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Managing Stress in the Deathcare Profession: Practical Strategies and Insights

After reading an article from Psychology Today about the signs of stress, I wanted to share my insights and some practical strategies that I have found useful to help me manage stress more effectively.

I prioritize self-care by incorporating regular physical activities into my routine. Activities like yoga and walking are beneficial not only for my physical health but also for maintaining mental well-being by reducing stress levels. Additionally, I make sure to engage in hobbies and activities I love, which further enhance my daily life and provide necessary mental breaks. I also set clear work-life boundaries. Learning to say no to extra responsibilities when feeling overwhelmed is crucial in preventing burnout. This practice supports my health and promotes a more sustainable work pace. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and deep-breathing exercises, are part of my daily routine. These techniques improve my mental focus, reduce feelings of anxiety, and enhance overall emotional resilience.

Employers in the deathcare and funeral service profession play a big role in reducing workplace stress. It’s important for employers to support their staff. Flexible work hours can help employees manage their personal and work lives better, reducing overall stress. Providing access to mental health resources, like counseling services or stress management workshops, is also essential. These resources support employees’ well-being, especially in high-stress jobs.

Another article I read titled Just One of These a Day Can Keep Anxiety and Stress at Bay by Dr. Samantha Boardman talks about how having a good conversation can make you happier and less stressed. A study in Communication Research showed that talking to a friend in a meaningful way every day can boost your mood. Over 900 university students took part in the study. They had different types of conversations: catching up, meaningful talk, joking around, showing care, listening, valuing others’ opinions, and giving compliments. All these conversations helped them feel more connected and less stressed. Talking face-to-face was better for well-being than chatting online. The article suggests that making time for real conversations can help improve your mental health.

At Baue, we did several things to support our staff and help them manage stress. We offered flexible work hours to help employees manage their personal and professional lives better, reducing overall stress. We provided access to mental health resources, such as counseling services and stress management workshops. These resources are vital in high-stress jobs and support employees’ well-being. We also encouraged regular breaks during shifts to help employees relax and avoid burnout, which helps maintain long-term productivity and mental health. Creating a supportive environment and developing a workplace culture that values open communication and mutual support reduces stress and fosters a sense of community among staff. We set up effective mentoring programs to provide guidance and support, helping new professionals handle job challenges and reduce stress.

The Funeral Service Foundation provides a valuable free resource titled “Caring for Families & Caring for Yourself Handbook” by Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD. This handbook is an exceptional tool, offering a range of tips, guidance, quizzes, and journaling prompts based on proven methods. It is designed to help funeral service professionals evaluate their experiences, thoughts, and feelings, manage stress effectively, navigate a path to self-care, and foster a deeper understanding of themselves. If you haven’t already, be sure to get a copy for yourself and your team—it’s a great resource for anyone in the funeral service profession.

As May brings the warmth of spring, I encourage you to get out in nature. Take walks, bike, or run for charities or on your own. Bring your tennis shoes to work for walking breaks. Do something that benefits your soul.

My best always,

P.S. Don’t miss the latest episode of “Your Funeral Coach Talks” podcast featuring Monica Torres from NXT Generation Mortuary Support. Monica is not only an author and public speaker, but also a licensed funeral director and embalmer, certified restorative mortician, desairologist, postmortem reconstructive specialist, and an advocate for overcoming fear in the funeral profession. In the episode, Monica delves into the pressing issues of burnout, compassion fatigue, and mental health in the deathcare profession. She shares insights from her own journey towards achieving a healthier work-life balance and underscores the critical role of self-care and leadership in funeral service. This discussion is packed with invaluable perspectives and strategies for funeral professionals looking to improve their well-being and mentor the next generation. Tune in to discover effective ways to navigate both personal and professional challenges in the funeral profession. You can listen HERE, or wherever you get your podcasts!