The Role Of Self-Care In Managing Grief At Work

When we experience loss, especially the death of a loved one, we often feel like our world is falling apart. We find ourselves surrounded by reminders of what used to be and can’t help but relive those memories over and over again. 

This is where self-care comes in. Self-care is an important part of managing grief at work because it helps you cope with your feelings while also allowing you to focus on your job responsibilities.

Grief at Work webinar. Supporting colleagues and staff
Practicing self-care is important for managing grief and loss.
Building a support system can provide comfort and help you feel less alone during the grieving process.
Managing grief in the workplace is challenging, but maintaining productivity and professionalism is possible with proper self-care.
Self-care can include activities such as exercise, healthy eating, and seeking support from others.
There are many resources available for learning more about self-care and coping with grief.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

It’s important to acknowledge and talk about your feelings, rather than trying to ignore or suppress them. If you’re feeling sad or angry, it’s okay and helpful to express those emotions. 

You might feel guilty for being upset or worried that people will think you can’t handle your job while grieving, but there is no shame in having these feelings and they won’t make anyone judge you negatively if they know how you’re feeling.

“Having a support system during times of grief can provide a sense of comfort and belonging, making it easier to cope with the pain of loss. Learn more about the power of support systems during times of grief in our article.” – The Power of a Support System During Times of Grief

Adjust Your Expectations

Self-care is not a short-term fix. It’s an ongoing process that you can integrate into your life to help you better manage grief, but it will take time and patience. 

It’s also important to remember that there are no universal “right” or “wrong” ways of grieving; every person experiences loss differently. 

It may take some time before your emotions feel manageable, so be patient with yourself as you learn how to cope with them in healthy ways.

Expectations Before GriefAdjusted Expectations During Grief
High productivity and energy levelLower productivity and energy level
Consistent motivation and focusFluctuating motivation and focus
Ability to handle stressors easilyHeightened sensitivity and stress levels
Strong sense of control over emotionsStruggling to regulate emotions
Balanced work-life scheduleNeed for more time off and flexibility

Take A Break

Take a break from everything. Don’t do anything that reminds you of the loss, and don’t spend time with people who remind you of the person who died. It’s okay to cry, but if it’s not helping, try something else. 

If you’re having trouble sleeping, take an afternoon nap and make sure to eat healthy food and stay hydrated throughout the day.

If it’s too difficult for you to physically remove yourself from the situation or person who is causing distress, try sending them a text message asking if they can reschedule or give them some space until you’re feeling better emotionally and then follow through! 

You don’t want to put your feelings on hold forever in order for someone else’s needs to be met; ultimately this can cause resentment on both sides as well as contribute towards unhealthy relationships which may eventually lead down an unhealthy path.

“Managing grief and loss at work can be challenging, but it’s essential for maintaining productivity and professionalism. Check out our 15 tips for managing grief and loss in the workplace to learn how to cope with your emotions while on the job.” – 15 Tips for Managing Grief and Loss at Work

Seek Community Support

Self-care is not something that can be done alone.

Other people need to see that you are taking care of yourself and know how to help you. To this end, it is important to seek out community support when you are in the midst of grief. 

This can include talking with your friends and family, joining a support group or seeking out a mental health professional like a grief counselor or psychologist.

Stay Mindful Of Your Physical Health

While it’s important to take care of your mental health, you should also focus on your physical health. You may be feeling tired or overwhelmed from not getting enough sleep, or from having a poor diet.

When you’re grieving, it can be difficult to remember to eat properly and stay hydrated. You might find yourself craving foods that aren’t healthy for you or drinking too much caffeine in an effort to feel more alert. 

You might also find yourself forgetting about things like brushing your teeth or showering regularly and this can result in negative long-term effects on your body as well as short-term ones like bad breath and body odor!

“Dealing with grief in the workplace can be overwhelming and affect job performance. However, it’s possible to maintain professionalism and productivity by following some simple guidelines. Discover how to maintain professionalism and productivity while coping with loss in the workplace in our article.” – Dealing with Loss in the Workplace: How to Maintain Professionalism and Productivity

Here are some tips for taking care of yourself physically while grieving at work:

Get enough sleep! Try going without screens an hour before bedtime (this includes TVs and computers), dimming lights, using blackout curtains if necessary, avoiding substances that keep you awake (like caffeine), setting a regular bedtime routine (like listening to calming music), and taking naps during the day if necessary. 

If possible try exercising early so that you’ll be tired by bedtime instead of feeling energized by exercise right before trying to fall asleep at night.”

Don’t Forget To Breathe

As soon as you feel overwhelmed, take a moment to breathe. This can help you to relax and stay calm, which will in turn keep your focus on the task at hand. 

We often forget that breathing is important for our physical well-being, but it’s also an important part of keeping our minds healthy too. 

As humans, we tend to get tunnel vision or become easily distracted when we are going through something difficult but if we take a few moments every hour or so to breathe deeply and remind ourselves that everything is okay right now, it can have huge benefits for managing stress levels throughout the day (or week).

Breathing TechniquesDescription
Diaphragmatic breathingBreathe in slowly through your nose, and let your abdomen expand. Hold your breath for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth.
Box breathingThis technique involves inhaling for four seconds, holding your breath for four seconds, exhaling for four seconds, and holding your breath for four seconds. Repeat this as many times as necessary.
Progressive muscle relaxationBreathe in and tense the muscles in your toes, exhale, and relax them. Repeat this process for each muscle group in your body.

Remember: this isn’t just about being present in meetings with clients or colleagues it’s about being present in every aspect of your life when you’re grieving at work. 

If there are times when things get stressful (and they will), make sure that you’re able to prioritize taking care of yourself by taking regular breaks throughout each day where possible!

“Self-care plays a vital role in the process of grief recovery. Practicing self-care can help you manage your emotions and take care of yourself during the healing process. Learn more about the role of self-care in grief recovery in our article.” – The Role of Self-Care in Grief Recovery

Delegate Work Tasks

Delegate work tasks. If you are a manager or director, this is especially important for you to do. You will have less time to do them yourself and more time to focus on the things that matter. 

In addition, it will help your employees get the most out of their work day and give them the opportunity to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities if they so desire. 

And lastly, it allows you more time with your loved ones during this difficult time because when we’re gone from work, we are often gone until late at night or all weekend long doing other things that need attention (like taking care of kids).

Be Patient With Yourself And Others

“Be patient with yourself and others. This is a hard thing to do when you are grieving, but it’s necessary. It may seem like everyone else is coping fine, but that doesn’t mean they are. You will not be the only person in your office who has lost a loved one recently.”

In addition to being patient with yourself, it can also be helpful to be patient with your coworkers. While many people understand that you have been through something terrible and won’t judge you for needing time off work or having difficulty getting back into things on certain days, not everyone thinks this way. 

Some people might feel jealous of your situation or resentful of the attention it brings their way; this can cause them to act out in ways that make life difficult for both themselves and everyone else at work (for example by taking advantage of the situation). 

Try not to let this bother you too much because there’s nothing wrong with asking someone directly if they really want help and remember: kindness begets kindness!

“Building a support system after a loss is essential for healing and finding comfort. Finding strength in community can help you feel less alone during the grieving process. Read our guide on how to build a support system after a loss to learn more about the benefits of community during times of grief.” – Finding Strength in Community: How to Build a Support System After a Loss

Remember That Grief Is Nonlinear

You may have thought that grief was linear, but it doesn’t work that way. In fact, it can be nonlinear and unpredictable. 

According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Health Psychology, “grief is a process that generally follows a predictable course but not always in an orderly fashion.”

Grief is like this because it’s largely based on our personal experience and worldviews. Each person experiences grief differently because they have different expectations of what death means for them personally and those expectations are often related to their level of religious belief and cultural norms about mortality. 

This can make managing your emotions more challenging than you might expect!

Grief ProcessDescription
DenialRefusal to accept the loss; feeling stunned or shocked
AngerBlaming self or others; feeling a sense of injustice or unfairness
BargainingAttempting to negotiate or make deals to reverse the loss
DepressionFeeling helpless or hopeless; significant sadness
AcceptanceAcknowledging the loss and finding ways to cope; beginning to move forward
RelapseTemporary return to earlier stages; normal part of the grief process

Consider Getting Professional Help

I’m not going to lie: getting professional help is not easy. It takes a lot of work, and it’s not something that you can just do on your own. 

But if you feel like your grief is taking over your life and making it harder to focus at work, then I would encourage you to find a therapist that works well with people who are grieving. 

If you don’t know where to start looking for a therapist, ask some co-workers or friends if they have any recommendations for someone who has helped them through their own grief experiences.

If possible, go into the first session with an open mind about what therapy might look like for you—and be honest about what kind of support you need and want from the therapist. 

The therapist won’t be able to provide more than what they’ve planned in advance (in fact, most therapists will have several treatment plans), so it’s important that both parties understand each other’s expectations up front. 

Ask questions until all of those doubts are resolved! You should also make sure that both parties are happy with how often sessions will take place; many therapists prefer meeting weekly but others may suggest biweekly or monthly sessions instead depending on how long they think it will take before seeing improvements in their client’s health issues related specifically towards managing grief effectively while still being able maintain their professional responsibilities at work successfully as well.”

Seek Out A Grief Group At Work, If Available

If you work in an organization that offers bereavement support services, it’s worth checking with human resources to see if a group is available. 

Not only will you be able to share your story and hear others’ stories of loss, but you’ll also benefit from the group’s ability to help you work through your grief.

When I was having a terrible time getting through my first year of widowhood, I joined two separate groups: one at my church and another at my workplace. 

Both were helpful in different ways I loved hearing other people’s experiences with grief and how they had dealt with it over time; I also learned about new coping mechanisms for managing stress when dealing with sudden loss (for instance, using journaling as a way to process feelings).


As you can see, self-care isn’t just something for those with serious medical conditions. It’s a necessity for everyone and that includes people who are grieving. 

By taking care of yourself by practicing healthy habits and setting realistic expectations for yourself, you’ll be able to better manage your grief at work and on through life.

Further Reading

20 Ways to Take Care of Yourself While Grieving: This article offers 20 practical ways to practice self-care while grieving, such as getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and talking to a therapist.

Self-Care While Grieving: This webpage provides tips for self-care while grieving, such as taking time for yourself, journaling, and seeking support from others.


What is self-care?

Self-care is the practice of taking care of oneself physically, emotionally, and mentally. It involves engaging in activities that promote overall well-being, such as exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough rest.

Why is self-care important during the grieving process?

The grieving process can be emotionally and physically taxing. Practicing self-care can help individuals manage their emotions and take care of themselves during this difficult time.

What are some examples of self-care activities?

Some examples of self-care activities include exercising, spending time in nature, practicing mindfulness, and connecting with others. It’s important to find self-care activities that work for you and fit into your lifestyle.