Stress and the Funeral Industry – Part 1

January 25, 2010
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image Ways to Cope with the Stress of Working in the Funeral Industry, and How to Keep from Landing Yourself on Your Own Embalming Table

In the funeral industry there are countless stressors, some obvious some not. It is inevitable that one must find a way to cope with this stress as leaving stress levels high make daily life impossible. It is up to the person to make the right decision and choose a positive way to deal with the stress caused by the funeral industry environment. While some choose to fall back on drugs and alcohol to deal with their problems, others successfully rid their stress in positive ways, like exercise. With all the stressors involved as a funeral service professional, it is necessary that one finds a way to deal with stress; and imperative that they choose the healthy alternative.

When most people have a, “bad day at the office” it’s because they’ve fallen behind on spreadsheets or there’s some negative interoffice relations occurring. However, when a funeral service professional is having a bad day, there can be a lot of negative pressure coming down on them from all angles. They’re not dealing with petty deadlines or gossip, but some of life’s biggest and sometimes saddest events. Being on someone’s beck and call at this very needy and demanding stage of grief will take a toll on anyone, and it’s appropriate to look at the positive and negative ways one could cope with this tremendous amount of stress.

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Funeral service professionals can develop large amounts of stress for many reasons. When someone’s mother dies it is like nothing else in the world matters aside from their mother’s passing, it is often overlooked their funeral service professional may have several clients at once all dealing with a passing of a mother. One of the duties of a funeral service professional is to handle all of the grieving families, all giving them intimate and personal care, and being able to be their steady and stable “rock” throughout the funeral process.

When someone’s loved one dies, they’re expecting the funeral service professional to drop everything and treat them with family-like hospitality. Of course every family has the right to expect such care and generosity, but when there are multiple families all with the same expectations it

becomes a high stress environment for the funeral service professional. Because of this, it is important that the funeral service professional handles their stress levels while keeping a professional and caring attitude. It is important to treat every grieving family well, and to make sure all family members experience a professional as well as stress free funeral process. To help provide this aforementioned environment it is not only important to address their mental grievances but to also handle their financial obligations.

Aside from the financial stresses experienced by the families, the funeral home is exposed to a great amount of financial stresses. The whole assortment of cash advances can be a large burden to the funeral home especially when it can take months, or sometimes years to receive payment from families. It can be particularly uncomfortable for a funeral service professional to even just make the decision to pursue payment from unpaid funeral bills. It is especially hard to confront these families over financial issues as many funeral homes are located in tight knit communities where the funeral home often has a close relationship with the family (and have sometimes done business before). It is mutually understood by both the family and the funeral home that the bills must be paid and this is the major contributing factor of stress to both parties. It is partly due to these financial issues that make running a business a difficult and stressful lifestyle.

What many people fail to realize is, aside from the “suit and tie” end of running the business there is also and endless amount of duties to be done even when business can come to a complete stand still. When embalming, transferals, and floral arranging, are not necessary due to business, there are always countless things to be done to keep the business running smoothly. Fleets of automobiles need to be meticulously maintained, grounds need to be groomed, and exterior walls need to be painted. Aside from maintenance there are miles of bills and endless tunnels of paper work. Being “on call” is also another major stress factor.

Like many doctors, being “on call” is one of the duties of many funeral service professionals. Even when the long hours of the day have been completed the funeral service professional’s day may still not be over. We all know death doesn’t wait for anyone and that means the day doesn’t stop for the funeral service professional. Spouses, children, and family events all will have to wait at one point or another due to the fact of being “on call.”

Part 1 of 2

Source: Associated Content

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