Grief in the wake of the loss of a loved one is, unfortunately, something completely unavoidable. Roughly 25 million United States Citizens pass away each year, leaving behind an average of five loved ones each. Everyone will inevitably lose a loved one and go through the agonizing process of grief and similar battles with depression.
During these times, it’s incredibly common to see therapists and doctors, oftentimes being prescribed chemicals and drugs as antidepressants that can easily lead to addiction or dependency. While these medicines are effective and absolutely should not be overlooked, most or all symptoms can be treated to an equal or greater effectiveness using natural remedies. Consider these alternative and supplementary natural remedies to help diminish the negative symptoms of grief.
Lack of Sleep
One of the dominant factors in any healing process is proper rest, and nowhere is this truer than for mental health. It’s so important, in fact, that insomniacs are ten times more likely to develop depression. A proper amount of sleep is vital for your healing, but insomnia is insistent on disrupting this rest.
A common herbal treatment for insomnia is tea, specifically chamomile. Chamomile is often considered to be one of the best teas for relaxation, as it works as a mild tranquilizer to help relax your body and mind. It has the added benefit of aiding digestion, stress, and anxiety.
While chamomile is arguably the most popular, it’s far from the only natural aid. Lavender and St. John’s wort is popular flowers, as well as passion flowers, Californian poppy, and dozens of others. Experiment with what works for you and respond best to your body.
You may also consider consulting your physician about melatonin supplements. Melatonin is the chemical our brain releases to help us rest and sleep as we settle down for the night, but depression and other symptoms of grief trauma can hinder or outright stop the production of the natural chemical. Over-the-counter supplements are easily obtained, but always consult a doctor when adding a new vitamin or supplement to your pill regimen.
Loss of Appetite
Despite knowing that you have to eat to keep your body healthy, the mental trauma of grief can be an extreme appetite suppressor. Eating can often lead to nausea or other digestive issues, sometimes snowballing into eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia. In the troublesome quest to find meaning after a personal loss, a proper diet and healthy eating habits are absolutely vital.
Ginger is an excellent natural ingredient to start with. The antioxidant-rich root of a ginger plant promotes saliva production and digestive flow. It can be easiest to start it as an herbal tea – hot water and ginger are all it takes, so there isn’t much to trigger a nauseous response. You also can add it to any food preparations once your appetite starts to return or use it for aromatherapy.
Speaking of aromatherapy, gentle scents are an excellent tool as well. The aroma of citrus foods such as lemon, orange, and lime are tame enough that they won’t offend the nostrils or upset the stomach. Cardamom, tamarind, and pomegranate are also popular for this use.
To continue with aromatherapy, let’s look at a third symptom. Mood swings are an almost certainty in any stressful time. The loss of a loved one can kick this symptom into a severe upturn. As you work to find mental balance and reason in your life without your loved one, your mood is bound to be somewhat unstable for some stretch of time.
Lavender, chamomile, and ginger are all excellent for this as well as for the uses mentioned earlier. This is one of the best factors of natural remedies. As your symptoms have a tendency to trigger one another, using these natural remedies can help alleviate one symptom which can alleviate the other.
Aromatherapy in this regard is extremely helpful for a variety of reasons. Pleasant scents such as those listed here can be a fantastic mood stabilizer or lifter. Nostalgic scents such as those favored by your lost loved one can help to mitigate the feelings of loss as well. They will also help you to feel less alone in such trying times.
One of the worst symptoms of depression and grief is the feelings of sluggishness and lack of motivation often brought on by it. It’s common to have little to no drive or motivation, leading to hours upon hours spent in solitude or inaction. This exacerbates any and all symptoms to much higher levels.
This makes staying active arguably the best natural treatment for any symptom. The increased social interaction will also help to stave off feelings of loneliness in the wake of the death of your loved ones. To that end, consider joining a gym, or finding a group to exercise with. Regular activities such as sunrise yoga or just scheduled trips to exercise can help return a comfortable and healthy routine to your shaken life. Still, social interaction, while helpful, isn’t entirely necessary. What matters is that you’re up and active, keeping your body healthy so that your mind can follow suit.
Though there are common threads in each experience, everyone’s bereavement process will be unique. Sadly, there will never be any sort of cure-all or panacea that can make the healing process painless. But with proper supplements and treatment, the worst can be treated. Natural remedies should never be discarded or ignored. They have been scientifically proven to be effective in the healing process.
Alone, they can do a great amount to help treat your grief symptoms, but don’t think that you have to limit yourself in any way. Natural remedies can often be taken with prescribed medicine. This will help to mitigate negative side effects or simply to complement the positive uses of the prescribed drugs. Ensure that your doctor is aware of any natural remedies you’re using so that they can help you properly address the issue, and always be safe with any treatments that you use, natural or otherwise.
- Frazer, A., 1997. Antidepressants. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 58(SUPPL. 6), pp. 9-25.
- Heerden, F. v., 2008. A natural appetite suppressant. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 119(3), pp. 434-437.
- Jane, B., 1999. Use of aromatherapy as a complementary treatment for chronic pain. ProQuest, 5(5), pp. 42-51.
- Negi, P., Jayaprakasha, G. & Jena, B., 2003. Antioxidant and antimutagenic activities of pomegranate peel extracts. Food Chemistry, 80(3), pp. 393-397.
- Richards, R. & Kinney, D. K., 2009. Mood Swings and Creativity. Taylor and Francis Online, 2 Novemer, pp. 202-217.