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Dr. Corinne: Grief during the Holidays; How It Can Affect You Physically, and How You Can Better Cope

Dr. Corinne Weaver : Nov 15, 2019  Dr. Corinne Weaver

It's important to take time to care for your mental needs when you need it. In many ways, the experience of grief is similar to recovery from a serious illness. You will undoubtedly experience some darker days, and some will be brighter.

As the holidays approach I find more people have health issues. Greatly because of emotional stress!! In my book No More Meds I talk about emotional stress and how it can affect our health. When I lost my mom to glioblastoma brain cancer, I became numb to emotions. In fact, I didn't cry for years because I felt I have cried enough. I decided to write this today because my sister's friend lost her parents this week in a very devastating event. The process of grieving isn't easy, but it's a natural response to loss. Whether you're joining me to help yourself through the process, or to support a loved one who is grieving, I welcome you to continue reading. (Image: Pixabay)

The pain of loss can be overwhelming. Many difficult and unexpected emotions can arise, from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness. Learning to cope with the loss of someone or something you love is one of life's biggest challenges, which is why I'm glad you're taking this step to read this. You don't have to go through grief alone.

ANY type of loss can cause grief, including:

Divorce or relationship breakup

Loss of health

Losing a job

Loss of financial stability

A miscarriage


Death of a pet

Loss of a cherished dream

A loved one's serious illness

Loss of a friendship

Loss of safety after a trauma

Selling the family home

The process of grieving is a highly individual experience. Many factors come into play when grieving, such as your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and how significant the loss was to you.

There is no 'normal' way to grieve—your process is your own.

Let's take a look at five common stages of grief, keeping in mind these stages may not apply to you as we all grieve differently.

Denial is a normal stage of grief that allows us to minimize the overwhelming pain of loss. Reality shifts dramatically when we experience profound losses. Through the stage of denial, some are able to absorb and understand what is happening. Denial attempts to slow this process down and take us through it one step at a time, rather than risk the potential of feeling overwhelmed by our emotions.

Anger is a common emotion evoked after a loss. Adjusting to a new reality can be frustrating and cause extreme emotional discomfort. Anger is often the first thing we feel when we start to release emotions related to loss. Be wary of remaining in this stage too long, as anger can have adverse health effects. Anger causes stress in the body, which can weaken the immune system as well as release high amounts of stress hormones that can lead to chronic conditions.

When coping with loss, many experience feelings of desperation. This can lead to a willingness to do almost anything to alleviate or minimize the pain.

Bargaining can come in a variety of promises including:

"I promise to be better if _____."

"I will turn my life around if _____."

"I'll never get angry again if _____."

Recalling things from the past we did not mean to do or say is common during the bargaining stage as well. There typically comes a time when our thoughts calm down, and we slowly start to look at the reality of our present situation. As the feeling of loss becomes more apparent, panic begins to subside, the emotional fog begins to clear, and the loss feels more present and unavoidable.

Although this is a very natural stage of grief, dealing with depression after the loss of a loved one can be extremely isolating. Know that there are many outlets for coping with depression. From talk therapy to physical activity, there are many ways to process your depression in a healthy way.

The stage of acceptance does not mean one does not feel the pain of loss. Instead, they are no longer resisting the reality of our situation and no longer struggling to make it something different. During the stage of acceptance, the emotional survival tactics of denial, bargaining, and anger are less likely to be present.

Here are some inspiring words on grief:

"What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us." –Helen Keller

"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give You thanks forever!"- Psalm 30:11-12 New Living Translation

It's important to take time to care for your mental needs when you need it. In many ways, the experience of grief is similar to recovery from a serious illness. You will undoubtedly experience some darker days, and some will be brighter.

Try to recognize and honor your personal limits. Separate the things that must be done from those that can wait. Don't spend too much time stressing about keeping up with your usual schedule. If you have to cancel or reschedule commitments, people will understand - just don't cut yourself off entirely.

In times of grief, it can be difficult to see beyond your pain. Grief can cloud your judgment causing impulsive decisions. Making life-changing decisions—to move or change jobs, for example—can have far-reaching implications for which you may be unprepared. In the event a decision must be made, discuss your options with someone you trust, such as a friend or advisor.

Keeping feelings bottled up can adversely affect your mental and physical health. Sharing your feelings is part of the healing process. It's OK to take your time. Don't force yourself to talk when you aren't ready. If you think you need more than the support your friends and loved ones can offer, consider talking with a professional counselor.

Expressing yourself in any way can be healing! Even if you don't consider yourself to be a 'creative' person, there are many outlets to choose from.

Try keeping a journal or writing letters just for you. If words aren't your thing, try artistic outlets like painting, drawing, or sculpting to help you communicate what's in your heart and soul.

Dancing and gardening can also be forms of creatively expressing yourself. Even working on a car, building a bookshelf, or redecorating a room can be helpful. My mom loved Christmas time and she would have the whole house beautifully decorated. For a time, I had no desire to decorate the house during Christmas time…again I was numb!! Then, as my heart started to heal I was able to decorate again and now I love having the smells of Christmas in my house to remind me of all the sweet memories.

Be 'creative' with your creative outlet!

When experiencing the grief of a lost loved one, preserving your memories in ways that are comforting and meaningful can be helpful. Focus on the good times shared. Print photos to be framed, or compile a scrapbook of letters and mementos from the good times you shared. Make a quilt from their clothing, or plant a tree or a garden to create a lasting tribute. One of my favorite things is to host a dinner using her collective glassware in their honor to exchange stories and share memories.

Not only does grief take an emotional toll but a physical one as well. Rest, exercise and proper nutrition are essential to healing. Poor appetite is common among bereaved. Counter it by eating small amounts of healthy foods rather than large meals. Allow yourself to take naps if you're having difficulty sleeping at night.

Physical activity may be the last thing you want to do when grieving. Allow yourself permission to skip your regular workout and instead opt for a walk around the block.

If you drink be aware of how much and how often you're reaching for that bottle of wine. While for some a glass now and then can help settle nerves, overdoing it can bring a host of new problems.

The desire to numb your feelings with alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription medications will only prolong the pain. Eventually, you must come to terms with your grief. You have the choice to do so in a healthy way. If you can't cope with feelings on your own, there's no shame in seeking professional help.

Grieving doesn't mean you have to feel bad all the time. It's OK, healthy even, to take a break from focusing on your grief. Whether it's reading a good book, watching a movie, playing cards, or resuming other activities you enjoyed before your loss, don't feel guilty about having fun.

Special dates such as anniversaries and holidays can be stressful when you've lost a loved one. Use this time to celebrate the person you've lost. If you're struggling with a specific tradition, talk with family members about your concerns. If you're up for it, you may want to use this time to introduce new traditions to mark special occasions.

It's common to feel the need to withdraw or isolate at the beginning of grief. Just don't let this stage last too long—because we ARE social beings. Try making a date with an old friend, or inviting a neighbor to lunch. If you're up for it, try volunteering, you'll make new social contacts while you help others, and you'll feel good about yourself.

Knowing what to say to someone experiencing grief can be difficult. It's difficult seeing a loved one in pain, and while we do our best to offer support, it can still sometimes feel inadequate.

Here are some tips that can help:

Be wary of offering uplifting advice, hopeful comments, or even offering humor as a way to help ease the pain. This can leave people feeling as if their pain is not seen, heard, or valid.

Don't force others to talk when they aren't ready. Instead, offer space while making yourself accessible. Make it clear that you are there when you're needed.

Thank you so much for taking this time to learn more about Navigating Grief with me. I hope you learned some helpful tips for dealing with your grief. If you need prayer reach out. My mission is to help you get healthier without needing more medications and living your God purpose fulfilled life!! Much love and blessings to you and your family. Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

Keep Breathing,
Dr. Corinne Weaver 


Below are the resources used to write this article. If you'd like to read more on this topic, feel free to check out the following links:

Nora McInerny-TED

A Guide for Grief

Dr. Corinne Weaver is a compassionate upper cervical chiropractor, educator, motivational speaker, mother of three, and internationally bestselling author. In 2004, she founded the Upper Cervical Wellness Center in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Over the last 13 years, she has helped thousands of clients restore their brain to-body function. When she was 10 years old, she lost her own health as the result of a bike accident that led to having asthma and allergy issues that she thought she would always have to endure. Then, after her first upper cervical adjustment at age 21, her health began to improve thanks to upper cervical care and natural herbal remedies. This enabled her to create a drug-free wellness lifestyle for herself and her family, and she also enthusiastically discovered her calling to help children heal naturally.

Dr. Weaver was named one of Charlotte Magazine's "Top Doctors" in 2016 and is now a number-one internationally bestselling author to two books: Learning How to Breathe and No More Meds. 

Upper Cervical Wellness Center is known for finding the root cause of health concerns through lifestyle changes, diagnostic testing, nutraceutical supplementation, and correction of subluxation (as opposed to just medicating the symptoms). The practice offers cutting-edge technological care at its state-of-the-art facility, including laser-aligned upper cervical X-rays, bioimpedance analysis (measures body composition), digital thermography (locates thermal abnormalities characterized by skin inflammation), and complete nutritional blood analysis, which is focused on disease prevention.

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