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Dealing With Grief: How To Cope When You're Back At Work

Whether it is a family member or a close friend, an unexpected departure can often leave us at a loss. Even after the funeral company fulfils its task, and the final rites are completed for the deceased, we are often still left comprehending such an event. While the expectation is for us to continue with our daily routine, the grief we experienced over the loss can make it more challenging than it seems.

While it is true that life goes on after someone near and dear to us passes on, it is not uncommon to find the bereaved struggling with the loss even after a period of time has passed. Trying to process the grief is already a challenge in and of itself. Adding the stress of work into the mix and things might get volatile. If you find yourself in a similar situation but need to return to work, let us share some tips on coping and getting through your workdays.

Do not assume your co-workers know

Death is an uncomfortable subject for many to broach. As such, several of your co-workers may not even be aware of the loss you are experiencing. While your supervisor will know the reason behind your absence from work, your colleagues might not be privy to this information unless you inform them personally.

If you prefer not to be disturbed during this trying time, it is better to let them know explicitly, either with the help of your supervisor or by yourself. In fact, it might be helpful to let your peers know. Having external assistance and support during this challenging moment can help you better process your grief.

It is also crucial to remember that not everyone mourns the same way, and that is okay. While some of us might prefer to take time off from work to grieve, others may choose to use work as a coping mechanism. If you are in the latter category, you could let your co-workers know that while you are grateful for their sympathy and kind words, you would prefer they not mention it at work.

Have an emotional outlet ready

When you are grieving, you will often find things that remind you of your deceased loved one. Whether it is a distinctive smell you associate with them, an outfit resembling what they once wore, or anything remotely related to them, these trigger cues can cause intense emotional reactions that you are not ready for others to see.

Therefore, before returning to work, make a note of the private spaces, such as the restroom, fire escape, or stairwell, available at your workplace that can be an outlet for you to pour out your feelings without prying eyes. If you feel emotionally overwhelmed during work, you can temporarily retreat to these spaces to regulate your emotions and slowly regain your composure. You can also consider taking a walk outside of your workplace if being outdoors helps you calm yourself.

Be kind and forgiving to yourself

Often, the reality of what happens only sinks in and makes itself known after a period of time has passed. So while you might still be able to remain calm during the funeral, you may find yourself flooded with emotions after the ceremony is over and you have to return to work.

Since grief affects everyone differently, it is unlikely you will be in top form upon returning to work. During this challenging period, it is vital for you to realise the importance of self-compassion. Thus, if you find yourself being more distracted, exhausted, forgetful, or making more mistakes than usual, you should be more forgiving of yourself and accept that the effects of grief will negatively affect your work for a while.


Dealing with grief is undoubtedly difficult and often require time to overcome. Unfortunately, life often requires us to resume our normal routines as soon as the funeral service is over. As such, it is helpful to understand how to cope and regulate your emotions once you have to ease back into your daily work routine.

However, if you need more time to grieve, you can consider seeking additional time-off from work from your supervisor. Additionally, you might want to consider reading up on how to cope with your grief or seek professional help instead of leaving your emotions unchecked.

At 1Stop Buddhist Funeral Services, our comprehensive and affordable packages for Buddhist and Taoist funerals can help alleviate your burden of organising the final send-off for your deceased loved one so you can better spend your time and attention on healing from your grief. If you ever need assistance, our experienced team is always available to help you with the funeral arrangement.