Protecting Your Most Important Asset: 5 Ways to Prevent Burnout

Building resilience is the number one most challenging thing that funeral professionals have to deal with.

And at ICCFA, we met an exceptional person who was on a mission to do something about it.

Dr. Jason Troyer, author and founder of Mount Hope Grief Services,  developed Finding Resilience, a burnout prevention program designed specifically for funeral and allied professionals to help prevent burnout and reduce career fatigue. Dr. Troyer gave an inspiring and helpful talk and here are some of the highlights…

First things first – what leads to burnout?

Typically, funeral professionals play many different roles and wear many “hats”. That, on top of working with grieving families on a daily basis, having an irregular schedule, little to no work-life balance and occasional conflicts is a pretty straightforward recipe for stress, fatigue, and burnout. And these aspects of burnout don’t just affect you on the job, they affect your personal, psychological, emotional and physical health at home as well.

How can you reduce burnout?

In this type of profession, you have to set boundaries for yourself and take some time away from it all. Making self-care a priority is not just important, but necessary for a healthy mind & body.

Dr. Troyer recommends re-filling and replenishing with these 5 simple activities:

  1. Go for a walk: Getting some fresh air and going for a walk several times a week is a great way to refuel yourself. It helps rev up your energy and gives your mind an extra boost that you may need. Even if it’s cold outside, fresh air is super important to your physical health. Even 10 minutes is enough to do the trick!


  1. Get counseling: This word might scare some of you off, but think of it as “a conversation with a purpose.” Getting your emotions and feelings out by talking with someone is a good solution and can aid in any situation.


  1. Hire a coach: Dr. Troyer also brought up the idea of transforming yourself. Change your vessel. Make things better for yourself by finding a new path. One way of doing this is by hiring a life coach, your own personal cheerleader who can help you with anything from limiting beliefs to health-concerns and even love issues.


  1. Keep a journal: Whether it’s 45 seconds a day or maybe even 5-10 minutes a day, write down your thoughts in a journal. This helps you bring clarity to what you’re really feeling, thinking, and believing – and reflecting on it to perhaps notice unhealthy patterns or limiting beliefs. At the very least, journaling is a great release.


  1. Exercise regularly: It doesn’t have to be vigorous exercise, just 30 minutes a day, a couple of days a week will do. It helps keep you energized and helps to refocus and recharge yourself. Along with exercise, maintain healthy eating habits, too.


Take charge of your self-care today

The funeral profession is seen as an arguably tough career choice, which makes you, my friendly funeral director, a real-world superhero. But remember, you are still human, and it’s up to you to refill daily and take control of your resilience. You deserve it.

As Jason Dr. Troyer put so beautifully:

“Funeral service is a challenging, high-stress profession in which you constantly give of yourself. To continue compassionately serving others, you must be also compassionate with yourself. Your resilience must be continually nurtured so you can draw on your strengths during the inevitable challenging times. I hope you will make it a priority to refill and transform yourself.”

How do you replenish and re-fuel yourself at home and in the funeral home? Share with us your favorite tips in the comments below!

Get in touch with Dr. Jason Troyer on Facebook, or check out his program, Finding Resilience, for yourself.

Dr. Jason Troyer earned his doctorate in Counseling Psychology and is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee. He is a speaker, published author, and has provided counseling for bereaved individuals and groups. Dr. Troyer is also the Founder of Mt. Hope Grief Services which provides grief publications, training seminars, and consulting services. He is a member of the Association of Death Education and Counseling and is Certified in Thanatology: Death, Dying and Bereavement.

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