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Stress management for Funeral Directors

Funeral Directors serve the community during a time of hardship and grief, which is mentally taxing and stressful. This is not a profession that you can leave at the office but requires attention all hours of the day and night, weekends and during personal events. On any given day, a Funeral Director could be handling multiple tasks that each require specific expertise and attention, while caring for grieving families and being exposed to death and tragedy.

Feeling compassion fatigue or burnout is normal for many Funeral Directors. During the Covid19 pandemic, the stress on Funeral Directors increased as they navigate uncharted territory and additional protocols. To help with this, below is some information to identify symptoms of stress, steps to manage stress and resources for professional support.

Recognising workplace stresses

It is okay to acknowledge that your line of work is difficult and that at times it may affect your mental health and stress levels. Having a coping strategy is essential to maintaining your mental health. The first step is recognising the signs of stress or burnout. These signs may include:

  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Loss of motivation / reduced efficacy at work
  • Difficulty communicating thoughts
  • Limited attention span / difficulty remembering instructions
  • Unable to engage in work / feeling mentally detached from your work
  • Uncharacteristically argumentative / easily frustrated
  • Unable to switch off or relax when off duty
  • Low energy / exhaustion 
  • Headaches / nausea / muscle pain
  • Tunnel vision/muffled hearing
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • Changes in appetite or sleep
  • Isolating from others, including spouses, friends, and family 

Signs of stress and burnout vary from person to person, and you don't have to experience all the common signs.

Managing your stress

Acknowledging the emotional toll that comes with your work and utilising strategies to manage your stress is a sign of strength and resilience. The important thing is to find what works for you. You could try some of the following ways to help manage stress.

  • Rotate from high stress to lower stress tasks where possible
  • Ensure you drink plenty of water and eat healthy snacks
  • Remember to take breaks and step away from your work
  • Where possible delegate tasks to help reduce your workload
  • Participate in regular exercise
  • Talk with colleagues, family and friends about your struggles
  • Reach out to a professional like a therapist for support
  • Remember to make time for yourself and do things you enjoy
  • Try some meditation to help clear the mind and refocus

Seeking help

There are a number of organisations that can support you through any mental health struggles. Below are a list of resources across Australia:

Lifeline Australia

Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention. Call 13 11 14.

Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health.


MindSpot is a free telephone and online service for people with anxiety, stress, low mood or depression. It provides online assessment and treatment for anxiety and depression. Call 1800 61 44 34.

SANE Australia

SANE Australia provides support to anyone in Australia affected by complex mental health issues, as well as their friends, family members and health professionals. Call 1800 18 7263.

MensLine Australia

MensLine Australia is a professional telephone and online counselling service offering support to Australian men. Call 1300 78 99 78, chat online or organise a video chat.



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