Returning to work after your child has died is a huge transition in grief. No longer do you have hours in the day to process your emotions and it is more difficult to create time to practice self-care or tend to your heart.
Grief is draining both physically and emotionally. Spending hours a day at work means that many fewer hours are available to take care of yourself.
So how do you balance work and grief?
Is it possible to fit it all in each day?
It is unreasonable to think that emotions can be compartmentalized. But the reality is even when we feel prepared to return to work, we are never prepared for those moments when grief sneaks up on you.
While you cannot prepare for everything, by creating a gentle environment both at work and at home you will be better able to handle those moments when they arise.
Here are self-care strategies to help support Balancing Work, Grief, And Self Care:
– Listen to comforting music on your drive to work
– Practice 5 minutes of mindfulness in a quiet space (the parking lot, your office, a private bathroom)
– Take occasional brain breaks
– Walk outside for 10 minutes
– Get fresh air when possible
– Be sure to eat during lunch
– Stay hydrated throughout the day
– Be realistic with yourself and your employer regarding your ability to complete duties at work
– Practice patience as you acclimate
Now that your personal time is limited, it’s important to maximize that time at home.
Keeping life simple will help during this transition. There are moments both before and after work to create moments for self-care.
Here are ways to tend to your heart at home:
– Wake up with ample time to prepare for the day ahead
– Use your shower time to decompress
– Release any held emotions from the day on the drive home
– Grocery shop on the weekends to limit your obligations during the work week
– Make meals simple: plan ahead, search low maintenance recipes, use a slow cooker or Instapot, take-out or delivery
– Be physical: take a walk, practice yoga, do a workout
– Journal: make a gratitude list, write a stream of consciousness
– Create a gentle nighttime routine
– Get an appropriate amount of sleep
Returning to work is not easy. Some people appreciate the distraction, but if you find that being at work is too challenging or that you weren’t quite ready, speak to your employer.
There may be options for reducing your hours or taking additional time off.
But more than anything, know that your experience is normal.
You are processing a tremendous loss and it’s understandable to find focusing and concentration to be difficult.
Be gentle with yourself and be sure to give yourself grace right now.
You deserve it.
If you would like more suggestions and resources for self-care, download your free e-book “Tending to Your Heart: 100+ Ways to Connect with Your Heart and Others” here.
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash
Amie discovered a new appreciation of life after spending only 33 days with her daughter. She now raises 2 sons and takes advantage of every free moment to write, educate, and offer hope to bereaved families. Learn more about the books she has authored, her daughter’s non-profit foundation, and Amie’s life on her blog.