The Physical Symptoms of Grief After Losing a Loved One

Sad person

Grief is a natural response to losing someone you love, and it will have very noticeable effects on your body.

The pain of losing a loved one can feel like your world is crashing down and make your body feel like it is shutting down.

The loss will lead to many negative effects that will make coping on a daily basis a difficult challenge.

In this blog, we will go over the details of what is happening to your body and how to get back to your life and overcome these obstacles.

Grief & Loss Therapists in Colorado

Bethany Cantrell, LPCC

Bethany Cantrell, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Sarah Lawler, LPCC

Sarah Lawler, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021
Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Arias Gonzales, MS, LPCC, NCC

Arias Gonzales, MS, LPCC, NCC

(719) 345-2424
Sierra Brown, SWC

Sierra Brown, SWC

(719) 345-2424
Megan Brausam, LPC

Megan Brausam, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Amber Hopf, MSW, SWP

Amber Hopf, MSW, SWP

(719) 602-1342
Alyssa Hodge, LPCC

Alyssa Hodge, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Bonna Machlan, Ph.D., LPC, CAS

Bonna Machlan, Ph.D., LPC, CAS

(719) 452-4374
Jessica Titone, LPCC

Jessica Titone, LPCC

(720) 437-9089

Fatigue and Loss of Sleep

The day starts with a solid night's sleep, right?

Not if you have recently lost someone close to you.

One of the main and most common physical symptoms of grief after losing a loved one is the loss of sleep.

A single sleepless night will feel like an eternity.

The emotional stress taking its toll on the body will leave you with feelings of total exhaustion and lethargy.

Grief will also disturb your normal sleep patterns. This will make it more difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, and overall, get a good night's rest.

This insomnia you experience from the grief your body is going through will exacerbate the feeling of fatigue.

To manage the loss of sleep, you will have to get creative.

Take naps on lunch breaks, trying to relax in any moment you get the opportunity.

You can also practice breathing techniques and meditation just to calm the body and experience a few moments of relaxation.

If you are experiencing this, it's very important to avoid caffeine or any non-natural chemicals that may extend sleeplessness and fatigue.

Loss and Change in Appetite

Grief will likely change your eating habits as well. Total loss of appetite, limited appetite, and even food repulsion and vomiting are possibilities.

On the flip side, some people will turn to food as a sort of comfort and overindulge themselves in unhealthy treats to make themselves feel better.

Irregular eating habits can cause you to drastically slide one way or the other on the scales and develop bad habits.

These habits will only further the physical effects you are experiencing due to the grief you are feeling.

This will make it healthy to find a balanced and healthy diet, which is crucial to physical and mental health.

Do you see how these issues can stack atop each other?

To avoid this situation, it's very important to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet.

Natural, organic, and homemade foods are best if you have the time and budget for them.

What you put into your body is important no matter what is going on in your life and will only lead to positive effects overall.

If you need, it's a great idea to talk to healthcare professionals, such as dieticians and personal trainers. You can also turn to family members for help with diet needs.

Physical Pain and Tension

Some people, in extreme states of grief, will say they feel like they are dying of a broken heart, while this is a common hyperbole, there are physically painful effects the grief from losing a loved one will have on your body.

Many people experience headaches, muscle tension, and stomach pain to name a few.

Long-term grieving, stress, and tension can lead to chronic pain.

To avoid these issues, it's important to remain active.

By exercising at least 3 times a week you can ensure a healthier body and mind.

You can also engage in relaxation techniques to lower your stress and help your body alleviate some of the pain it's feeling. 

Again, breathing techniques, meditation, and walks outdoors are great for this.

Seeking the help of a holistic massage therapist and yoga instructors can aid in relaxation and physical health.

Weakened Immune System and Hormonal Imbalance

Grief can impact your immune system making it more difficult for your body to do its job and fight off diseases and illnesses.

This is bad news as it will leave you open to attack from different viruses and bacteria.

Stress will also lead to imbalances in hormones.

When you stress and grieve, your body will release copious amounts of cortisol and adrenaline. 

This will lead to a range of negative health problems, from weight gain to headaches, fatigues, moodiness, and a plethora of other problems.

Both of these effects can be helped with daily multivitamins, regular visits to your clinical physician, exercise, and stress-reducing techniques as mentioned before.

Heart and Digestive Problems

Grieving can lead to an increased risk for heart disease, and increases in blood pressure and heart rate.

These all combine to raise your risk of heart attack and other heart-related problems.

Along with heart problems, you can be at increased risk of digestive problems, such as diarrhea, and constipation.

Both of these can be helped by monitoring your health regularly.

It's a good idea to do a daily check-up with yourself and a monthly or even weekly check-in with your healthcare provider when you are grieving and not in a good state of health.


When we look at all of the different physical issues that can arise from grieving over a lost loved one, it's a firm reminder of what a serious role our mental and emotional state play towards our physical health.

Grieving can lead to problems throughout your whole body and it can be nearly impossible to know who will be affected and how.

The best way to avoid the problems that could arise is all pretty universal.

Try to remain as relaxed as possible as stress only increases all the issues.

Practice breathing techniques or meditation.

Exercise regularly and always remember to check in with your health care professionals if you feel like anything is off.

Your health is more important than almost every other aspect of your life.

By focusing on your health you will live longer, more happily, and have the time needed to continue on with life in remembrance of your loved one.

Reaching out for help is a sign of strength and never weakness.

So be kind to your body, and take care of yourself while grieving over your lost loved one, everything will get better with time and effort.


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December 9th, 2023

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