Coping With Your Job While Dealing With Grief As Recommended By Therapists

The death of our loved one can be life’s most challenging experience for you. This setback takes a toll on both your physical and emotional health. Unfortunately, most employers expect their employees to go back to their regular work routine after several days of grieving. It’s not that simple, though. Here are therapists’ recommendations on how you can cope.


Remember That Not Everyone Knows

“Experiencing a significant loss such as losing a loved one, a pet, a relationship, or a job can bring on feelings of grief that can be extremely overwhelming. Typical feelings associated with grief include sadness, anger, guilt, numbness, and confusion.” –Tali Yuz Berliner, Psy.D.

There are several instances that you might feel that your co-workers are a little bit insensitive. However, always remember that not everyone knows you are grieving. Do not expect your employer to inform everyone of what happened. They might tell a small group of people such as your department, division, and immediate supervisor. Then, they’ll trust the word will get around.

If you want your peers to know your loved one has passed away, there are various ways to reach out to them:

  • Posting in your social media pages such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
  • Asking your closest co-worker, supervisor, or the Human Resources Department to inform other employees on your behalf
  • Sending out cards and letters
  • Telling your friends through emails, texts, or phone calls
  • Holding a meeting with your other co-workers the moment you come back to the office

Directly telling your co-workers is better than letting other people do this since this can be your chance to inform how they can help you in your grieving process. For example, you can let them know whether it’s okay to mention the name of your deceased loved one or if you’d prefer not to talk about them.

Maximize Your Available Resources


Some big companies have employee assistance programs. These programs include availing free counseling sessions for those who are having a difficult time in their personal and work life. You might be a little hesitant to try this, but it’s worth it.

Familiarize Yourself With The Bereavement Policy

Most companies have existing bereavement policies. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management in 2016 found 81% of employers give paid bereavement leave for the death of a loved one. This bereavement leave usually lasts for up to 5 days. Other employees even extend this up to 10 to 15 days if they know that you will be flying out of the state for the funeral.

Talk To Your Boss Or Anyone From The Human Resource Department

Believe it or not, the big bosses will cut you some slack in this trying time. If you feel you need some temporary changes with your job, tell them. For example, you may ask them for an option to work from home for a week or two. Assure them you will be submitting excellent output to them and you will be attending meetings physically should it be necessary.

This move can help you adjust to your working life again without having to stress too much with your grief.

Find A Quiet Place At Work

Grief is a rollercoaster ride. You may be doing fine one minute but feel waves of loneliness the next.  Then, “Sometimes people seem to deny, to be in a daze, but these are all coping mechanisms.” Curt Drennen, PsyD, RN said. Since the grieving state puts you in an unstable position, it is best if you find a quiet place where you can retreat should the need arise. The last thing you want to do is break down in the middle of your work station or surrounded by your co-workers in a conference room.

Your quiet place may vary depending on your work environment. If you have your own office, your retreat can be as simple as closing the door. If this is not possible, however, you may use the corner bathroom, the broom closet, or the bench outside the office as your temporary quiet place.

Accept That You Are Not At Your 101 Percent

There might be instances when you’ll feel guilty you are not producing the same quality output as before. Feeling this negative emotion is normal, but it is also reasonable to not be at your 101% after the death of your loved one.


Some people assume life goes on after the funeral, so they have to go back to their routine on day 1. However, that’s not that always the case. There are times you’ll get distracted or lost in your thoughts while doing your report. There might be even instances when you’ll feel incompetent because your work might be full of mistakes. Do not worry. You’ll eventually get there at your own time. “Understand that grief comes in waves. It is natural to feel numb at times and “normal” at others. You might continue to grieve for months or years. It is okay.” Ashley Curiel, PsyD said.

These are only several ways on how to cope with work while grieving. Remember, do not beat yourself too much. Things will get better in time.