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After the loss of a loved one, getting back into your daily life can be a challenging endeavor. Coping with grief will look different for everyone, and that includes returning to work after a bereavement. Having difficulty finding normalcy at work while grieving is common, and you’re not alone. We have some tips for going back to work while experiencing loss.

Adjust Your Expectations

Part of the grieving process is accepting the reality of the situation and moving forward without your loved one. But you must also accept that you’ll likely have difficulty adjusting to daily life after losing someone. So take time to set some adjusted expectations for your performance at work without being self-critical. Show yourself kindness as you take time to find a new normal.

Be Honest About Your Feelings

As you return to work after a bereavement, you might find yourself getting emotional by unexpected triggers. This is completely normal, and you need to process your feelings as they arise. You may experience symptoms of depression, like hopelessness or emptiness, or feelings of anger or anxiety.

Ignoring these unpredictable emotions won’t make them go away—it will only delay your progress as you attempt to move forward. Avoid being harsh with yourself about how you ought to feel as you grieve.

Communicate Your Needs

After losing a loved one, facing your coworkers and managers might be difficult. Although it’s incredibly vulnerable, you should communicate what you need from those you feel should know what’s going on. You should let your boss and teammates know if you’re having difficulty managing your workload or if there’s anything they can do to help.

If you’re struggling to cope with grief or need additional support, it may be a sign to seek grief counseling. A grief counselor can provide a safe space to process your emotions and offer techniques on how to move forward with life.

Take Breaks

Whenever you feel overwhelmed or need to cry at work, be sure to step away from it and find a place to ground yourself. It’s not healthy to push through your work when you’re experiencing immense emotions. If you’re feeling stressed or emotional, taking time to unwind at the office can help you balance your workload and recenter yourself.

Returning to work or other personal duties after bereavement is no small task. Throughout this process, acknowledge the progress you’ve made along the way and show yourself kindness. Moving forward becomes possible when you process your emotions in a healthy way and communicate your needs to others.

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