Nomis Publications: COVID-19 Response and Updates

Changing Lives Through Laughter

Nancy Weil Bio

Nancy Weil's blog


Posted by Nancy Weil on November 4, 2015

  November – the time for feasts, football and family. Also the traditional start of the holiday season. This means several things for our business – a slow down on pre-need planning and an increase in the acute feelings of loss when someone dies. Ho-ho-huh? How do we remain in balance personally while guiding our businesses through this time period?

  First things first – this is about you. You cannot take care of others if you have not taken care of yourself. Repeat three times out loud and then write it down and post this where you can see it – I cannot take care of others if I have not taken care of myself. You must be in a good place before you can extend yourself compassionately to others. The holidays can be a stressful time for families. Parties, presents and parenthood can all lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed. Stop the insanity and simplify. Control your calendar, write things down and focus on the true meaning of the season – after Christmas sales? – NOT.

  Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the areas in your life for which you are grateful. Extend this practice to be a part of your daily routine. This is what I call ThanksLiving. When we are stressed we sometimes forget that there is so much right in our lives. At the end of each day take a moment to reflect on all that went well that day, consider all of your blessings and practice rampant gratitude.

  Set aside time to participate in the things that make you feel good. Exercise, eat right, surround yourself with friends and family, read a book, take a walk – whatever helps you feel in balance, do. We get so caught up in the busy-ness of our days that we forget to schedule time for those things that nurture our spirits. If you think you don’t have time to be well, imagine how much less time you have to be sick.

  Norman Cousins had a theory he put into practice when he was diagnosed with a fatal illness: If negative emotions could create illness, then positive emotions should improve health. Practice being happy – laugh, play and be positive. Santa is jolly and think of the job stress he faces this time of year – so many orders, so little time! By the way, Norman Cousins recovered and lived many healthy years.

  Embrace the time you have with your family. In our business, we all know that this is not something to be taken for granted. Being together is a blessing. If friends and family live out of town, Skype them and bring them into the celebration over the internet. Use the time together to videotape or write down family history and stories. I have made audio, videos and written interviews of my grandparents and parents. I know their favorite subject in school, how they met and what is important to them. These biographical interviews are priceless. Following my grandmother’s funeral, we returned from the cemetery and watched a video interview we made when she turned 95 years old. Since she died at 109 years old, a lot had changed since that video was made. How wonderful to hear her laugh again and listen to her tell stories of her life. There is no greater gift than having these oral histories recorded for my children and grandchildren. Make the time together to be about more than football and a good meal. It is a time for connection – whether that is done virtually over the internet, phone lines or in person.

  Now that your needs have been met, how can you bring this optimism to your business? First of all relax, I am sure your budget for the year planned for a financial lull during the holidays. If you didn’t make a plan, now is the time to assess your year-to-date financials and begin to start planning for 2016. People are unlikely to buy graves as Christmas presents and few Thanksgiving dinner conversations revolve around pre-need planning. So use this time to both look ahead and to connect with your families. Hold a holiday remembrance service. Mail out holiday cards letting them know that you are thinking of them during this difficult time. These are not budget breakers. It costs little to reach out and connect with your clients. Imagine the positive comments about your business your families will spread when you connect with them and recognize their feelings at this time of year. Our relationship does not end after the funeral or burial. We are in business to assist our clients long after the initial contact.

  Every loss is difficult, but the holidays bring with it a special type of emotional pain. They rely upon you to guide them through the service, the burial and how they can navigate the holidays without their loved one present. Create a letter with hints and tools to handle the holidays to give to the families you serve. There are brochures, like CareNotes, that already address this issue. I have a tri-fold I wrote called When the Holidays are Not so Happy. If you would like a pdf of it, just drop me an e-mail at

  No matter how you spend the next two months, know that your attitude and intent can make an impact on you, your family and the clients you serve. Happy ThanksLiving!


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