Grief, Sadness, and Your Mental Health
California has recently announced plans to safely reopen businesses, schools, stores, and churches. However, it will still be a long time before we recover from the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if we’ve stayed healthy, many of us are dealing with great uncertainty and have suffered great losses – the death of a loved one, losing a job, or having to give up a lifestyle we loved. And for many of us, the current state of our country, the treatment of its Black citizens, and the differences in health care access for Latino and Black communities during this crisis has added to what is already a difficult and frightening situation. With all of these factors, many of us may be experiencing sadness and grief. Over time, these painful emotions can come to the surface and affect our ability to live a normal life.
So, how do we manage and transition into a healthy state of mind? Learning how to recognize these emotions and understand what purpose they serve can help you get through it.
A Healthy Life Depends on a Healthy Mind
Your mental health matters and must be a priority in your life: it’s essential to acknowledge that taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health.
Mental health issues don’t just make us feel bad, emotionally. They can lead to physical problems, such as fatigue, insomnia, headaches, nausea, pain, and even lasting issues like high blood pressure. While you may want to run away from, bury, or ignore painful emotions, acknowledging them and making an effort to deal with them can make a huge difference in recovering a healthy balanced life.
Get to Know the Difference Between Grief and Sadness
We all know how it feels to be sad – sadness is a very natural emotion, and it is usually in response to some event in our lives. Believe it or not, feeling sad can be positive. Sadness can help us heal while we are going through difficult times. Unfortunately, if sadness lasts for too long, it can lead to depression.
Like sadness, grief is a natural reaction to the loss of someone or something significant to us. But unlike sadness, grief isn’t one particular feeling: grief can make you feel sad, angry, powerless, bitter, anxious, or even numb. Grief can even take over your brain and lead to thoughts that can make you feel uncomfortable. Too much grief can be overwhelming, and it can lead to depression or physical problems.
How to Start Healing
Grieving is an individual process, and it can take some time before you feel like you’re back to normal. While grieving, there are a few things you can do to help yourself and recover:
Taking care of your physical health will reflect on your emotions: Adding simple, healthy habits such as drinking more water, eating healthier, working out, or trying to get more sleep at night can have a positive effect on your mood.
Try to live your life: it’s important to remember the things you used to do, and what made you happy. Even if you don’t feel good, going for a walk, reading a good book, or watching your favorite movie may bring you some joy. Allow yourself to be happy.
Find support from your family and friends: even though grieving is a personal process, seek understanding and companionship from someone close to you, especially if you are feeling lonely. Don’t be afraid of sharing your feelings and connecting with others.
Be patient with the process: There’s no time-table for grief. For some people, grief can last a long time, especially if it is due to the death of someone close. In fact, you may never get completely over it: hearing a song or remembering the anniversary of an event can make your grief more intense, even if you thought you were over it. But over time, the pain lessens. It may take years before the pain of grief goes away completely.
Go to therapy: Sometimes, grief can affect your ability to live a healthy life, and you may need extra support from a professional. Talk to your doctor or find a therapist if:
⦁ Your grief prevents you from doing normal, daily activities, such as going to work, keeping your house in order, or caring for yourself
⦁ You socially withdraw from people in your life
⦁ You feel like life isn’t worth living
⦁ You think about hurting yourself
A therapist can help you deal with your emotions and teach you ways to cope until you are feeling better.
Help is Always Available
If you are having a hard time with your grief, you don’t know how to cope with sadness, or you feel like you may be depressed, we can help. Reach out to our Behavioral Health team at (855) 425-1777. We are here for you, and we want you to grow healthy in body, mind, and spirit.