When heartbreak honks its horn at your front door, not opening it is extremely difficult, if not downright impossible. Be it a breakup, divorce, or death of a loved one, an emotional crisis is a vortex that can suck your heart and mind in, test the limits of your mental fortitude and sanity, and eventually spit you out drained, deadened, and too tired to do little but sleep. Does this mean that you should wave Goodbye to your professional life until further notice? Of course not, unless you’re one of the very few people who can afford to take a few months off work. When the going gets tough, the tough dig in their heels, whip out survival tricks from their pocket, and put them to good use.
1. Baby steps, one at a time
When an emotional storm is swaying you from side to side, focus is hard to come by, let alone keep for longer than half an hour.
In the first few weeks after a breakup or divorce, keep your agenda structured around small, realistically achievable tasks and activities. That way, you’ll be able to see at least minor projects through to the end, and you’ll also prevent productivity dips and consequent frustration, self-reproval, and additional loss of self-esteem over the failure to complete large-scale tasks. The road to independence is paved by baby steps, both in terms of healing and in terms of work, and it’s up to you alone to make the path as easy as possible to cross.
2. Rework your daily agenda
Habits die hard, but you’ll have to change your usual daily routine after the split in order to save yourself some bonus pain points during the healing process.
If you used to have coffee with your ex every morning before heading out for work, consider switching to coffee to go. Or, if you spent your spare time at home with your spouse-no-longer, schedule meet-ups with friends in the critical time slots. As you begin to reinvent yourself as an independent individual, you can also reorganize your home and put away the items that trigger painful memories, and you should avoid going to stores, restaurants, and cafes you used to frequent with your no-longer-significant other.
3. Give pain a voice – but not too loud
Talking about memories, pain, and loss are an integral component of healing, but if all you do is talk, you’ll never get anything done – and you won’t heal either.
Voicing your feelings in times of crisis is essential for emotional unloading, and you should by all means set aside the time for it. Still, be careful about the amount of personal information you’re disclosing to your supervisors and coworkers: nobody wants to know just about every single detail of your divorce, and your colleagues certainly won’t be thrilled with the idea of having to listen to your emotion-packed monologues every day. Voice your grief, but don’t remain stuck in the past for months – your life is ahead of you, not behind you.
4. Self-care is your new priority
When you heart is in bits and aching all over, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself, but the failure to take heed of your health will only land you deeper in muck.
Self-care has to rise to the top of your list of priorities after the split: however much emotionally bruised you may be, try not to punch extra holes and dents in your medical record. Muster what’s left of your willpower and revise your menu and day-to-day activities, and see where and how you can make improvements. A healthier diet, more sleep, and regular visits to the gym will be beneficial for both your health and productivity at work, and they will also provide a much-needed window for emotion-free routines.
5. Seek support outside your network
Hire a divorce attorney to tackle the paperwork without delay, but don’t forget to get expert help for the matters of the heart in the post-split period.
Financial and legal advisors are every divorcee’s faithful ally, but mental health counselors are no less critical. In a recent survey, over 60% of spouses filing for divorce in California said that therapists specializing in post-split anxiety and grief are as vital as reliable divorce attorneys. In addition to their role in post-split emotional recovery, experienced therapists will be able to provide valuable insights into the aspects of your life where you can grow further, and nudge you in the right direction on the path to regaining independence, positive self-image, and work focus.
Heartbreaks happen to all of us, and grief does take time to wear off. Hang in there, and follow the steps listed above to make the journey to a new, happy, and independent life easier and faster without losing your job or sanity along with a loved one. Good luck.