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By: Christa Kannel, Account Manager

Although this holiday season is known for good times with family and friends, it can be quite the opposite for some people. The holiday season can bring back memories of family and friends that have passed away. It is difficult to cope with these holiday feelings and juggle the end-of-year workload. Below is my experience with grieving at work and some tips that could help you cope. 

When I was 26, my father passed away unexpectedly in the night from a brain aneurysm.  It was an early Monday morning in March and a day I will never forget.  I called in sick to work that entire week as things needed to be attended to (the list was exhausting) and family time was important.  When I came back to work, there were lots of hugs and tears from co-workers doing what they could to console me.  It took me a long time to feel I could work at the same capacity as I had before my dad passed. Here are some things that helped me through that process at work:

  1. Take time to cry when needed.  If you need to, find a private space or go to your car for a short time. It’s important to express your emotions.

  2. Confide in friends and family or close coworkers. They are in your life to support you, just as you would support them.

  3. Try to find some laughter and joy during your day.  Sometimes it feels wrong to laugh or be happy after someone close has passed, but laughter is healing and can help you feel better.

  4. Communicate with your manager or supervisor and be honest. It may be difficult, but it’s important to talk about your feelings and what you’re going through.  

  5. Consider using your company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  It took me about a year to finally seek out counseling through our EAP, but it ended up being very beneficial and helped me with the loss of my father.

  6. Find something you enjoy doing and do it.  For me, it was sand volleyball.  I had a team with my coworkers and the combination of physical activity and teamwork helped me heal.

Grief is never an easy process to go through, but it’s important not to go through it alone. Take your time and seek help if needed/wanted. Do you have other suggestions of things that helped you through a period of grief?