Advice for going back to work

Hi, since my gorgeous Alan passed away just before Christmas I have been off work. (And before that we were on holiday so it’s 2 months since I have been there). They have been really good but I know they will be expecting me back soon. I’m not sure if I can face it but I know that I can’t stay home indefinitely either and I have go back sooner or later. I’m wondering if anyone has any advice; what do I say to people ( I can’t say ‘I’m fine’ because I’m not)? How do I find any enthusiasm for my work when I really don’t care about it any more? And how do I stop myself from breaking down in front of acquaintances or service users? Financially I have no choice but to carry on working and I think I’m probably too old to change career now. Any help or advice would be so welcome. X

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Hello there, my friend @Arvia - you have been through so much - I am so sorry that all this has happened. On going back to work, maybe see if you can do a gentle return - maybe a couple of mornings a week at first, slowly building back to where you were before. Let them know what you need of colleagues - whatever that is. You may want a signal to show that you are having a tricky moment so they leave you quietly - say putting your mug out on the desk or something, just so people know.

I always find the anticipation of things is worse than the reality - so take a baby step towards it and let them know how it is and where you are.

You are doing so well - we are all with you here xx


Hi and so sorry for your loss :broken_heart:
I feel the same about returning to work. I worked all through my partner’s palliative care (11 months) only stopping 2 weeks before he passed on 19th November as the end was obviously near.
I struggled all through the funeral Christmas and new year and I asked my doctor to sign me off for January. I am due to return on Monday but still don’t feel ready or able to face people let alone do my job. I think I will ask for another month and then make a conscious effort to return in March. Spring new beginnings may possibly be the right time. I know I can’t be off indefinitely but I’m still in this bubble of grief and feeling so low :broken_heart:


I lost my wife in September and had 10 weeks off work. During the last couple of weeks I went to work just for a cup of tea and to break the ice with colleagues without having the pressure of actually any work. I asked my bosses if when I returned to work i would do whatever hours I felt comfortable with then go home. Gradually building up the hours to a full day. It might be worth asking if this is an option for you.

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It’s entirely up to you when you go back . I had 4 months off before I was ready to return . I am on an agency so I wasn’t getting any sick pay so I had to go back . You will know when you are strong enough to start . A phased return then would be a easier transition