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FDAK Newsletter 11/17/17


Surviving the Holiday Season Stress

Source: Frazer Consultants, Fall 2017, Issue 1

The holiday season is coming.  For many, it’s the season of joy.  But for funeral directors, the season of joy can quickly become the season of stress.

Beyond the normal unpredictability of a funeral director’s job, the holidays can bring extra stress that can lead to burnout.  Funeral director Caleb Wilde notes that “Being that funeral directors are susceptible to compassion fatigue AND have an uncontrolled work environment, we are especially vulnerable to burnout.”  Don’t let stress and burnout take the happy out of your holidays.  Here are some tips on beating burnout and surviving the holiday season stress.

Confront Unrealistic Expectations

Everyone has hopes for what the holidays will be like, but all too often, reality and our expectation don’t line up.  You know better than anyone that death doesn’t stop on the holidays.  On top of the already never-ending duties a funeral director performs, the holiday season adds extra responsibilities like visiting family and friends, attending holiday parties, and hosting your own parties or remembrance program.

There’s a finite amount of time in the holiday season, and not everything will get done the way you want.  This means missing out on some of the fun things the holidays bring.

Jan Bruce, CEO of - which is an online stress management system - recommends

That “Maybe you don’t accept every party invite, but choose one or two that mean the most.  Rather than blaze through one cocktail hour before heading to another one, spend quality time there, connect with people you know and some you don’t, and enjoy where you are.  When you can do that, the holidays feel different, because you’re always where you’re supposed to be.”

Delegate The Work

Trying to tackle everything yourself over the holiday season is a noble effort - especially when picking up extra work so other staff can enjoy some time off.  But unfortunately, trying to take on too much too fast only leads to burning out quicker.

Delegate the work so that it’s split evenly.  If you’re planning to host a holiday event this year, consider partnering with another organization in the community to split the work needed to plan and promote the event.  And don’t forget that technology can be your best friend this holiday season.  Use it to save yourself time and work. 

Make A Difference

If burnout and compassion fatigue starts to sink in, it can leave a person feeling cynical.  To combat these feelings, try taking a moment to make a small difference in someone’s life.  It could be something as simple as making donations to a food pantry, donating to a clothing drive, sending a small gift to former client families, or volunteering in other ways in the community. 

Giving back gives us a surge of energy and a much – needed jolt of joy – the perfect cure for holiday stress.

Mentally Escape Once A Day

It can be difficult to get away from work, but setting aside just 15 minutes a day to escape from the holiday stress has enormous benefits.  Take those 15 minutes to get away – turn off the TV, put down the phone, and just breathe.  A daily meditation or moment of reflection not only improves mental health bur also improves your overall physical health.

Enjoy the Little Things

The holidays can be tough, but you’re a funeral director.  You’re tougher.  As the holiday season approaches, just remember to enjoy the little things, like the first snowfall, a warm cup of hot cocoa on a cold day, or a holiday dinner with the family.  It can make all the difference.





































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