Bad breakups. Family drama. Financial upheaval. All of these things can happen to the best of us at some point. Though you might not be up for it, you should go to work consistently when your personal life is in turmoil.

Bad breakups. Family drama. Financial upheaval. All of these things can happen to the best of us at some point. And when disaster strikes, our initial impulse can be to don the pajamas, curl up on the couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and hide from the world for a few days. Or weeks. Or months.

Though you might not be up for it, you should go to work consistently when your personal life is in turmoil. Here’s why:

Work will distract you

I have been through my share of bad break ups, and each time it’s really hard to escape the loop of conversations, arguments and memories that plays over and over in your mind. And while grief is a natural part of the healing process, there is a point where the sadness can completely overwhelm you. At some point, you have to hit the “stop” button and get back to your life.

Going to work during these times can give your brain that all-important break it needs from your personal problems. At work, there aren’t reminders of your ex (unless you worked with him or her, which is another story), sad songs playing on the radio and bad romantic comedies calling your name. There are, however, progress reports, email campaigns and company meetings that all need your attention. Going to work will not only ensure that you’ll still have a job when your personal crisis subsides, but it can provide the distraction you need to get through it.

Work can provide a support network

You spend 40 (or more) of your waking hours each week with your co-workers. Needless to say, it’s likely you’ve got some close friends at work, people who may already know a fair amount about your personal life.

While you don’t need to dish every detail of your personal affairs at work, letting a few close work friends in on your drama may provide the comfort and support you need to get through the day. Studies have shown that close friendships play an important role in the fight against psychological and physical illness. In addition, co-workers can be especially helpful if your crisis involves people outside the office —  they can be a good source of honest feedback and impartial advice.

Work can help you re-claim your self-worth

When life gets rough, it’s easy to allow feelings of doubt, insecurity and diminished self-worth creep in and affect you. During my own personal crises of past, I’ve wondered if was strong enough to move forward. If you’re not careful, the feelings of doubt can quickly throw you into a downward spiral and wreck your self-esteem.

Going to work, however, has reminded me that no matter how dire things seem, there are still contributions I can make to the world. Completing even the simplest day-to-day tasks and responsibilities can boost self-esteem, remind you of your talents and help you feel productive at the end of the day. Also since self-esteem is tied closely to workplace performance, showing up at work during times of adversity can provide the fuel for your self-worth that will lead to additional career success in the future.

Noel Rozny is a member of the Brazen Life Contributor Network.


  1. Megan

    Great post, Noel! The darkest times in my adult life have been made much easier to push through because I had to pull myself together to continue performing at work.

  2. Anonymous

    Thanks Megan! I so agree. Even though your brain is screaming for you to curl up under the covers and hide, going back to work (for me) can be an important part of the healing process.

  3. Roxanne

    Some excellent tips from Noel – as ever. In difficult times, we are inclined to think that we do not have the space for creative action or work or anything we could take pride in. Thank you for dispelling the myth.

    I think it’s also important to note the reverse: I have been guilty of hiding in my work in times of hardship, using it to alleviate whatever other difficulties were going on in life. While it is certainly helpful, I think it requires a sense of awareness about going on and some caution to not use “work therapy” as the only way of coping.

    • Anonymous

      Roxanne, thanks so much for your comments! And you’re so right–while work can help keep you mind busy, at the same time, you can’t entirely substitute it for grief. Sooner or later you have to face those feelings and mourn whatever loss you are going through, otherwise it will eat you alive. I have found that work is good for breaking up the grief into digestible chunks–so I can move through it without being completely overwhelmed by it.

  4. Jrandom42

    Despair.Com says it best:

  5. resede

    Great article. I am gonna stay in touch with this website everytime.
    Thank you. Waiting you on my projects:

  6. Becky B

    Bravo. Finding that there is still real purpose to your day at a place where you do seem to spend so much of your life can do a lot to get you through a disheartening/distressing situation. One step at a time!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Becky! 🙂 And you’re so right, one step at a time is all you can do.

  7. Tatiana

    I definitely think that going to work when your personal life is overwhelming can be helpful and distracting. Especially if you’re friends with your co-workers and/or really like the work that you do.

  8. Togotutor

    We are all stressed by work and always want to go home, but when there is a problem at house, the work seems to be a place for peace. I work in a technical field and to get away from stress at home, the best way to relax myself is to go on computer and start writing program.

  9. Ty Unglebower

    And if work, or a lack of it is part of a spiritual destruction a person is facing, what sort of things could they do to achieve some of these goals in absence of a job?

  10. Justin

    I met some people that if they are truly in love, they cant get out. And if there’s a breakout, the world has fallen apart. There’s no amount of work or entertainment that can heal them. Sad!

  11. Umzug Wien

    Great Post! Maybe it helps me, better to organize my work / and Free Time. Thx!

  12. Kingofworld789

    thats really an amazing post noel work is worship .. and thats the rule of life


  13. Paul Smith

    Thanks for this insights, Noel.
    Sometimes is so good to hear some new perspectives. That encourages me to “do it better”.

  14. DanaLeavy

    This is so absolutely true – and it’s easy to assume the opposite. Keeping yourself busy and your energy focused in a positive place is the best thing you can do. Great article!

  15. Diana Antholis

    And sometimes having your friends at work can just get you through the day ahead – even if you don’t have any particular problems at the moment. Obviously we have to make sure we can trust certain people – because you never know who will use your personal problems to their advantage.

  16. Overachieving48yrold

    What if no one will give you a chance because you are over 40?

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