7 Tips on Going Back to Work After a Bereavement
By Lesley Postle, Editor of GriefandSympathy.com
I had two weeks off after my Dad died. It was a very sudden loss and we were all in a great deal of shock, especially my elderly Mum. I stayed with her for a while to make sure she was able to cope before heading home back to normal life.
Going back to work was particularly strange. It felt really weird. You feel like you have a flag coming out of the top of your head saying “I’m different, I’ve changed, I don’t know what to say” and no-one else knows what to say either. It’s as if our ability to communicate has suddenly been wiped out.
“I’m sorry for your loss” is followed by awkward silence or at best a story of who ever that person has lost – their father, grandfather, second cousin or even pet. Some people didn’t know what had happened and asked if I’d enjoyed my holiday and some just didn’t know as they hadn’t noticed I’d been away. Having to tell people about my Dad dying multiple times a day on the first day was really confronting.
Then you’re expected to carry on as normal. Carrying on as normal actually has some benefits. It is good to be doing something and have normal life going on around you as it can help, but on the other hand, you can be feeling all sorts of difficult feelings while desperately trying to concentrate on what you are supposed to be doing.
Things you might encounter when trying to go back to work:
- Foggy headed and inability to concentrate, especially if you’re still in a state of shock.
- Feeling like you might be about to burst into tears at any time and not wanting to do it in front of people.
- Working more slowly than usual or making mistakes.
- Worry that you’re not able to do your job properly or safely.
- People saying thoughtless or inappropriate things which hurt.
- People not acknowledging what has happened to you which also hurts.
- Lack of motivation.
- Not wanting to be there.
- Fear and panic of having to go to work.
- Taking time off sick because you can’t face going to work.
How to deal with the challenges of going back to work after a bereavement:
- First of all, don’t try to go back too early before you’re ready. Bereavement leave is often not very generous, so if you’re able to take some holiday leave too, don’t be afraid to do it. Or even take some unpaid leave if you’re in the fortunate position to be able to do that.
- Talk to your boss before going back so that they know how you are and what your challenges may be. Perhaps ask for simpler duties or more support for a while until you are back on your feet. This is especially important if you have a job where mistakes could create a risk for you or other people.
- Don’t beat yourself up too much if you lose concentration or make a mistake. How many people do you know who work at 100% efficiency all the time. Cut yourself some slack.
- Have a few answers ready for what you will say when people ask you about what happened. Keep it simple and don’t go into too much detail unless you are especially close to someone at work.
- Set aside some time each day for grieving. Let yourself have a good cry in the car before you go in or at lunchtime, so you’ll feel more in control the rest of the day.
- Know that the weird feeling of being different and that everything has changed will gradually wear off as you come to terms with your new normal and learn to live with it.
- Work some self-care time into your schedule. Meet a friend, have hot bubble baths, do some exercise or meditation. Watch a film or your favourite TV programme and eat your favourite food. Grieving is tough work and you need some ‘me’ time.
If time passes and you are still having a lot of trouble working with your grief, don’t be afraid to get some help. Join a support group or get some counseling. There is plenty of information about getting help on the following pages:
Online Grief Support Groups - Do They Work?
Do You Need Bereavement Counseling?
Grief and Sympathy Home
How to Deal with Grief
Going Back to Work After a Bereavement
Have You Considered Online Grief Counseling?
Get Private and Confidential Help in the Privacy of Your Own Home
The following information about online counseling is sponsored by 'Betterhelp' but all the opinions are our own. To be upfront, we do receive a commission when you sign up with 'Betterhelp', but we have total faith in their expertise and would never recommend something we didn't completely approve.
Do you feel alone and sad with no support and no idea how to move forward? It can be tough when you are stuck in grief to find the motivation to get the most out of your precious life.
Online counseling can help by giving you that support so you don't feel so alone. You can have someone to talk to anytime you like, a kind and understanding person who will help you to find meaning in life again, to treasure the memories of your loved one without being overwhelmed and to enjoy your activities, family and friends again.
- Simply fill out the online questionnaire and you will be assigned the expert grief counselor most suitable for you. It only takes a few minutes and you don't even have to use your name.
- Pay an affordable FLAT FEE FOR UNLIMITED SESSIONS.
- Contact your counselor whenever you like by chat, messaging, video or phone.
- You can change counselor at any time if you wish.
- Click here to find out more and get started immediately.
- Or read more about how online counseling works here.
Sales from our pages result in a small commission to us which helps us to continue our work supporting the grieving.
Memorial Jewelry to Honour a Loved One
Check out our lovely range of memorial jewelry for any lost loved one. Pendants, necklaces, rings or bracelets, we have them all in all kinds of styles. Choose for yourself or buy as a sympathy gift.
Click here to see our selection
Hypnosis for Grief - 10 Ways It Can Help You
Try a gentle hypnotherapy track to relax the mind. Learn how self-hypnosis can help you cope with grief at any time of the day or night.
Read more about it here.
Create an Online Memorial Website
Honour your loved one with their own memorial website. Share photos, videos, memories and more with your family and friends in a permanent online website. Free for basic plan with no ads.
Find out more here.
Join us on Facebook for articles, support, discussion and more. Click 'Like' below.
Sign up for our newsletter and receive:
"The 10 Most Important Things You Can Do
To Survive Your Grief And Get On With Life"
Our free downloadable and printable document "The 10 Most Important Things You Can Do To Survive Your Grief And Get On With Life" will help you to be positive day to day.
The 10 points are laid out like a poem on two pretty pages which you can pin on your fridge door to help you every day!
All you have to do to receive this free document is fill in your email address below.
You will also receive our newsletter which we send out from time to time with our newest comforting and helpful information. You can unsubscribe any time you like, and don't worry, your email address is totally safe with us.
NEW BONUS - Also receive a copy of our short eBook - '99 Ways to Spot a Great Grief Counselor'. Available for instant download as soon as you sign up. Never waste money on poor counseling again!