Avoiding Compassion Burnout: Key Concepts for Recharging Yourself Daily

Daily, you deal with death and the emotions of others. As a funeral director, there may come a time when you feel yourself slipping from that caring state. Many funeral directors deal with burning out from the constant exposure, but losing your compassion does not have to happen.

With compassion burnout, you face feelings of frustration and powerlessness; a diminished morale. These feelings can stem from different situations and usually develop over time. You don’t have to succumb; here are some key concepts that you can use daily to recharge yourself and prevent compassion burnout.

Knowledge is Power

Though a cliché, the statement rings true. With knowledge of the signs and symptoms of compassion burnout, you can cut it off before it becomes too much to handle. There are stages and it does not usually happen suddenly. These stages are:

  • Enthusiasm

  • Stagnation

  • Frustration

  • Apathy

Look for these signs:

  • Exhaustion – physical, emotional, mental

  • Isolation

  • Feelings of failure

Understanding what to look for can help you combat compassion burnout daily. Being more aware of yourself and your emotions gives you power over maintaining your healthy attitude and outlook, even if you're struggling as a director on call.

Balance Your Needs with Helping Others

Assisting families through their worst is something that not many can handle. You have to give a lot of yourself. Without practicing self-care, you will inevitably fail. Create a balance between helping others and caring for yourself. Every day you have needs and those needs should be met, in addition to nurturing yourself with things you find joy in. Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Make a mini schedule where you block out time daily to do something physical, another block of time where you relax and do something you enjoy, and another block of time to assess your emotional well-being. Most important for a director on call, is rest!

Make Connections

Humans thrive on interaction. Connecting with others helps to maintain positive attitudes. Talk with others at the funeral home; you may be able to help each other because you’re going through the same things. A therapist can help you work through your emotions. Family and friends can help you see the good in life. Pets offer companionship and affection. However you can, connect with others for support.

Compassion burnout doesn’t overtake every funeral director. You can work each day to recharge yourself.