Grief During the Holidays: Self-Care for Funeral Directors

November 22, 2023

Grief during the Holidays

Self-Care for Funeral Directors

Funeral directors play a crucial role in helping families navigate the difficult process of saying goodbye to their loved ones. You are with individuals in the initial moments of their grief, walking alongside them as they make hard decisions and begin to move forward. This responsibility can be particularly challenging during the holiday season.

It is so important for anyone working in the funeral industry to be mindful of how the holidays may impact their mental and physical health:

  • The holidays bring increased emotional strain. Families may be dealing with a greater sense of loss and grief during the holidays, which can make their emotions even more heightened. Funeral directors may need to provide extra emotional support and empathy, which can be draining. 
  • The holiday season often means longer work hours. January is typically a busy time for funeral homes as research shows that more people die this time of year—and more families will be seeking your services. You may need to work more hours, leading to physical exhaustion and feeling like you’re missing out on enjoying the season with your own family and friends.
  • This time of year can take an emotional toll. When you are continuously dealing with death and grieving families, you can experience burnout and compassion fatigue. It is important that you recognize the signs so that you can maintain a work-life balance and protect your own well-being.


There are steps that you can take to protect yourself and practice self-care through the season.


  • Set boundaries. Establish clear boundaries between work and your personal life and make sure you communicate these boundaries to your colleagues. Encourage your team members to do the same.
  • Seek support. Make sure you have a support network in place, whether it is a colleague who can empathize with you or family members who understand the unique challenges of your profession, particularly this time of year. Consider professional counseling or therapy if you feel that the emotional toll of work is affecting your mental health on a daily basis.
  • Practice self-compassion. It is okay to take breaks and care for yourself. Remember that, as the saying goes, self-care is not selfish: It is sometimes critical for your mental and physical health. 
  • Take time off. Take the time when you need it, even during the busy holiday season. No one can keep going—without reaching burnout—unless they are taking time to rest, relax, and care for themselves. 
  • Create personal traditions. Maybe you need to celebrate with family at a different time or in a simplified manner. Have open conversations with your loved ones about what you need in order to celebrate the holidays in a way that feels special and meaningful.
  • Develop stress-relief strategies. Schedule time in your day for exercise, meditation, or hobbies—anything that can help you manage the emotional strain of the season.

Remember the vital role that you play in supporting the families you serve: You cannot be there for others in their time of need if you aren’t protecting your own mental and physical health. We urge you to practice self-care throughout the holiday season.


NMS Is Here for You

Mortuary Services Through the Holiday Season

Our team is here throughout the holidays to support you in any way we can—from facilitating international mortuary shipping to livery services and out-of-town cremation arrangements. Please do not hesitate to reach out and let us know what you need to ease the burden on you and your funeral home, not only during the holiday season but in the new year. We’re here 24/7.

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