How To Conquer The Elusive Funeral Professional Work / Life Balance

work life balance

As funeral service professionals, we are called upon to offer the best of ourselves during the worst times by the families that we serve… but at what cost? Over the years, the number one complaint that I have heard from funeral service professionals can be paraphrased to encompass “I love what I do and I am great at it; but my personal life is suffering for it.”

Having both personal and professional balance is pivotal if we strive to not only provide a service, but have lasting impacts on those who look to us. Because of the selfless nature of our profession, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the problems and challenges that others are experiencing. If we are not careful, we can begin to neglect ourselves, which is the beginning of a very dangerous cycle that has the potential to spiral out of control and negatively affect every area of our lives. In order to avoid this keep the following in mind: it’s all about balance.

work life balance

1. It all starts with you.

We consistently work intimately with those who are experiencing loss, so it’s imperative that we are in balance. At the end of the day, we can offer only as much love, patience, compassion and gentleness towards others as we have within. Regularly exploring and experiencing what gives us joy is a great way to begin working towards achieving personal and professional balance.

2. Rest.

Our profession has no set hours of business. As we all know death does not take off for holidays, birthdays, or sick days… meaning that, in many cases, neither can we. However, establishing a regular sleep and rest pattern is necessary for basic human function. Lack of rest can lead to disease, illness and overall danger for ourselves and the families that we serve. The more rested and alert we are, the better. When we are well rested, we feel better mentally, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and physically in all areas of our lives. Make rest a priority.

3. Take a moment and smell the roses.

As cliché as it sounds, setting time aside for reflection and renewal has the power to change your life. As funeral service professionals, we are always on the go. Very seldom do we have the opportunity to relax and gather our thoughts before we are called to perform the next major duty. Before we know it, we become burnt out and can be compared to the Walking Dead… going through the process of life but never experiencing it. By establishing boundaries with ourselves and others, we begin to develop the discipline that it takes to have “me time.” During this time, reenergize by enjoying a meal, taking a restful day off, reading a book or simply meditating (or sleeping).

4. Start each day in peace, intending to focus on the positive and responding to challenges with love.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in the ups and downs of everyday life. Many times we encounter situations and people when they are not at their best. This can create internal frustration and stress, which make it difficult to accomplish tasks and goals. Learning to achieve peace within empowers us to contribute and perform at our personal best, while also enabling us to respond with love. Not only does this keep us on track, but has the power to affect those around us in a positive way; particularly the families that we support.

5. Celebrate.

The fact that we are alive is reason enough to celebrate. Many times we become so enthralled in the rhythm of our day-to-day lives and celebrating the lives of those who have passed away that we overlook the opportunities to celebrate our personal accomplishments and triumphs. Taking time to recognize our individual greatness creates an atmosphere of gratitude while motivating us to accomplish more.

Death tends to be a constant reminder of how fragile and precious life is. By achieving personal and professional balance, we have the opportunity to experience life from a truly unique perspective. As a funeral director constantly fighting the battle for harmony between work, home and personal life, how have you achieved the perfect balance? Do you think it’s even possible? Share your thoughts with me in the comments.


2016-03-24_1309About The Author

Joe’l Simone Anthony, also known as ‘The Grave Woman’, is a graduate of the Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, Georgia. She is dedicated to eliminating misconceptions about post-life preparation while stimulating an open, honest and straightforward discussion about death through the use of her blog and website. She also regularly posts videos to her Youtube Channel. To learn more and to submit your comments, questions and requests visit her at, The Grave Woman blog, or by email at [email protected] .


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  1. Jeff Harbeson

    Well done Joe’l! This is a great article for everyone, especially those on the “front lines” doing the tough work on a daily basis. #thefuneralcommander

  2. Joe’l Anthony

    Thank you so much Commander! I appreciate all of your kind words of support. It is essential that we learn to care for ourselves. It is an ongoing process that trickles down into every area of our lives!