A Letter For The Funeral Director Who Takes On Too Much

We have something special to share with all the death care professionals who are feeling the effects of burnout. We hope this brings you inspiration and permission to slow down and take care! 


Dear hard working funeral director,

I know it feels like everything is on your shoulders. 

There’s always another task to rise up to…

Another family to comfort…

An urgent moment that demands your attention…

But what if the thing that needs your attention most is yourself? (Spoiler alert – it is!)

We cannot give endlessly without taking time to replenish our own spirit, especially when our job is caring for others. We owe it to ourselves AND those we support to put on our own oxygen mask first. Only when we prioritize our own well being can we fully serve others as our best selves. 

Our job is hard work! We experience intense physical and emotional demands that can lead to compassion fatigue and leave our spirit drained. When is there time to take care of thy self when I take care of everyone else? It’s not always so simple, but the fact is… we have to make the time.

If taking care of yourself sounds like some class you may have forgotten to take somewhere along the way, I have a few easy steps you can take to make it happen…

First off… it starts with being gentle with yourself. 

Taking a deep breath when the overwhelm comes in and saying, “I am giving myself 10 minutes to slow down.” You deserve this gift, this rest, this moment to be with your beautifully human self. 

Second, ask yourself these questions.

In this space you can check in with these 15 questions lovingly designed especially for you, the overwhelmed funeral director. This simple process of asking yourself what you are feeling reminds you that you are human. You have needs and that is a wonderful thing! You do not need to be anything more than what you are in this moment. 

Third, self care.

In a profession that is so demanding of your time and energy, it’s important to carve out space to practice self care. Sure, that can look like face masks and bubble baths, but often the best (and hardest) self care is taking time to get rooted and set up boundaries for yourself.

How do you start this type of work? I like to begin with a grounding meditation, like this one from Dori Midnight. It’s creating a container to call back all your energy that you’ve so generously given to others throughout your day so you can reclaim those parts of yourself. You have a right to drink up your own care and comfort, to offer yourself some TLC.

The next step is remembering you also have a right to say no. 

Your words reflect your boundaries. Even though the world doesn’t show us this truth enough, saying no actually comes from a place of self respect and compassion! As my therapist friend once said to me, “If you don’t ever say no, your yes loses its meaning.” 

Do you really have time to squeeze in one more task when you’ve already stayed an hour late everyday this week? No. Is the world going to end if you leave some paperwork on your desk once in a while? No. Can you show up to the work of caring for yourself with the same passion and commitment that you have for your work of caring for others? Yes.

Boundaries and self care rituals don’t happen overnight, so remember to be gentle with yourself through this process. Remember that small actions lead to bigger ones. Even if it’s just 5 minutes everyday where you name 5 things you’re grateful for, you’re making the space and time to process your day and be present with yourself. 

Lastly, don’t forget to count on your community.

Self care doesn’t need to happen in a vacuum, it’s important to ask for help and support from your loved ones. Community care is a vital part of creating the type of support system we all need as humans. You know it best, that’s what you do all day! Allowing yourself to be supported the way you support others has major healing effects for everyone, this is how we keep everyone’s emotional cups full. 

Now… take a good look at yourself

A compassionate, driven, and generous spirit who deserves relaxation and care. Rest is radical in a culture that urges us to endlessly produce. 

You are liberating yourself every time you slow down and practice self care and boundaries, and that is truly something worth celebrating. 

You are worthy of all the compassion and care you share with the world.


With all my love,

Krystal Penrose

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments.

  1. Michelle Lynch

    Hello, I am trying to get in contact to see if I can use this article, with proper sourcing, for out Metropolitan Funeral Directors Association monthly newsletter. It’s a great piece that I think would be a great read!

  2. Krystal Penrose

    Hi Michelle, yes, as long as you source us, you’re welcome to use this piece! Please send an email to [email protected]. Thanks!

  3. 15 HIlarious & True Reasons Why Every Funeral Director Deserves To Relax This Labor Day Weekend – Philadelphia Insurance Group

    […] know that rule can be one that’s hard to follow in the busy life of a funeral director, so we came up with 15 very convincing reasons why you absolutely deserve to take a break and soak […]

  4. How To Get Your Funeral Home On Instagram: A Step-By-Step Guide – Philadelphia Insurance Group

    […] It seems like there’s always a new social media platform to keep up with these days, and that can be overwhelming for the ever busy funeral director.  […]