Coping with Grief at Work: Strategies to Prioritize Mental Health

Grief can affect every aspect of our lives, including our ability to focus and perform at work.
By illume Editorial Team
Last updated: Jun 29, 2023
10 min read
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Balancing the demands of the professional sphere while navigating the grieving process can feel overwhelming.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be overwhelming. You can’t simply turn the intense emotions off and function fully at work. However, many of us rely on our jobs as we don’t have the financial stability to take prolonged time away to grieve the loss of a family member or loved one.

In this blog post, we will explore effective coping strategies to help you navigate grief at work, prioritize your mental health, and find solace in difficult times.

Acknowledge Your Feelings: Recognizing and Validating Grief

Take some time to try to understand the grieving process. Grief is a natural part of life and varies from person to person. Acknowledge that it is okay to feel sad, and your emotions are valid.

Creating a supportive work environment for yourself and other colleagues who might be coping with grief will help. Foster open communication with colleagues and supervisors. This allows for understanding and empathy. When people know what you’re going through they will be able to support you.

Seek grief counseling if you are struggling to cope alone. Professional support can provide valuable guidance and help you navigate the complex emotions associated with loss. While it won’t be a quick fix – the support may help you to balance your grief alongside your other responsibilities.

Communicate with Your Employer: Navigating Bereavement Leave and Support

Take time to familiarize yourself with company policies. Research and understand your entitlement to bereavement leave or other resources your workplace may offer.

Next, openly communicate your needs. Discussing your situation with your employer can help them better understand and provide necessary support during your grieving process.

If you’re able to, ask for flexibility in work arrangements. Explore the possibility of adjusting your workload, hours, or working remotely temporarily, allowing you the space to grieve while maintaining productivity.

Returning to Work: Transitioning Mindfully and Gently

Gradual re-entry is a popular way of transitioning back to work. Consider gradually reintegrating into work responsibilities, starting with shorter work days or a reduced workload initially.

Create a supportive routine to give you space. Establishing a daily routine that includes self-care activities can promote emotional well-being and provide a sense of stability during this challenging time.

Utilize available resources that your company may provide. Many companies offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) or access to mental health support services. Take advantage of these resources to seek guidance and professional support.

Prioritize Self-Care: Nurturing Your Mental Health

Allow yourself to grieve when you need to. Give yourself permission to feel the pain and honor your emotions. Take breaks when needed, allowing time for reflection and self-care.

Reach out for support if you are struggling. Seek comfort from loved ones, friends, or support groups. Connecting with others who have experienced similar loss can provide solace and understanding.

Engage in healthy stress-reducing activities when you’re able to. Regular exercise, mindfulness, and hobbies can be powerful tools in managing stress and promoting emotional well-being.

Managing Triggers: Coping Strategies for Grief in the Workplace

Create a safe space so you feel comfortable at work. Personalize your workspace with comforting items or photographs that remind you of your loved one.

Limit exposure to social media if you’re struggling and don’t use it to numb or distract yourself. Take breaks from social media platforms, as they can amplify feelings of grief and trigger emotional distress.

Establish boundaries that are healthy so you have space to process your grief. Communicate your needs to colleagues regarding conversations or events that might trigger your grief. Help them understand your limits without feeling isolated.

Find Grief Support with Grief Works by Illume

Getting support when grieving is essential, but it can be challenging.

The Grief Works app offers 24/7 support in the palm of your hand. The 28-session therapeutic course will help you process your grief at your own pace, and you’ll gain access to 30+ interactive tools to manage your emotions when you need them.

Connect with a community that cares for you, attend live monthly group sessions with Julia herself and have the option to text-chat to a counselor when needed.

Reach out for support now to take the first step towards soothing your pain, building your strength and healing from grief.


Coping with grief at work is a challenging but essential aspect of the grieving process. By acknowledging and validating your emotions, communicating with your employer, prioritizing self-care, and managing triggers, you can navigate the difficult early stages of grief while maintaining your mental health and professional responsibilities.

Remember, seeking professional help, leaning on your support network, and being patient with yourself are crucial steps toward healing and finding strength during this difficult time. You are not alone in your journey, and with the right tools and support, you will find your way through grief at work.