Nine ways to look after your business whilst grieving


I’m currently sitting with my mother in her nursing home, whilst she is in palliative care.

Easter Thursday, for our business, a Bakery, is the busiest day of the year, with thousands of handmade beautiful hot cross buns in many flavours being baked. All customers stream in to get their extra supply of bread and buns for the holiday weekend. At the end of the day, all staff crash at home and are grateful the day is over and hopefully went smoothly with no hiccups.

This Easter was different as my mother had been showing signs of quick dementia for the last few weeks, and was sent off for a scan. On Thursday evening my sister and I got our shocking news, our mother had an aggressive brain tumour, and our options weren’t great, hence the reason I am sitting here writing this article.

Unfortunately, you cannot just shut your doors as your business needs to keep running to pay your bills, your clients still need your help, and you have to keep everything moving so the business can survive.

I have come across this situation many times over the last few decades in business and although each time has been different depending on my relationship with the person who has been passing.

I thought I would share these nine small tips that have helped, so they can help you handle the emotion, take care of yourself, whilst still running your business, during and after the grieving process.

  1. Transparency
    Be transparent with your staff, let them know what you are going through.
  2. Build Relationships
    Build a relationship with your staff so when (and you will) have to rely on them, you have them go that extra mile for you because they want too, not because they have too.
  3. Sleep
    Get your sleep when you can, no one can perform with little sleep, leave the unnecessary things, you will have time for them after, delegate any work you can.
  4. Keep Healthy
    Eat well and keep hydrated.
  5. Accept Help
    Accept help when offered from friends, family, and staff.
  6. Time Out
    Take time out if you need, make time for a massage, facial or just time alone.
  7. Switch Off
    Switch off at work if you can, take deep breaths often, focus on task at hand, it is hard but important.
  8. Plan Ahead
    Always plan ahead, that way you will have time when your tank is empty, to do and be where you need to be, without worrying you have things to do.
  9. Always Show You Care
    Don’t let the sickness be the time that you show up for people you love, it will help deal with your loss if you know you have always been there in the best way you can.

Even when you know these things will help, everyone will grieve differently, no one escapes losing someone they love at some time in their life.

I have lost a child, grandparents, father, cousins, friends and three brothers-in-law, and now close to losing my mother, our business has always had to open its doors. It has never been easy, but these steps have made the process that little bit more bearable.