Wellness Care for Funeral Directors

June 2020

You can find a great many sources to discuss the new challenges of providing services as a funeral director during the current pandemic. The challenges are high. There are regulations about the number of people allowed at services and barriers between being able to meet with grieving families in the way that you were trained. What's not often discussed is the stress of the job itself and the added pressure for funeral directors during this time.

With the increased rate of mortality, many funeral directors see an unprecedented increase in demand. Work hours that were once longer than average, to begin with, have now left little room for anything else. The long hours can be exhausting in themselves, but there are added pressures for funeral directors in the way that services need to be handled. They have found themselves in a situation where they need to find creative ways to meet grieving families' needs.

Because families are equally stressed and frustrated with the ways that regulations make memorializing their loved ones more difficult, funeral directors often take the brunt of the emotional toll caused on these families. Added to all of this, many funeral directors are also concerned about their own health. There are questions of transmission of COVID-19 from the deceased to those attending to the bodies, which means that they need to use extra protective wear. Longer hours and less time to concentrate on their own health can also cause stress on the funeral director's immune system.

It's important that funeral directors and those who work in the mortuary sciences take some time and prioritize their own health. The services we offer to grieving families are important and valued. But we can't do any good for anyone if we've depleted ourselves to the point where we are unhealthy or unable to do our jobs to the best of our abilities.  These are all areas that are taught at Pierce Mortuary Colleges. 

Tips for prioritizing your health

When you, the student, become a funeral director, you will become accustomed to putting the clients' needs ahead of your own. Many funeral directors make sure that they are always accessible, even during hours that most professionals would have phones and devices turned off. After all, we work in a field where every call is someone's worst day and biggest emergency.

Under normal circumstances, funeral directors do find ways to relax and pay heed to their own health concerns. But funeral directors tend to make their clients a top priority. Now, more than ever, it's important to develop techniques that will allow you to reset and clear your mind so that you can be your best for the people you will serve and yourself.

Some of these tips can help you maintain your emotional and physical health through this crisis and beyond:

  • Make Time for Meditation. Whether you pray, practice yoga, or simply devote some time to simple meditation exercises, even a few minutes a day can help. Mindful meditation and any form of clearing your mind is shown to relieve stress and help improve your outlook and mood.
  • Therapy for Unusual Stress. When you reach a point where the emotional stress is too great, it can tip over into real depression and other psychological issues. It's essential that you see professional help if needed, even for a short duration to help you develop better coping skills.
  • Give Yourself Down Time. Many funeral directors work around the clock. They never shut their phone off and they check their email constantly. The truth is, many of these calls can wait a few hours for you to reply. When things get hectic, set hours aside to have down-time.
  • Physical Exercise. Exercise and physical activity can provide great stress relief, and it's good for your health. This can be something as small as a daily walk or as big as training for a marathon.
  • Mind Your Diet. A poor diet will deplete your energy. Simply paying attention to proper nutrition and portion control will improve your physical health, which also improves mental and emotional health.

Many students, who have become a funeral director, went into the field because they wanted to be of service to families in these very difficult times. But it is important for you to take care of yourself, as well.

Previous Blogs from Pierce.Edu

  1. Wellness Care for Funeral Directors
  2. The Added Meaning Behind Memorial Day for the Funeral Profession
  3. How Funeral Directors Can Carry On During the Coronavirus Pandemic
  4. Why Online and Distance Learning Won't Slow You Down from Getting Your Degree
  5. Pierce Mortuary Colleges Offer Degree Programs for Veterans
  6. The Importance of a Degree in Funeral Service Management
  7. Coping with Loss During the Holidays
  8. The Importance and Benefits of Thanatology Certification
  9. The Growing Need for Proficiency in Green Funeral Services
  10. Designer and Custom Caskets
  11. Time Management Skills for Online Degrees
  12. Day in the Life
  13. Grieving and Social Media: Does Posting About Your Anguish Hurt or Help?