The experience of any loss can be heartbreaking and as a result, it’s likely that stages of grief will occur in some way. Experiencing loss can impact mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, and provoke profound feelings of despair, sadness and a variety of other emotions.
The Effects of Loss and Grief
Grief is a unique and individual journey and everyone will grieve in their own ways, and that’s okay. It’s normal. Symptoms of a bereavement can vary, though there are many reported similarities in experiences. This is where the idea of ‘Stages of Grief’ comes from; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. However, these stages are not necessarily linear – they are more of a rollercoaster and someone might go back and forth through each stage multiple times.
Common emotions include guilt, anger, sadness, loneliness and despair, or sometimes feelings of numbness. It is not uncommon to experience physical symptoms such as sleep disturbances, loss of appetite or increased appetite, fatigue and physical illness. Other symptoms that can be noticeable are poor concentration, absent mindedness and impacted memory due to attention span.
Grieving is a natural process, and it’s important to encourage the practice of self-care and compassion, with an awareness that grief can take time to navigate. There is no specific way to grieve, and each person will navigate their own way through their grief.
Grief in the Workplace
Following a bereavement, some employees will be absent from work as they will require time to process their bereavement, whilst others will find that work provides a helpful routine.
When employees are returning to work following a bereavement, they may need additional support. It is helpful for employers to provide a supportive environment for employees that enables conversations about the loss and grief, should they want/need it. Referrals to counselling providers or EAP providers including PAM Wellbeing can also be helpful.
Useful points for employers to consider are:
- Anxiety and depression are normal symptoms of grief during the first few weeks and months. Employees may improve in time or may benefit from bereavement counselling.
- Providing a supportive working environment can help employees to return to work or remain in work following bereavement.
- Bereavement counselling can be helpful to those who are bereaved and have no family/ friends support or who are struggling to adjust.
- Not every employee requires bereavement counselling – many will receive support from family, friends, colleagues and spiritual leaders.
- Providing psychoeducational information can help employees to understand that they are experiencing grief and that grief is a normal response to
At PAM Wellbeing, our counsellors have experience in supporting employees experiencing grief and loss. They provide a safe and accepting space for individuals to explore the many feelings that come with grief. However, grief is an ongoing process and there is no timescale or particular pathway to follow, it is a very unique journey for each individual.
PAM Wellbeing offer services that focus on bereavement, including our 90-minute training course on grief and loss. Find out more about our training and workshops here.