Coping At Work When Grieving A Loved One’s Death



Losing someone you love is an unavoidable and unpredictable part of life. We’ll never know when we’d have to say our final goodbyes. Although you may want to stay in bed and away from everyone during those hard times, life, unfortunately, goes on for everyone. You’ll soon have to get back on your feet and return to your job. During these vulnerable times, it is crucial to cope with your grief healthily.

Let Your Boss And Your Colleagues Know

Relaying the news to other people after a loss is undoubtedly painful. Loss and death can make people feel uncomfortable. It leaves us at a loss of what to do and what to say. However, letting people at work know that you are grieving can prevent you from repeating yourself over and over again.

Informing your workplace can be done by emailing or calling. You can also ask a close co-worker, your supervisor, or the HR department to let people know on your behalf. As each of us mourns in different ways, communicating with your co-workers will let them know how you want to be comforted. Besides, “No one is born knowing how to cope with the wave of grief that follows the death of someone we love. As a psychotherapist who’s worked with many grievers, I know when faced with overwhelming grief, many people feel like they are alone in what they’re experiencing and can feel like they’re going crazy.” Debbie Augenthaler, LMHC, NCC said.


Forgive Yourself

“There’s no one answer about what to do when you miss someone—it really depends on the situation.”  Gregory Kushnick, PsyD. said. That is why grief affects us emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. It is hard to expect yourself to quickly go back to your old self and work at your best condition. Forgive yourself if you make mistakes in your job or if the weight of your grief affects your work performance despite doing your best.

These are some challenges that you may face:

  • Apathy or lack of motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating on a task
  • Forgetfulness
  • Feeling exhausted at work
  • Failing to accomplish simple tasks you used to do before easily

During this time, avoid making major life decisions, such as resigning from your job or moving to a new place. Let yourself finish grieving and have your mind be rested and refreshed before making any significant changes in your life.

Allow Yourself To Take Time Off

Society expects us to keep moving forward all the time. We live in a heartless society where we are expected to be productive even at the expense of our health. However, it is impossible to escape from the feeling of grief. The smallest of the things can trigger your memories with the loved one you lost.

“The experience of losing someone we love is a process most everyone endures in a lifetime.” Annie Vaughn, MA, LMHC said. During this time, remind yourself that it’s okay to feel the way you feel. It is healthy to cry as much as you need. While you can’t control it all, you can take measures to still function at work while grieving.

If you’re on the verge of tears suddenly, know the private spaces where you could be alone for a while to release your emotions and compose yourself. You can communicate with your workplace and ask for their understanding. You can also ask for a different work setup, such as working from home or getting permission to leave the office earlier.


Find Time For Grief Support

It is vital to connect and reach out to people whom you can rely on and have someone with whom you can share your feelings and experiences. It can be a struggle at first, but having a great support system can help you cope with a little ease with the death of a loved one.

Balancing mourning and working can provide you with the comfort that you need. Reaching out to others and forgiving yourself can alleviate your pain in this trying time.

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