The brain fog of grief is a natural part of grieving. Your mind is preoccupied with sadness, loneliness and other emotions which leaves little room for your cognitive functions, memory and concentration. This is normal and common, even though it is frustrating.
It is easy for us and those around us to forget that we may have suffered a tremendous life altering loss, and yet we wonder why we aren’t functioning normally.
We like to say grievers are suffering from the “Four D’s”:
So what can you do about it?
1. Remind yourself that you are normal! What’s that? Yes, normal! This is a normal and common reaction to an extraordinary loss.
2. Lower your expectations. You are not going to be able to be as fast and focused. Don’t put too much on your plate. Lighten your load where you can. Hand off responsibilities where you can, get help and in some cases, get someone to check your work.
3. Give yourself extra time to do things, get places, and get things done. Even reading can take longer because we don’t process as quickly.
4. Make lists. Keep something with you at all times. If you want to use your phone or a notepad, that’s great. We encourage you to keep a pad and pen by your bed.
5. Give yourself grace. You should not be operating on all cylinders. If someone had a broken leg, you would not expect them to walk as fast as they used to. Well, grievers have broken hearts and need a time of recovery, too. It’s not an injury that is seen, but it’s there.
This grief brain can come and go, so don’t think you will be done with it after a month or after the service. It comes and goes during your recovery period as your body is trying to adapt. It’s important to remember that there is nothing wrong with you!
Questions to Ponder:
- Now that you understand the impact of grief brain, where can you lower expectations or give yourself some grace?
- How can you look at some things differently? (realizing you need more time or you can’t do everything)