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There’s a lot to contend with when you’re dealing with the loss of someone close to you. Your emotions will be all over the place. You’ll be dealing with shock, anger, and sadness. Then there’s the stress of organizing everything. For instance, you’ll need to find the right funeral director and sort out the estate. The last thing you need on top of all of this is to be worrying about the consequences of taking time off from work. It can be a difficult subject for all those involved, so here are a few things to bear in mind when going through bereavement.
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Allow Yourself Time to Grieve
The most important thing to remember is that you must allow yourself time to grieve. One of the worst things you can do is rush back to work. Perhaps you think you’re feeling fine and that working will help you to come to terms with your loss. Many people think that being back in the workplace will serve as a good distraction. However, often it can just mask your grief. Then your loss will hit you harder as time goes on.
Even if you feel like going back to work is the right thing to do, you likely need to give yourself more time away than you think. However, grief is different for everyone. Therefore, listen to your mind and body and do what’s best for you.
There’s no easy way to put this, but the success of your company doesn’t all revolve around you, no matter how much you might think it does. Your absence might mean missed deadlines or projects that fall behind schedule. However, that really doesn’t matter. Believe it or not, if you have hired the right people, your staff will find a way to cope just fine without you.
What does matter is your own health and well-being, along with the health and well-being of your close family and your loved ones at home. You’ll have more than enough to do as it is, as you ensure that you’re taking care of everything surrounding the loss.
Know Your Rights
Every workplace is different, so if you don’t own the company, find out what you’re entitled to. Moreover, speak with the HR department if you feel that the company’s current policy does not work for you. Most companies will offer at least one or two days paid compassionate leave. However, this can depend on how the deceased person was related to you. The closer they were biologically, the more time off you’re likely to be allowed. This can seem unfair if the person you lost wasn’t an immediate family member but was still a very close relation. However, you’ll find that most companies will act with discretion.
Don’t Bow Down to Pressure
Your mental and physical health should come first. You need to feel healthy in order to carry out your job efficiently on your return to work. If you’re not ready to return yet, don’t feel forced to do so. Employers should understand the implications of pressuring someone to return to work too soon after a loss. Moreover, they should understand that the negative effects will be far greater down the line if they force you to interrupt your grieving process. Without getting any disciplinary action taken against you, find a way to compromise.
Reach out for Support
Once you do feel ready to return to work, use whatever emotional support the company offers if this is something that you might find beneficial. Also, go for a coffee with your line manager or a close teammate. Let them know how you’re feeling.
What’s more, even if you feel ready to return, not every day will be a good day. Therefore, ensure that the support is in place to get you through. Moreover, consider taking a mental health day if things begin to get on top of you.
Learning to move on from the loss of a loved one takes time. And it’s no set amount of time. The key is to be open and honest with your employer if you work for one. Or learn to trust and depend on your employees. Hopefully, they’ll offer the space and support you need.