Funeral professionals are often revered for their empathy and compassion. We accompany people on their journeys through grief or loss on a daily basis. It’s a profession not many are drawn to, and a profession even fewer are able to stay in long term. It does take a certain type of person to feel gratified working in this industry and those of us that do, do it with pride. However, dealing with bereavement regularly can often lead to emotional and physical exhaustion.
In addition to all of the funeral professional’s admirable traits, those working in the death industry are also prone to depression and disengagement. Many funeral professionals also find themselves coping with harmful habits. Those that do not have harmful habits are likely to be too busy to engage in them. Funeral service is not a Monday-Friday, 9-5 job. We often work weekends, holidays, and evenings. We miss our own special events to attend to those of the families we serve. We are always connected by our cell phones awaiting a call notifying us of another death. This pace makes us vulnerable to suffering from a more fragile mental state just as much as caregivers, nurses, and others in similar occupations.
Aside from working with sadness on a regular basis, death does not pride itself on predictability. Funeral professionals often find themselves feeling defenseless in such an uncontrolled work environment. We can’t predict when it is going to be busy. Sometimes we are under-staffed. Sometimes we don’t have the resources to provide the level of service we want to provide, but we can never let it show. We are trained to present a calm and comforting front. That is we are here for – to serve you. We are the pillars of strength for those that need us in different capacities, whether it is planning ahead for an expected death or for a family that has just experienced a traumatic loss.
So how do we help ourselves or the funeral professionals in our lives?
*Practice Relaxation Techniques
*Eat Well and Exercise
Our emotional well-being is important. We need to take care of ourselves so that we can care for the families we serve in our community, with pride and with honour.