Handling Grief at Work

John Krautzel
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One of the most common grief-inducing events is the loss of a loved one, but many situations can cause you to experience grief at work, including the sudden onset of illness, marital separation or a huge change in financial status. Grief causes people to experience a variety of emotions all at once, which can make it difficult to focus on work. If you're dealing with grief at work, these five tips can help.

1. Talk to Your Boss

One of the first things you should do after experiencing a grief-inducing event is talk to your boss. Tell him about the situation you're experiencing and how it's affecting you. It's also essential to let your boss know if you need accommodations that can help you better deal with the situation, such as time off from work or the opportunity to work from home for a few days or weeks. A supportive, empathetic boss may be willing to grant your request.

2. Take Advantage of Support Services

Many employees experience grief at work, which is why many companies offer benefits packages that include paid time off and support services. Speak to someone in your company's HR department about all of the benefits available to you. Counseling services, grief hotlines, substance abuse support and even financial assistance may be available through your employer.

3. Stay Productive

Feelings of grief at work or anytime can bring about a wide range of emotions, including anxiety, depression, anger, shame or embarrassment. If you engage your idle thoughts or allow your mind to wander, these feelings are likely to intensify. Stay as productive as possible throughout the day to keep your mind active. You don't have to completely ignore your emotions, but don't let them consume you. Be present while you're at work, and make each day as productive as possible.

4. Accept Support from Colleagues

News spreads around the office quickly, so don't be surprised when your workmates begin offering their condolences or support. Instead of getting upset or uncomfortable, accept their kind words and offers to assist you with your workload. Doing so can help prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation and can help you to keep up with work responsibilities if you have to take some time off. It's also a good idea to seek out colleagues you trust and talk to them whenever you're feeling overwhelmed with grief. Don't suffer in silence, since many people have experienced grief at some point in their lives and would be more than willing to support you in your time of grief.

5. Take Care of Yourself

Resist the urge to neglect yourself when you're dealing with grief. Continue to eat well, stay hydrated and exercise, and always make time for loved ones. Find a quiet, tranquil spot on your company's property or in your home or neighborhood where you can clear your mind, breathe deeply and relax whenever you feel stressed.

Consider using these five tips if you're trying to cope with feelings of grief at work. It's also important to give yourself as much time as you need to grieve, since there's no set timeline for overcoming grief. What other tips can you think of for dealing with grief at work?

Photo courtesy of  imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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