Going through a break up or a divorce can put your life in turmoil. But there are ways to minimize the damage. Some people find work to be a panacea. For others, it’s not, but you still need to do your job. The following are five ways to keep things running smoothly at the office even when they aren’t at home.
1. Focus on accomplishing just one task at a time. Not all old sayings can be applied to today’s world. But taking one step at a time is a great way to tackle life. Not only when things are rough at home but also in the office. You try to keep business and personal life separate, but something as traumatic as a divorce is going to affect you no matter where you are.
During a divorce, normal routines become challenging — lack of sleep from fighting or dealing with kids’ fears late at night might be one new difficulty. Another might be thoughts about your ex during important work projects. The general sadness you’re dealing with can zap your energy and motivation.
But you still have a job to do. The best approach is to focus on one task that has to be done — not the entire project — just the first necessary piece you must complete to begin. Make a list of each step, then cross them off when you’re done. Besides concrete evidence of a job well done, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment that will make you feel better.
2. Don’t share all the dirty details with your office pals. Sure, it’s nice to socialize at work. You may even have colleagues who you consider close friends outside the office. But fight the temptation to share too many details about what’s going on in your private life, especially during your break up. Why? You don’t want to be the subject of office gossip. Even if your work buddies don’t blab about you, conversations can be overheard.
And once rumors and gossip start, they’re impossible to contain. Your supervisor or boss may start to view you through that prism. If you need to vent, do it away from the office and with non-coworkers. If your job offers counseling, explore that option. Seek a divorce support group, or confide in trusted friends and family.
3. Don’t communicate with your ex while you’re at work. If your split is a contentious one, or if one of you doesn’t want to do it, limit your contact with each other. And it’s best to stop all contact during work hours. Talking or texting each other is bound to upset you, and it will definitely take focus away from your work.
Even if it’s something as simple as you’re used to texting each other at lunch just to check-in, resist the temptation. Once you’ve decided to break up, start new patterns. Take time to go for a walk or read the latest novel. Don’t bring the confusion into your workplace. Communicate when necessary at home — and only when necessary, or else you’ll never get over that jerk.
4. Handle divorce-related issues anywhere but the office. Similar to avoiding contact with an ex at work, don’t handle the business of your divorce at work. A divorce can be a contentious time. But even if it isn’t, try to conduct all business related to your break up outside of work. If you must make some calls during business hours, do them at lunch away from the office. You may have to take time off for court hearings and other procedures.
But if those are the only effects that your coworkers and supervisor see, it can be beneficial to your career. Another alternative is to avoid the usual combative route and try a collaborative divorce. As the name implies, it’s a way to end a marriage that makes both parties feel good about the outcome.
Some of the perks include:
Lawyers who look out for the well-being of both parties.
Counseling for both parties and their children.
Financial advice so that everyone is taken care of.
A collaborative divorce is a way of honoring what you once were to each other, even if the only option is to now part. It can also mean less anxiety for you to bring to work.
5. Take care of yourself first. Whatever happens with your break up or divorce, you’ll be more productive at work if you take care of yourself. A few things to remember in the aftermath of a divorce that will keep your focused at work are:
6. Rest up and get some sleep. It may be difficult with the fears and anxieties of divorce flowing through your mind in the middle of the night, but lack of sleep won’t solve anything. Set up a nightly ritual like a warm bath or reading a fun book that will relax you. Then get your shut-eye.
7. Eat well. With all the stress you’re under, it’s not just your heart and mind that may be suffering: Your body is going through a lot, too. You need proper nutrition. Bring nutritious snacks and lunches to work. They will keep your body healthy so your mind can heal.
8. Get moving. Whether it’s a daily walk in the park, your indoor cycling class at the gym or your own yoga practice at home, working out is important at this time. It will keep you physically and mentally fit. And the endorphins will make you feel like you can take on the world.