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Loss and Grief

Posted 25th May, 2023

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What to do when you are grieving

Most of us have experienced some sort of grief in our lives whether it be the loss of a loved one, a pet, the end of a relationship, or even the loss of a job.

It’s hard – especially if we are still coping with grief and loss while we are working. So, how do we manage if we are still having to do our day job?

Everyone grieves differently

Processing grief and loss is different for everybody. There is no formula for dealing with it and, for some, it takes longer than others.

Here are some things that may help you, or if you are managing someone who is grieving, to get through a difficult time

Tips for coping with grief and loss while working

  1. Acknowledge it first of all, and most importantly, it’s okay to feel sad. For some, there will be overwhelming grief when the loss happens and for others, it may come later – especially if the loss has happened unexpectedly and you are in a period of shock.

  2. Have time off – no one expects you to ‘soldier on’ during a period of bereavement. Employees in New Zealand and Australia are entitled to take bereavement leave. In New Zealand, this is three days and in Australia two days. If you need longer than this talk to your employer about your options.

  3. Get support from colleagues – telling your colleagues you have suffered a loss will open the doors to getting the support you need. This could be for moral support, to help manage your workload while you are away from the office, or simply to help people understand why you may be struggling with your emotions.

  4. Look after yourself – people aren’t robots so be kind to yourself. If you need to be with your feelings, try sitting quietly and listening to music or have a relaxing bath. Going for a walk, meditating, or even having a rest on the couch may help.

  5. Talk to friends and family – as with your colleagues, letting friends and family know how you are feeling is really important. Social connection is not only good for our mental health, but it also makes us feel less isolated.

  6. Get professional help – if you are feeling overwhelmed with grief and nothing seems to help, it may pay to seek professional assistance. Many workplaces offer Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) where you can get free counselling sessions. Processing grief and loss in therapy may also help. Your GP will be able to refer you to mental support services such as grief counselling or a psychologist.

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Supporting Links


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The Grief Centre NZ

0800 331 333

Grief Australia

1800 642 066

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