Funeral Industry News

Funeral Industry: How Do You Know That You Are Stressed?

August 21, 2009

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Funeral Industry: How Do You Know That You Are Stressed?

The funeral profession has to be one of the most stressful occupations on this planet. The simple matter of taking a first call would be enough to put most people into a state of depression, but the funeral professional handles it on a daily basis. Each time you walk through the morgue door and accept the scenario laid out before you as ?normal? you store stuff in your subconscious that lurks until enough builds up to become a problem. I am sure there are very few funeral homes out there offering a staff debriefing session on a regular basis so you need to take ownership of your stress issues.

Stress does all kinds of things to you. It makes you tired and edgy. It makes you impatient and short with people and disrupts your sleeping. There are many frightening statistics that will tell you the growing number of sick days of workers, lost jobs, serious illness and a shorter life are attributed to stress. Your body reacts in a number of ways. Here are some facts about stress that my personal physician shared with me many years ago. You need to be aware that first a chemical called adrenaline speeds up your body system,

? your eyes dilate,

? your muscles get tense,

? your breathing gets faster,

? your heart pounds faster,

? your stomach gets butterflies,

? your hands get cold,

? your feet get cold.

I am not able to cover all the things YOU can do to alleviate your stress with a few select words, but I can briefly touch on a few.

EXERCISE is Key. You will find that a very important way to reduce stress is to exercise. Exercise is to your body as soap is to dirt; it kind of cleans your body of stress. Stress is tension in your nervous system and tends to be relieved through exercise.

DRINK LOTS OF WATER. Hydrating your system is one of the easiest ways of reducing stress. Water seems to do amazing things to nerve tissue and I wonder why funeral directors don?t have it on their desks at all times.

BE PREPARED. You will quickly find out that when you are prepared for a situation you will be less stressed. You are usually extremely uneasy when you are late. What do you think would happen in this situation, if you leave early enough to get to your destination well in advance of your planned arrival time? Less stress equals a more effective funeral director.

The following are a few ways I deal with stress without going to a shrink. I try to exercise daily for at least 20 minutes because exercise keeps my head clear and helps me relax. I do breathing exercises and take some time out and take a few slow deep breaths. While I am doing the breathing exercises, I try to think about something that takes my mind away from my stressful situation. I strive to eat a balanced diet. I find that if I eat properly I give my body a fighting chance to deal with stress because I am aware that certain foods affect my nerves and increase my stress.

If all else fails, I suggest talking to someone who is trained in dealing with de-stressing techniques. Surprisingly, this person can also become your best advocate in the community. I contracted a local minister who had stress management experience to come to our funeral home on a weekly basis to talk to our staff. The sessions were private and no confidences were broken but I did notice that sick days and headaches were reduced. As for that minister … she was so impressed that we were actually taking time to care for our selves ? that she doubled her word-of-mouth praises for our funeral home and soon other businesses were contacting me about helping them set up a program. Talk about unexpected advertising!

Don?t let stress get the better of you. Identify areas of concern and manage your business life well. It?s just that easy.