How to Cope with the Loss of a Loved One When Returning to Work
After the loss of a loved one, your world feels like it has been turned upside-down. As time passes and you move through the grieving process, you know that you eventually need to manage your life and get back to work. The problem is, that seems much easier said than done. There are a few things you can do to cope with the loss of a loved one when returning to work, especially if you make use of bereavement resources available to you.
- Share Your Concerns with Your Boss or HR Department
Sometimes, the thought of returning to work becomes too much to bear. If you feel that you need more time to grieve or more time to ease back into your life after losing a loved one, share your concerns with your boss or HR department. Communication is key to having a smooth transition back to the workplace. Your boss or HR department can help you work out a schedule for returning to work if you don’t feel ready to handle a full load after your bereavement time ends. You may spend part of your days working from home or ease back on a part-time basis for a few weeks.
Your boss or HR department also can assist you in knowing what to say to your colleagues or sharing your wishes with them before you return. In some cases, managers and HR supervisors will tell workers about your situation and how you want to handle it when you return so you don’t have to discuss your story if you don’t want to do so. Your boss or HR department also can give you information about employee assistance programs (EAPs) and in-house support and advisory departments. Most likely, you will find that your employer is sympathetic and can offer in-house resources to help you manage your time back at work after the loss of a loved one.
- Find a Quiet Place to be Alone at Work
Grief is a long process that may hit you at work even if you’ve been managing it well for some time. Be kind to yourself and understand that you may feel overwhelmed or anxious at work. Be prepared by finding a quiet place you can be alone at work if you start to cry or need to calm yourself. You may have a private workspace that enables you to close the door and hang a Do Not Disturb sign. Or, you may make use of an empty conference room or outside space. If you have difficulty finding a quiet place or worry about taking unscheduled breaks, talk to your boss or HR department to determine where you can go and to alert them to your needs.
- Have a Helpful Resource Available at All Times
Even if you have the most understanding boss or HR department, you still will need a helpful bereavement resource to get through tough times at work. It is good to have a person you can rely on, such as your best work friend, but it also is useful to have a resource that is available whenever you need it, such as Neptune Society’s 12 Weeks of Peace program.
Available anytime online, the 12 Weeks of Peace program is free of charge and contains content such as helpful tips and information, resources on support groups and websites, and other ideas for moving through the grieving process. The content is delivered via weekly emails, so you can easily access the content while at work when you need extra support.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when returning to work after the loss of a loved one is that it takes time to move through the grieving process and recover. To better cope with your loss when returning to work, share your concerns with your boss or HR department, find a quiet place to be alone at work, and ensure you have a helpful bereavement resource available at all times.
Author: Julie Morris
Image via Pixabay by DT