Grief is a normal reaction to a loss. When someone dies, we all experience it. Working through the grieving process in a healthy way is essential. While feeling “out of sorts” is normal and often temporary, there are some signs that indicate professional grief counseling might be necessary. Here are some indicators to remain aware of.

Physical Symptoms of Grief

The body responds to grief in different ways. Some people have a difficult time sleeping or experience headaches. Muscle aches or fatigue are also common. Others might notice a change in appetite, stomach aches or forgetfulness. If these symptoms are short-lived or easily manageable with natural and over-the-counter remedies, it’s okay to simply let them pass. However, if they are persistent or include more serious complaints such as tightness in the chest or shortness of breath, scheduling a professional evaluation is a smart decision.

Feeling Unproductive

After the loss of a loved one, you might find yourself not wanting to get out of bed or feeling unmotivated to head to work. While it is healthy to give yourself time to recover, if grief is interfering with your ability to live a productive, normal life, seek counseling. Some options during this time include taking advantage of your employer’s mental health care benefits, using flex time to give yourself some freedom from work-related duties or re-focusing on something you enjoy. A volunteer activity or hobby can help make you feel needed again.

Anger and Hostility

Anger is another natural part of grieving. However, when it is uncontrollable, the results are often dangerous. If your grief is causing you to lash out at others, feel physically violent or try to hurt yourself, get help. A grief counselor can assess the concerns and help you develop a plan to get through this difficult time. In some extreme cases, it may be worthwhile to also separate yourself from others for a short period of time. However, it is important to not become isolated as this can lead to further feelings of depression, anxiety and hostility.

Finding a Path Forward

Finally, recognize the importance of making changes and moving on. It is sometimes difficult to do this too soon. However, if you are keeping your loved one’s room perfectly intact or resisting talking about them at all for an extended period of time, it might be time to get some help. If your loved one was in hospice care, bereavement counseling is available to you after they pass. A mental health counselor or group therapy might also guide you toward the tools you need to move forward in a healthy way.

Grief is complex. We all deal with it in our own way. While it is okay to work through this process alone, help from a qualified mental health professional is often beneficial. Salus Homecare Orange County hospice services include compassionate, professional bereavement counseling to support you after your loved one passes. Let us know if you need help.