Mourning is a long-drawn process that spans over weeks, months, or even years. Everyone experiences grief at some point, but this complex emotion may be hard to understand and approach.
After the funeral service, you would most likely return to daily life. However, daily life may no longer be the same as it used to be. You may struggle with completing everyday tasks that were manageable or even once a breeze. Out of which, work may be one of these many routine activities you’ve had in your life.
Grieving while returning to the working life can be challenging, and you may be at a loss on how to best adapt. Here are some tips to help you cope with grief while dealing with work.
1. Communicate with your colleagues
Everyone deals with grief differently depending on their preferences, and there is no right or wrong way to mourn. Grieving can be a personal and private process, or you can undergo the journey with the people around you. Similarly, when you are at work, you can either share your feelings or keep them to yourself.
However, it would be helpful to let your colleagues and supervisors know how you are doing after the funeral service. You can share your emotional state without unloading your inner thoughts and anguish in the following ways:
- Asking for help from the Human Resources department
Your Human Resources team will be able to forward any information you wish to share with your colleagues in a professional manner, allowing you to feel comfortable without any awkwardness.
- Communicating privately with individuals
If you prefer to speak to others, you can hold a brief meeting or converse with others over lunch. This way, you can also draw boundaries and explain what you are comfortable with.
2. Consider your needs and schedule
As you grieve, it is normal to feel overwhelmed with daily activities. The Kübler-Ross model describes the five stages of grief as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Everyone deals with grief at their own pace; some may experience multiple stages at once or even backpedal between stages.
However, this model still serves as a useful framework to understand your needs when your feelings may be too complex to handle. For example, you may be experiencing anger in terms of resentfulness and frustration. This resentment can be directed to yourself or others as you question and comprehend your loss.
As you experience each emotion, try to search and understand what will help alleviate these confusing emotions. Sometimes, you may need a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. Other times, you might need some time off from work.
There will be times when you do not understand your needs. In such a scenario, actively communicate with your boss as you work together to find the best solution.
3. View yourself from a different perspective
It is easy to be harsh on yourself at work. You may feel that you need to prove yourself. When you find yourself in such a situation, ask yourself: would you be impatient with a co-worker when they are mourning and going through a difficult time?
It is important to be kind to yourself and treat yourself like how you would accommodate others in a stressful situation. You may be struggling with daily tasks when emotions become overwhelming. Realise that it is perfectly human to hold conflicting emotions and be withdrawn at work.
Communication is still key when you are mourning. Let your colleagues and supervisors know how you are doing so they can understand the rationale behind any work they may have to cover or areas they have to accommodate. You can prevent any misunderstandings by expressing and explaining your needs.
As you grieve, realise that the person you have to be kindest to is yourself. You may neglect your needs and put others before yourself, but this is the time to take care of yourself. Active communication with others will help you achieve this, so do not hesitate to reach out at work.
Casket Fairprice provides experienced funeral directors who empathise with you and offer the necessary advice you need. We understand that grief is complex and confusing, so allow us to assist you with the logistics of the funeral service as you mourn at your own pace.