Happier Way Original –
Are you working to live or living to work? Some people can easily make that distinction while others may find it difficult to say. Regardless, the average American spends 90,000 hours working throughout his or her lifetime, so the workplace is undoubtedly a key place for socializing and forming long-term bonds with people. That is the reason why losing a coworker, whether suddenly or not, can take such an emotional toll on people.
Because many people try to maintain a certain degree of professionalism in the workplace, the issue of how to cope with grief after losing a coworker can be difficult to understand. For most people, this is uncharted territory. Hopefully you will never need to know how to cope with the grief of losing a coworker, but if you are thrust into that tragic situation then please know there are some helpful coping strategies to keep in mind that will support both you and your colleagues.
1. Take Time to Grieve
It’s important to remember that everyone grieves differently. Some people may have an initial breakdown and then recover quickly. Others may exist in a state of shock for a while until the reality of the situation sets in. Regardless, everyone must be given the proper amount of time to grieve the loss.
2. Allow it to Be Personal
Some people have a strict firewall between their work life and personal life. But in the case of losing a coworker, everything is personal. This is a human being who played an important role in much of your life and the grieving process should reflect that. This is a good opportunity to reach out to the family of the deceased and help them recognize the impact that he or she had on your life, your coworkers’ lives, and the organization.
3. Open Up
Ignoring your emotions may prolong the grieving process. It’s important to open up and fully embrace your feelings. As HelpGuide, an independent nonprofit supporting mental health, states, “Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing, it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it.”
4. Seek Additional Help
You don’t need to deal with grief alone. Reach out to other colleagues to see how they are handling the loss. Talk with your boss. Many companies also provide employee assistance programs or grief counselors, particularly when one of their own passes away. Do not be afraid to utilize these resources—they exist for a reason.
5. Prioritize Well-Being at Work
The last piece of advice on how to cope with grief at work after losing a worker is to remember to prioritize your well-being at work. You and all of your colleagues have just experienced a terrible loss, but being able to find solace in moving on with your lives will be made easier when you are taking the necessary steps to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy. As part of doing this, do not forget to be grateful for everything you do have. Life is a gift.