Learn How Self-Care Can Help Relieve The Toll That Grief Takes On A Nurse
Pegasus Home Health Care is recognized as a leader in our industry. We know that professional caregivers are crucial in maintaining our reputation for quality service. We value and support our nurses and team members.
Pegasus skilled in-home caregivers in Mount Washington and elsewhere provide customized care to their patients. That includes good times and difficult times. Career home health care nurses know the toll grief can take on a nurse.
Grief is the reaction to a loss. Although it’s often due to someone dying, there are many kinds of losses. A sampling includes:
- Death of a pet
- Changes in personal situations, such as leaving familiar surroundings
- Ending a relationship through divorce or other causes
- Losing financial security
- Serious health issues for you or your loved ones
- Traumatic events that threaten physical or mental security
Feelings of loss are personal. It doesn’t matter if what causes you grief means nothing to someone else. And there is no “normal” way to grieve.
How you grieve is as unique as you are. The most important thing is to give yourself the time and space you need. Healing from loss is a process.
Is There A Right Way To Grieve?
Any number of myths about the process of grieving exist. These include:
- Myth: if you don’t grieve in “normal” ways, like crying, you don’t really miss what you lost. Truth: the lack of visible signs of grief doesn’t mean you aren’t in pain.
- Myth: ignore the pain, and it will go away. Truth: you won’t heal if you don’t acknowledge your feelings.
- Myth: moving on means you forgot about your loss. Truth: it only means that you have accepted your loss.
- Myth: put on a brave front. Truth: suffering in silence doesn’t help you or others.
- Myth: you should be over it within a year. Truth: it takes as long as it takes, and that’s different for everyone.
Others may expect you to go through the five stages of grief as outlined years ago by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. Some people do, but most people don’t. Those who do, don’t necessarily progress through them in order.
How Does Grief Affect You?
Grief affects you emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. It can interfere with your ability to carry out personal or professional activities.
Common emotions include:
Your feelings may be much different from these. They may also come and go. Whatever your emotions are, they’re normal.
Grief can affect your mental health. That can happen when your bereavement emotions become chronic. You may discover that you have:
- Anxiety attacks
- Become irritable toward others without cause
- Detached yourself from others
- Lost all motivation
- No interest in activities that you used to enjoy
Isolating yourself can lead to depression. You may need professional counseling, particularly if you experience suicidal thoughts.
Losses are usually accompanied by stress. Stress is known to weaken the immune system. Any existing ailments may worsen, and you’re also at risk of developing a new illness.
Other physical effects include:
- Cardiac problems
- Eating disorders such as overeating or losing your appetite
- Digestive disorders
- Increased pain, such as headaches, joint and back pain, and muscle stiffness
- Loss of energy or fatigue
- Memory difficulties
Many physical symptoms are temporary. Others may need medical attention.
The loss of someone or something significant to you can cause you to question your spiritual beliefs. Doubts can arise about God, the afterlife, or the validity of your religious or philosophical tenets. Some individuals become disillusioned or embittered.
Others, however, often find solace in their spirituality. They reconnect with beliefs they may have put aside. Their renewed faith strengthens them and helps them adjust to their loss.
Self-Care Helps You Heal
You have long known the benefits of self-care. It becomes even more essential in times of loss. However, you may need to modify your self-care plans because a significant loss can change your needs.
Self-care steps you can take to aid your healing include:
- Attending to your medical needs
- Avoiding the use of drugs, alcohol, and other risky habits to assuage your pain
- Drinking water
- Fighting stress with deep breathing
- Finding creative ways to express your feelings
- Getting an appropriate amount of sleep
- Practicing meditation
- Supplementing indulgence in comfort foods with servings of nutritious meals
- Seeking support from friends or counselors
- Treating yourself with compassion and kindness
These are just examples. There are many others. Some are specially designed to help with caregiver grief.
Join The Pegasus Team
Pegasus professional in-home caregivers in Mount Washington and our other locations find job satisfaction in helping others. They also enjoy flexible work schedules that allow time for personal matters. Career home health care nurses know that making time for self-care reduces grief’s toll on them.
Pegasus, an equal opportunity employer, is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. We’re hiring professionals who are dedicated to helping others. Join our team and help make a difference for others.