Do you ever find yourself in a place of “letdown” after the holidays are over? What about this year? If it is where you are now, what are you going to do about it? Was it so busy you had no time for rest? Finding the time to “get away”, to discover a place to rest and renew is important for us in funeral service for both our mental and physical well-being. If you follow our blogs, newsletter, and podcast where we speak about the importance of caring for yourself, you will find them full of sound advice from our Collaborative Network Partners.
When I was a young girl, my grandfather, Pop Baue, who was the founder of our family funeral home2, took us to the farm he and my grandmother had as a “getaway”, a place of rest for them. He grew up on a farm and for him, it was a relaxing time to be on a tractor plowing or harvesting the fields. My Grandmother, Nana Baue, enjoyed tending to her garden, planting flowers, or picking and canning tomatoes. This is not something that they could do in the winter, however. Since they lived above the funeral home, they would often go to the farm anyway as a place to “just get away”. They would sit by the woodburning stove, read, take naps, and take a little mental and physical break.
As a busy funeral director and a mom of two active children, I was working night and day both during and after the holidays. There was no time to rest as January & February seemed to esp. be our busiest months. Thus, taking a trip, going to the farm, the beach, etc. for a break seemed and was impossible. I found myself creating my little sanctuary at home. Usually, it was by the fireplace with a cozy blanket, or I would light a candle on the table and curl up with a favorite book after the children were in bed.
Do you have a “getaway” in the country, or maybe a corner of your home where you can relax and get away? What about at the office? As part of your goals this year, perhaps you could create that place in your home where you can put your feet up, plug in the earbuds, listen to music, and take the book you’ve been planning to read for months and spend time just being quiet.
What about planning a nap during the day? Most in our profession think I am a bit nuts recommending they find a way in their workday to take a nap. It is especially difficult in the funeral service profession after the hectic holidays and during our busy winter season to find time for such things. However, a number of years ago, I attended a seminar given by a doctor in Kinesiology who shared that an effective short nap is of most benefit to us during the time of day when our energy levels are the lowest. Do you know what time of day that is for you? To discover it, pay attention to your body, when do you feel it’s the most sluggish? When does it seem you need a boost of caffeine or an energy bar? This could be your body telling you it’s nap /re-energizing time.
What do your work facilities look like? In the funeral, cemetery, and cremation profession, the winter season is traditionally the busiest especially following the holidays. Do you have a place to go to take a break, listen to music, or take a short nap? Research has shown that 20-30 minutes is recommended (depending on our age and physical health). Here is the advice I received from the doctor at the seminar. Drink a glass of coffee/tea etc. about 10 minutes before you close your eyes. Find a quiet place to rest, turn your phone off, and try to nap. Chose a meditation or nature sound on your headset and set an alarm for 30 minutes. The doctor shared you will wake up feeling well-refreshed from this “short power nap”.
At Baue’s we purposefully built 2 private rooms with reclining chairs for staff to take breaks. If you do not have a place at your offices or care centers, perhaps you could gather your fellow team members together to think through where you could find a quiet break area or corner.
When the staff or your boss looks at you like you are nuts, just tell them that Lisa, “The Funeral Coach” told you it is important to your mental and physical health!
If any of us can support you on your 2023 journey to take naps, and find places for R & R, please do not hesitate to reach out at any time.
My best to you all in these post-holiday winter months in the funeral, cremation, and cemetery service space. As you care for those who mourn, please do not forget to care for yourself too!