Even when you think you are doing absolutely okay and are ready to get back to work after something tragic and painful has happened, grief can kick in again. You may not be ready for this but now, you have to handle yourself.
Grieving at work is absolutely normal and people will understand where you are coming from. They may even try to support you but in the end, nothing might work and you will be left with just yourself.
You should know how to handle yourself during these times because “not grieving” or “not feeling anything” are not the options.
Embrace Your Thoughts and Pain
When you must have gotten back to work you wouldn’t have expected that you will suddenly start thinking about what just happened. This is how it is, we lose something or something happens, we take our time off to grieve about it, and when we finally feel like we are okay we decide to go back to work.
And most of the time what we believe is that when we will be working we will be so distracted that the thoughts will not cross our minds. What happens is the opposite, thoughts start haunting us even when we are in the middle of something we like doing or is extremely important.
Understand that it is an unavoidable thought. You can’t simply stop thinking about something that may trigger you. You might have lost someone or something, there must be a lot happening around you, and it is not easy in such situations to simply control or avoid thoughts and emotions.
Embracing your emotions, thoughts, and pain will help you more than trying to control them. Let it come out.
Leave Your Desk
If you don’t have your own cubicle you will probably be surrounded by other employees. While they all may be concerned about you, you need to realise it is a workspace and you need to take yourself out so that you don’t unintentionally disturb other people. It’s not like their work is important. But your grief can trigger someone and it is overall an awkward situation for you and your colleagues.
Leave your desk, go outside or in the washroom wherever you feel better and someone who knows your situation will follow you. Just go somewhere alone and if you feel like crying, let it out.
This will help you divert your mind and give you time to let your emotions and thoughts out as well. You can stay there for as long as you want. Move back to your desk only when you feel like you are ready to focus on your work.
Consider Talking to Someone You’re Comfortable With
Talking about your feelings with someone you trust or are comfortable with can help. Anyone in your office who you are comfortable with, let them help you.
You will not have to call them, you will find them with you whenever you are feeling low and sad. Just let them know how you are feeling and talk to them about everything. Allow them to support you, even if it is not said out loud, their presence can help you too so don’t step back from trying at least.
Hug someone and cry if that is how you feel like doing at the moment. Basically, take help from someone else to get over the pain because it is sometimes difficult to take care of everything on your own.
Cry, Breathe, Drink Water
It is okay to cry. We are told all the time that it is okay to cry. So if you feel like crying, don’t hold it back just because you are at your work. Cry as much as you want, stop when you are done, breathe and calm yourself down, drink water and get back to work.
Understand that this is the only possible coping mechanism that you can follow which will help you stay calm for long. I
f you try to hold back your tears, you are eventually going to break down. So break down and let the emotions flow out through your eyes so that once you are done, you don’t feel that pain in your chest that you probably will feel when you will try to hold back your emotions.
Try to Shift Your Focus
Take your time with the thoughts and once you are done try to shift your focus and surf through your happy thoughts.
It can be good memories with the person or simply remembering everything good that has happened to you in the recent past.
Maybe try talking to the person sitting next to you about something random. Get involved in the office conversation. Try to distract yourself from your own mind and thoughts and engage in something that will help you stay calm.
You can also use the internet or your work to keep yourself distracted from the triggering thoughts.
It is important and completely okay to grieve even when you are at work. You must have been through a lot and controlling your emotions is only going to hurt you more.
Please don’t feel bad or be hard on yourself for grieving at work. Take some time off if you can and talk to a therapist if you are not able to handle yourself.
Professional help is important even if you feel your pain is little or irrelevant. Please don’t lose hope during this process and don’t feel like you are not making any progress just because you keep going back to grieving. It will take time and you will need to be there for yourself during this time.
So, more than anything, be your own support. You can get over anything when you are there for you