How to Return to Work After a Breakup

Business is anything but usual when your heart is broken and your soul is smashed. You are dizzy, drowsy, nostalgic, vulnerable and raw. Your mind disobeys, interrupting mandatory spreadsheet analysis with a mental slideshow of your best relationship moments. Your hands spontaneously reach for your phone in a reflex attempt to send that ritual mid-morning, "thinking of you" text message. Your future, that once appeared so certainly hopeful, now looks shaky and bleak. Your emotions swim uncomfortably close to the surface, and more than anything, you feel very, very, very, very sad. While you may want to pull the covers over your head and hibernate in bed for a few weeks, you must get back to work. Follow these tips and may your post-breakup work be a little less painful.

Call in sick. Emotional injuries take time to heal just like sprained muscles, shattered bones, viruses and infections do. If your broken heart feels unbearable, give yourself a day or two get over the worst of it.

Move slow. Focus on one little task at a time. Move forward on projects in baby steps. Don't take on extra work. Chances are your mind isn't as sharp, nor do you feel particularly motivated, so be easy on yourself until your energy level returns closer to normal.

Schedule mourning breaks. People take smoke breaks and coffee breaks and even gossip breaks, so why not give your broken heart scheduled time to mourn each day? Walk around the block, sneak to a café across the street, shut the door to your office. Cry, cry, cry, cry! Then get back to work. Should you need it, you can take another 15-minute mourning break in a few hours.

Keep the gory details out of the office. Your breakup may be the only thing on your mind, but talking about it with your coworkers will make you feel worse. Don't debase your emotional state by offering up your breakup as fodder for office gossip. If one of your coworkers is a friend you want to confide in, do it outside of office time.

If you must confide in your boss or coworkers, do so in vague terms. Say something like, "I'm sorry if I seem not myself lately. I'm going through a tough time and I'm doing my best to keep on top of my work. I should be back to normal in a few weeks." If people inquire more deeply, say politely, "I appreciate your concern, but it's easier for me to not get into the details. Thanks for your help."

Save the sudden moves for later. Your boss micro manages. Your work numbs your mind. Your coworkers stress you out. You want to leave this rat race and try something new, anything new. While I'm the first person to support a reevaluation of life and a change of direction, keep in mind that anything that felt uncomfortable before your breakup is bound to feel 100 times worse. Save major changes in your career until after you've had ample time to mourn your loss to ensure that the moves you make are based more on clarity and less on foggy emotional impulses.

Be grateful for the routine. A steady rhythm helps tremendously to keep you grounded as you grieve. Once you heal, big dreams will emerge again, your energy level will pick up again, love will fill your heart again. In the meantime, be thankful to have a job that provides you with food, money and healing.

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About the Author

Amanda Ford is a writer and creative thinker with a knack for cultivating love wherever she goes. She is the author of several books including KISS ME, I'M SINGLE: AN ODE TO THE SOLO LIFE and BE TRUE TO YOURSELF: A DAILY GUIDE FOR TEENAGE GIRLS. Amanda's work has been featured in Real Simple, The Chicago Tribune and The Seattle Times. With a sweet and soulful style, Amanda hopes to help her readers deepen all the relationships in their lives using kindness, compassion, understanding and play.

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