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How To Deal With A Breakup Without Failing At Work

We all know that, ideally, we should be professional and separate our performance at work from the happenings of our personal life. At the same time, we are (most of us) not robots without emotions.

This distinction is tested to its limits when you’re going through a breakup, your emotional and mental state are in constant turmoil, but yet you don’t have a way to responsibly absent yourself from work.

Darkness doesn’t have to be your old friend with these tips to help you get through this rough patch without crashing and burning your year-end appraisals too.

1. Show up at work

Sure, you may need a day or two to unleash all your emotions and properly grieve over the end of a relationship, but make sure you give yourself no longer than two working days max.

Staying at home and moping in your room for too long will only launch you into a downward spiral of negative emotions, which will bring you no closer to achieving a sense of closure and moving on. Work can actually be a perfect environment to distract you from the stress and emotions and can also give you reason to look forward to your future.

2. Tell your closest colleagues about it

This is especially pertinent if your other half had been a huge part of your conversations with your colleagues at work. Tell these colleagues that the relationship has ended so that they won’t inadvertently bring up reminders of your now-ex.

Remember that however much detail you want to share with your colleagues is your choice, and you’re not obligated to spill anything beyond the briefest facts.

3. Giving yourself frequent breaks at work

You may find your mind, against your will, drifting off to your ex and the events leading up to the breakup. This may happen several times a day, if not perpetually.

The more you try to force yourself to brush it aside and concentrate on your work, the more these thoughts will intrude.

Instead, give yourself some space to dwell upon these thoughts, but always limit them to a set time and tell yourself that these are the only times you can let your thoughts and emotions run free. Outside of these breaks, tell yourself you will try your best to focus whole-heartedly on your work. Of course, make sure these breaks are of a reasonable frequency and duration like, for example, 5 minutes every hour.


4. Removing any items around your desk that may remind you of your ex

Whether it’s a photograph you had pinned up at your cubicle, or a piece of stationery that she had bought you, get rid of or give away any item that could dredge up painful memories of your ex.

A fresh new desk layout can also play a huge part in refreshing your mindset and getting you ready to move on to a new chapter in your life.

5. Try incorporating something new and different in your everyday routine

Whether it’s deciding to hit the gym in the mornings, or simply just changing the route you take home from the office, some freshness in your life might actually help to slowly get you back on track with your life after a breakup.

Habits tend to become muscle memory, which frees up cognitive space for your brain to start dwelling on the breakup yet again.

Doing something new can also give you some much-needed stimulation as you need to be more alert to check out new surroundings. Don’t be afraid to take a longer route home if it means more things for you to see and explore.

6. Take things one day at a time, one task at a time

Recovering from something as messy and emotionally distressing as breakups simply can’t be scheduled or planned in advance. Oftentimes, it will stress you out more trying to push yourself to feel better by a certain timeline.

Instead, focus on the baby steps. If a whole work day seems interminably long, focus on getting one thing done at a time, even if it’s something as trivial as making sure a set of documents are printed are in the right order.

Remember to strike a balance between allowing yourself room to grieve, and also keep yourself in a forward-moving progression, no matter how small the steps are, instead of perpetually dwelling on the past.

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