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What Are Symptoms of Grief?

There are many reasons why people are grieving this year. Everyone has lost out on so much throughout this year. Loved ones. Activities. Vacations. It has been a tough year.

We don’t always know the many ways that grief can show up. We are not always aware of what grief looks like.

Here are just a few ways that you may be expressing grief or loss in your life at this time:

Sign of Grief #1 — Deep Sadness:

This one feels like the most obvious. When we think of grief, we think of being incredibly sad. We think of crying. We think of hurt. Those who are grieving may find it challenging to get up in the morning or fall asleep at night.

There are times when it is obvious why we are feeling sad due to grief. We usually know when we are grieving due to the death of someone we love. There are other times, however, when the sadness or cause of grief is not as obvious. Missing out on our beloved holiday traditions and activities, for example, may not be quite as obvious to us.

If you are feeling deeply sad, it may be worth investigating whether you are feeling grief over anything in life.

Sign of Grief #2 — Numbness:

One of the ways grief manifests itself is when we numb ourselves to that which is going around us. We may shut ourselves down emotionally, not allowing for feelings of sadness or joy.

There are times in life when it is easier to numb out rather than ride an emotional roller coaster. We fear what happens if we allow ourselves to feel. Investment in caring about things or people feels too dangerous.

Many people will often turn to intellectualizing in the effort to numb out emotions. And this can be especially harmful for healthy communication in marriages and relationships.

Sign of Grief #3 — Anger:

If sadness is the obvious sign of grief, then anger is often the more neglected sign.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen many people react in anger and frustration due. Much of this may be due to the restrictions placed upon society. Grief is often accompanied with stress. This makes sense.

People have lost jobs. Business have closed down. Schools have been closed down. Travel has been restricted. Visits with friends and family have been more difficult. There has been a presidential election that instigated anger and anxiety.

We have all lost out on something due to Covid-19. There is a feeling that nothing is within our control. And because of this, we are all grieving. And for many, anger is an expression of that grief.

Sign of Grief #4 — Fatigue or Exhaustion:

There are many reasons that we could feel fatigue or exhaustion. Grief is one of those reasons. Grief can make it more difficult to focus or concentrate. Grief also impacts our motivation levels. It then takes more energy to function at what would be a normal rate.

For example, it may take more energy to get up out of bed and into a shower. Shoot, grief makes it more difficult to get ready for bed. Grief makes life heavier, which means you have to carry more when accomplishing day-to-day activities.

Sign of Grief #5 — Loneliness:

When you are grieving, it feels like the world is passing you by. Everyone else seems to be going on with their life as normal, but you feel stuck. You feel alone.

Grief is an isolating emotion. It can make you feel alone, even when you are surrounded by others. This is even more true if those who surround you offer cliches or platitudes of comfort. In their attempts to provide comfort, they fail to practice active listening skills.


The grieving process is a necessary process to emotional and mental wellness. To ignore or stuff it is to prolong that process. But it isn’t always possible to grief well without assistance.

If you’d like a little help and a safe space to process your grief, consider a professional mental health counselor. A therapist will join you on the journey to healing.


Wellspace Counseling is a mental health counseling practice that helps individuals process grief in a productive way so that they can go on to live a meaningful life. Wellspace Counseling is located in Tualatin, and serves the Tualatin, Lake Oswego, Tigard, and Greater Portland Metro Area.


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