Mortuary Musing
a mortuary science student's perspective on the study of the dead

Stress and the Funeral Director

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(CSC Original Post 11-12-09)

Recently I was asked how I would be able to handle the stress of working in the funeral business. Of course there will be times when funeral directors will have their down time, but there will be times when the phone is ringing off the hook and it will feel like you are interacting more with dead people than live ones. Some weeks can be extremely busy.

Of course I wanted to say I’m good at multitasking (which I am), but it wasn’t the answer the person was looking for. After further details I learned the person was referring to how would I handle the overall stress of work and everything that is involved with it. This notion left me thinking. Actually I imagine I probably had a blank look on my face while I was thinking. But then I probably have a blank look on my face most of the time.

Everyone handles stress there own personal way. Also there are some people who tend to get more stressed out than others. I fall in the category of people who don’t get stressed out too often. I always feel pretty relax. I’m not exactly positive why I am like that either.

Learning to manage stress is something important if you want to enter this field. A funeral director can’t go running around inside a funeral home in panic mode screaming at the top of his lungs…especially if the decease person’s family members are watching. Also you don’t want a funeral director to stay silent and repress everything until one day he or she completely snaps. There are a lot of possibilities that can happen after a person snaps so I’ll let your imagination fill in the blanks here.

A funeral director needs to remain under control, act professionally, and be able to help the family’s needs. How an individual handles stress with this career is probably the same way how they handle stress with everything else in their life. I don’t think people go into different motions of how they handle stress for schoolwork, family, puberty or whatever. If people handle stress a different way for each little thing then that would be too much work for them, and then they’ll start stressing out about how they are handling their own stress.

The only thing I can possibly think of that I do that might help me with stress is exercise. I exercise 6 days a week—3 days cardio and 3 days weights. I have read somewhere before that exercise is a good way to relieve tension, stress and/or frustrations. That could be true. I’m pretty much a mellow guy. One of my plans in the future for whenever I run my own funeral home is to install a fitness room for the employees. I recommend exercising for people not just because of stress, but also it helps you stay healthy and fit. But exercise might be a good outlet to release some of your stress or frustrations. If you don’t already exercise, then maybe you should give it a try.

Well this is all I am going to write for my blog for now. This is a topic a person can keep writing and there is no real answer to it. Every person handles stress differently. The important thing is to make sure you handle the stress in a positive way. I’m sure you don’t want to make the headlines on the evening news.

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