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Going Back to Work While Grieving: 6 Strategies Will Help You

Avatar of Autonomous Autonomous | Mar 22, 2021
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Whether you have suffered a loss due to the Coronavirus pandemic or another reason entirely, it can be extremely easy to take the lockdown in stride and just hide away with your grief, but whenever things reopen, you have to be back at work. How do you get back up and face the world with all that it has taken from you? Dealing with the death of someone you love can be a major problem for you, and it can take a toll on your health.

While you should take all the time you need to heal properly, you might not always get that time, and instead, have to return to work before you are properly ready for it. If you are going back to work while grieving, you should have some of these strategies in your back pocket to help keep you sane throughout the workday.

1. Be Productive

Wallowing in your grief might seem like a good idea for going back to work while grieving at the time, but it also doesn’t do too much to help get you out of your grief. Instead, get to work and get things done. Start focusing on constructive tasks and checking things off your to-do list. That’s something that you can easily control, and make sure that work helps to distract you. Get at your ergonomic standing desk, and then get started.

With that being said, don’t use working and overworking as a distraction towards ignoring your feelings. Grief and pain need to be felt by you, and work should only be used to keep those feelings in check so they don’t overwhelm you when you need to focus. Work hard, and then destress and feel sorry for yourself on your lunch break.

Be Productive

2. Ask For Help, and Be Ready To Receive It

People understand the loss of a loved one, and most people want to do what they can to make it okay. Going back to work after the death of a parent is not easy. If people offer help with projects, chores, or other tasks, make sure to accept the help and comfort. Don’t put up a wall and try to pretend that everything is fine and that you need no one. Instead, be ready to receive help, and don’t be afraid to ask for it.

Most people are willing to help you out, especially if they are coworkers you have been with for several years. Getting help and realizing you are not alone is one of the best ways to reduce work stress.

Ask For Help, and Be Ready To Receive It

3. Control Your Mind and Your Emotions

Whenever you are going back to work after the death of a parent, there can be a lot of emotion running rampant inside of your head. Frustration, sadness, anger, pain, and other emotions can form a bitter cocktail that you might want to shove down the throat of anyone who gets in your way. Rather than lash out and letting your emotions control you, you should focus on controlling them so they can be released in a healthy way.

You might be able to take the first 5 minutes of every morning and practice mediation at desk, and even a simple guided meditation can be enough to bring you to a calm state that you can carry throughout the day.

Keep a close eye on yourself and manage your emotions before you lash out at other people. It’ll be much better for everyone involved.

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4. Double Check Your Work

Grief can cause some severe sadness and brain fog, which has the potential to disturb your work. You might find yourself making more mistakes when going back to work while grieving, skipping over important details, and otherwise having problems getting things done. As much as it might seem redundant, take some time to step away from your work with fresh eyes and then come back to double check it.

You should almost certainly find some mistakes that you missed the first time around, and then you can turn in a completed document or assignment without those mistakes. 

Double Check Your Work

5. Take Frequent Breaks

One of the best things you can do while grieving is to make sure that you take frequent breaks. But rather than sitting in your ergonomic office chair feeling sorry for yourself, you should focus on making your break time meaningful. Go for a short walk, talk with a friend, do something that you really enjoy, or just be mindful for a little bit.

Take Frequent Breaks

The 25 minutes on 10 minutes off of the Pomodoro technique is a great way to balance both productive work and frequent effective  breaktime that are long enough to recharge you. They are also short enough so that they don’t cut into your workday too much. These breaks have the same effect as when you de-stress during lunch break.

Pros and Cons of Frequent Breaks

Pros and Cons of Frequent Breaks

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  • icon checkAn easy and scheduled time to step away from your work
  • icon checkCan help you be more productive by channeling work in spurts
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  • icon timesYou might need to experience different lengths to find what works for you.
  • icon timesBreaks can easily take over your day if not scheduled.

6. Be Prepared to Cry

No matter how much you might feel stoic and prepared to get through the day without showing a single iota of emotion, you can still break down. Especially when you are grieving, and anything can remind you of the person you lost. Instead of fighting tears, find a safe place where you can let them out and feel the emotion for a little bit.

Instead, when returning to work while grieving, try to look for a place where you can compose yourself in private, and then get yourself together. Take a few moments to feel the emotion, and then slowly re-enter the workroom and get back to work. It may boost your productivity and work performance.

As embarrassing as crying at work is, we’ve all done it, and at least you have your grief to blame it all on! Not everyone who cries at work has as good a reason for their tears.

Be Prepared to Cry

Take It One Day At A Time

Grief isn’t something that you magically get over overnight, and especially when that grief deals with the loss of a parent or loved one. It’s hard to return to work while grieving. Instead, you should focus on getting through each and every day. It hurts a lot now, but eventually, it is going to hurt a little less, then a little less, and soon the hurt should be gone.

Then, the person you lost can truly live on in your heart and memories, and you’ll be able to return to a life without grief. It’s a tough road, but one that you need to take, and one that is well worth it.

Take It One Day At A Time

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