The loss of a loved one is one of the most painful tragedies that humans suffer. The impact of this loss is usually crushing, and in the aftermath of loss, we often feel disconnected, withdrawn, confused or angry, like we have no control over anything.
The grief process looks different for each of us, but most of us go through very specific stages at some point, and in no particular order.
Stages of Grief
- Denial & Isolation
Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s perfectly normal to detach yourself from your normal existence to grieve. Unfortunately, life has to go on, no matter what feelings your going through.
Returning to work while grieving is quite tough. You need to figure out how to be productive and deal with your colleagues who may start to act differently around you because they don’t know how to comfort you. You may not be able to control how everyone else acts, but you can make your return to work while grieving a little easier. From dealing with awkward conversations to accomplishing tasks, here are a few tips to help you navigate your work life while grieving.
1 . Have an honest conversation with your employer- Be frank with your employer, and let them know your struggles. Explain that you might not operate at an optimal level for a while. Tell them exactly what you need, so they can help you. Ask about Bereavement or Sick or Time, work from home opportunities or anything else that may support you while you grieve.
2 . Ask about your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) – Many companies have an EAP that have licensed therapist available for a specific number of approved session covered entirely by your employer and EAP benefits. These services are confidential and available if you need them2. Focus on Doing- It might be tempting to shut down and do nothing, but trying to be productive and crossing tasks off your checklists can distract you and prevent you from being consumed by painful feelings.
3 . Ask for Help- People generally want to help those who are grieving but don’t know exactly how to go about it. Don’t be ashamed to ask your colleagues for help. Instead of insisting that everything is great, tell them what you need. They’d be happy to pick up your workload, so you can focus more on healing.
4 . Create a Sanctuary- Find a quiet place to retreat to when things get a little too much and you just want to have a good cry. It’s okay to cry. It could be your car or a room where people don’t go into often
5 . Carry tissues- You might find yourself crying a lot when you least expect it. Keep tissues handy, so you can clean your tears or runny nose when you’re done.
Always remember that grief is an important step to healing in the wake of a loved one’s death. When you get back to work, be honest about how you feel with yourself and others. Don’t try to rush the mourning process. The sooner you confront your grief and live through it, the sooner you’d be able to live the rest of your life in a happier and productive manner. It really helps to see a grief counselor or therapist if you feel like you need assistance coping with your emotions.
Remember, it’s not a sign of weakness to seek out therapy. In fact, seeking out grief counseling is an active effort on your part toward being a healthier you. For more information on grief counseling, feel free to contact us.