How To Avoid Burnout & Make Time For Yourself (In A Profession With No Time Off)


Did you know that three-quarters of mortuary grads leave the profession within ten years because of job burnout?! And we bet that massive statistic doesn’t even surprise you too much. The truth is, burnout doesn’t just apply to college students and working moms. Any hard worker in a hectic and busy profession can easily suffer from career-ending burnout if they don’t take care of themselves. And this is especially true for those of us working in funeral service.

It takes a passionate, dedicated person to go through years of 2am pickup calls, emotionally charged days and working weekends to still come out on the other side with a positive outlook on their career.

And while most people would count down to their next vacation or long holiday weekend as their chance to relax, unwind and get their brain back on track, us funeral pros just don’t get those same free time luxuries. Even so, it’s crucial that you take some time to unwind and relax, even when the work schedule doesn’t let up.

Read on for a few ideas of how to make time for yourself during the day, so you can continue providing exceptional services and not give in to burnout.

1. Recharge your body, recharge your mind.

Take a snack break, but don’t reach for the sugar. Give your body a jolt of energy with snacks like almonds, blueberries, veggies and hummus, or a few peanut butter crackers. An energizing snack helps your body keep going through long days and nights, and help to fend off fatigue.

2. Yuk it up.

You’ve always heard that laughter is the best medicine… but it’s not just a nice cliche people like to say. Laughing really can undo the effects of stress. Especially in a profession that requires you to be respectful and somber 24/7. And while we know it can be hard to find things to laugh out loud at during the workday, it’s important to try make that time for yourself. Take a YouTube funny video break in between meetings, or queue up a comedy album on Spotify while you’re prepping for your next service. You’ll be amazed and just how much these little changes can affect your overall mood and attitude for the day.

3. Let a loved one cheer you on.

Even if you’re chummy with your colleagues and you get along well with the people you spend all day with, you need a positive connection to something outside of your profession. When you start feeling the symptoms of burnout, stop and regroup. Give your spouse or best friend a phone call—really, anyone who seems to always know just the right thing to say. Removing your mind from your work for a few minutes and shooting the breeze with someone you love can be the perfect way to take a break and boost your motivation at the same time.

4. Create a quiet space.

Whether it’s indoor or outdoor, a mile wide or a few square feet, there needs to be a place where you can go when it’s time… time to take a breather, time to decompress away from all the to do’s, tasks and questions you need to answer all day long. Go to the space that you choose and stretch, scroll your social media, or just close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Anything goes in your quiet space. Just make sure that your colleagues understand that this place and this break time is essential: When you step into that space, you’re off the job for a few minutes. Encourage them to hold onto their questions and comments, as much as possible, until you’ve had some time to wind down. You’ll be better equipped to tend to tasks afterward anyway.

5. Soak up the sun.

Don’t skimp on the vitamin D – and don’t give into the stereotype that all funeral professionals are pale, gloomy people that only come out at night. Exposure to sunlight is essential for good health, and can immediately turn around your mood to boot. Even if you need to bundle up on a winter day or alternate the sun and shade on a hot one during the summer, getting outside each day—beside the walk to and from your car on your way in and out—is crucial.

6. Systemize your tasks.

Make your life easier by looking for areas in your day-to-day workflow where you can cut out more time for yourself and systemize the way that you do things. For instance, instead of checking your email constantly throughout the day, set aside specific time blocks two to three times throughout the day where you will only concentrate on answering emails. That way, you are not constantly pulled out of what you are doing to think about email responses.

Taking a few minutes to recharge your batteries during the day doesn’t make you any less of a hard worker. It means you value your mind and body, and are smart enough to treat yourself to the pick-me-ups you deserve! Go ahead and take five. You’ve earned it.

What are your favorite ways to take “me-time” during the day? Be sure to share in the comments how you avoid burnout at work!

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  1. Doug Gilchrist

    Great article. Wish I’d read it 30 years ago

  2. Jesus A.Zavala

    Every chance I get, I’m out fishing. That’s very relaxing and brings excitement to the soul!!!!!

  3. Gwen Russell

    Take some downtime to get your thoughts together. Take a few minutes to pray and peace and calmness will abound. Have a refreshing cold drink with a small snack. You will find refreshment for your soul.

  4. Rilee Chastain

    Great advice, Gwen! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

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