How to Handle Your Grief at Work

Everyone experiences grief at some point in their life, whether it's brought on by the death of a loved one, a divorce, or some other tragedy.  And while life does go on after something horrible occurs, it can be especially difficult if you have to deal with your feelings of sadness while continuing to hold down a job.  If you find yourself in this situation, we have some tips to help you handle your job while you're grieving:

  1. Don't Repress Your Feelings Away from Work.  For some people, it's a badge of honor not to shed tears.  However, when we repress our feelings, they express themselves in other ways, often negative.  Rather than trying to ignore or minimize your loss, we suggest that when you're away from work, you allow yourself to cry, to grieve, and if you like, to journal your feelings.  By allowing yourself to express your feelings during your personal time, you'll be less likely to find them sneaking up on you unexpectedly when you're at the office.

  2. Make To-Do Lists.  Grief can be all-encompassing, affecting our ability to concentrate.  Rather than relying on your memory to make sure you get everything done, write to-do lists.  These lists will make it far easier for you to accomplish what you intended to, rather than allowing yourself to be sidetracked.

  3. Be Gentle with Yourself.  There will be difficult days, but rather than berating yourself for not meeting a certain standard, treat yourself with great kindness.  After experiencing any type of loss, it's natural to cry suddenly, forget things, or to ruminate.  Instead of judging yourself harshly for not grieving in the way you feel it should be done, love and appreciate where you are in the moment.  This act of self-care will make your grief easier to bear than had you gotten angry or disappointed with yourself.