to live joyfully and happily in this world, you must accept your loss and start walking into a new season of your life.
Help Re-Energizing Your Body in Grief
Often, I include books at the end of my articles, to help readers get more of what they need. This time I’m sharing resources for coping with the lack of energy women often feel when they’re in the grieving process…
In Healing Your Grieving Body- 100 Physical Practices for Mourners, Alan D. Wolfelt and Kirby J. Duvall share a wide variety of tips for healing and re-energizing through grief.
From muscle aches and pains to problems with eating and sleeping, Healing the Grieving Body addresses how your body responds to the impact of profound loss. Low energy, headaches, and other physical health issues are also taken into account. With 100 ways to help soothe the body and calm the mind, this compassionate book is an excellent resource in understanding the connection between lack of energy, physical exercises, and the grieving process.
Gentle Yoga: 7 Beginning Yoga Practices for Mid-life is a wonderful, gentle way to ease your body through grief. It’s not a “grief yoga DVD”, but it will re-energize your body, relax your muscles, and help you face whatever the day brings.
I do yoga twice a week; it’s not a spiritual exercise for me. Rather, it’s a physical way to increase my energy levels and stay loose and limber! I can do more push ups now (because of all those Downward Dogs 🙂 ), and I can twist in all sorts of ways.
If you’re new to yoga, I encourage you to take at least one class, to get the in-person tips. Then, use s yoga DVD for a peaceful, gentle morning or evening stretch series.
May you find peace and healing as you journey through the grieving process. May your energy levels increase, your physical health improve, and your relationship with God enter new depths and heights! And may you let your loved one go, knowing your spirits and souls will be reunited one day.