Most companies offer paid bereavement time, but when you lose a loved one, your grief may not go away in three to five days. What happens when you’re back at the office, fighting back tears as you try to pretend it’s business as usual? In a recent Daily Muse post, Paolina Milana takes up that very question, offering three helpful tips for dealing with grief in the workplace.
1. Give Yourself a Break — After a devastating loss, you may not bounce back immediately and pick up where you left off, and that’s OK. “Take the time you need,” Milana writes. “It’s understandable to function at a slower speed. Deadlines still need to be met, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be the one to meet them.”
2. Keep Busy — When you’re grieving, Milana says, one way to keep from getting bogged down with all-consuming sadness is to throw yourself into your work. If you can channel your sorrow into a big project, you’ll be all the better for it. “Everyone has an expiration date,” Milana writes. “Taking action, no matter how small the steps may be right now, helps us use our time here on Earth actually living, rather than just biding our time waiting to die.”
3. Choose to Live — Death has a way of altering one’s perspective, and after losing someone important to you, it’s likely you’ll question the choices you’ve made and view things that used to matter — those weekly staff meetings, for instance — as terribly insignificant. You may even consider a major life change. According to Milana, you should resist the urge to do anything rash and thank your departed loved ones for “helping you to recognize where you’re at, what matters to you, and what you’re spending your precious time and resources on.” Once you’ve had time to properly deal with your grief, you can think about quitting your job or leaving your wife or doing whatever you considered at the height of your pain.