When Personal Trauma Affects Work

when personal trauma affects work

When personal trauma affects work, things can go sideways fast. Traumatized employees have anaffected ability to learn, think, manage change, and relate to others.

Your mental state and even attention can be completely distracted from the work that needs to be done, resulting in costly errors or accidental omissions.

Additionally, when personal trauma affects work, it can trigger an unintentional emotional response to co-workers that can have long-lasting impacts on relationships with co-workers and even clients.

Things happen.

It could be a divorce, death in the family, a difficult family situation, health issue, or any other myriad of reasons that could be severely traumatic.

And sometimes, it can even feel like the walls of your life are collapsing around you.

But what you do when personal trauma affects work is critical to your professional reputation… and even to your career.

Your symptoms affect coworkers

Stress and burnout can lead to personal trauma that affects work.

The resulting symptoms affect everyone around you in the office.

This includes:

  1. anxiety
  2. depression
  3. lack of productivity or motivation
  4. inattention / lack of focus
  5. distracting thoughts
  6. distrust
  7. irritability
  8. despair
  9. paranoia
  10. When personal trauma affects work, everyone is impacted.

While the personal trauma might take longer to resolve, take immediate steps to lessen how this affects your job.

Take a breather

When personal trauma affects work, you need to take a step back and get a hold of yourself and your emotions.

Step outside.

Take a breather.

Go for a walk to clear your mind and settle down.

Then focus when you are back at your desk.

Get help if you need to

Many companies have a employee assistance programs (EAP) which can provide over the phone or in-person counseling.

Sometimes, when personal trauma affects work, it is simply too big for you to try and resolve on your own.

A professional helping hand can aid you in working through the issue or issues.

Don’t be afraid of the help that counselors can provide when dealing with major personal trauma.

They can help you find your way and move past the pain.

Consider PTO

Many companies lump vacation and sick days (some still don’t) together into paid time off (PTO); when personal trauma affects work, it is always a good time to take a mental health day.

Regroup away from the office so you can work through some of the issues.

Avoid missteps that could jeopardize your employment or performance by recentering and having an opportunity to compose yourself before returning to the office.

Spend time away at a neutral location like the beach or a park as a personal getaway and time for reflection.

Don’t be afraid to take a leave of absence

Not being present at work (even unpaid) is still better than continuing to struggle along and blundering away.

If the situation is truly untenable, you need to full disengage until you are confident that personal trauma will no longer affect work.

Having an appropriate conversation with a supervisor to request time off as a leave of absence is sometimes a workable solution that gives you the emotional and brain space to work through the trauma.

Heal the pain while mitigating damage to your career

When personal trauma affects work, there are two goals.

The first is to mitigate the impact that the personal trauma has on work.

The second means working through and healing from the longer-term impacts of trauma that has caused major emotional damage.

Counselors help and can provide solutions for each of these areas, and equip you in a way that allows you to avoid causing irreparable career damage at work.

The work you do with counselors also means that they are simultaneously providing long-term strategies to process and heal from the trauma.

Have hope, and keep your career afloat while you work to heal through incredibly difficult and personal pain.