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Getting Through Grief

Human beings are pretty resilient. Most of the time, we can experience a loss and then continue on with our lives. In between the loss and the time when we move on, though, we may need to grieve what’s gone. Grief helps us get through our feelings about the loss. When we grieve, we honor how we feel and start to adapt to the change. Grief is our natural and healthy response to loss.1

We can feel grief over many types of losses. Some kinds of losses may have come up for you during the pandemic. We might need to grieve the loss of a loved one, home, or job. We may feel sadness over changes in our health or our loss of social connection. We can even grieve the loss of an ideal — such as our sense of normalcy or safety.1

How to move through grief

First, name it. Try to identify why you are feeling sadness or anger. Write down your thoughts and feelings each day. Writing about our emotions may improve our physical and mental health.1

Accept how you feel. Grief shows up in different ways for different people. You may notice sadness, anger, or fatigue. These are all normal ways to feel.2

Stay in touch. Support from trusted friends and family can help us move on. We can stay connected through phone calls and online hangouts such as social media.1

Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet. Get the sleep you need. Grief can take energy, so it’s important to keep your body in good care.2

If you have lost a loved one, celebrate the life they had. Set aside a time to remember and honor them with others who held them dear.2

Helping hands

If you feel overcome or are having trouble moving on from grief, it may help to talk to a specialist. They can help you work through it so you can get back on track. If you are an AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia enrollee, call Enrollee Services at 202-408-4720 or 1-800-408-7511. Or you can call the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health Hotline at 1-888-793-4357.

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The Laughter Medicine

#BestMe Corner

Whether you laugh from a toddler’s antics or a TV commercial, the laughing does you good. Laughter may have many health benefits over the short and long term.3

Laughter is known to lift moods, but it doesn’t stop there. A good laugh actually produces changes in the body. Laughter may:3

Improve body functions. It can stimulate your heart, lungs, and muscles and help you take in more oxygen from air. When you laugh, your brain also releases a hormone that increases your sense of well-being.

Relieve stress. A good laugh can briefly raise and then lower your heart rate and blood pressure. It can help your muscles relax and circulation improve. These can leave us feeling more relaxed.

Reduce pain. Laughter is thought to help the body produce its own natural painkillers.

Boost immunity. Negative thoughts can add stress to your body’s systems, which may decrease your body’s ability to fight sickness. But positive thoughts can help your body resist stress and, potentially, help your body fight illness.

Improve mood. An easy laugh may help you connect with others.

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The information in this material is for educational purposes only. It is not to take the place of a primary care provider (PCP) or a behavioral health (BH) specialist. If you have questions, talk with your PCP or BH specialist, or visit the sources listed in this material. If you think you need to see a PCP or BH specialist because of something you have read in this information, please contact your PCP or BH specialist. Never stop or wait to get medical attention because of something you have read in this material.

Sources:

1 “Grief and COVID-19: Mourning Our Bygone Lives,” American Psychological Association, https://www.apa.org/news/apa/2020/04/grief-covid-19

2 “Grief: Coping With the Loss of Your Loved One,” American Psychological Association, https://www.apa.org/topics/grief

3 “Stress Relief From Laughter? It’s No Joke,” Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456

All images are used under license for illustrative purposes only. Any individual depicted is a model.

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