Some of us are carers, counsellors, nurses, social workers readers and some of us just like to help others. But there is a tendency to forget to look after ourselves, compassion fatigue can strike the most caring and dedicated helpers. These changes can affect both our personal and professional lives with symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, intrusive imagery, loss of hope, exhaustion and irritability. Just what those we are helping don't need. Once we are suffer from compassion fatigue, we work more and achieve less, our health and our relationships suffer, stress and depression follow.
When we are a helper (in anyway) we need to be self aware, we need to keep a check on our physical and mental health. We must take note of the beginnings of fatigue and stress and always bear in mind self care is not selfish. If we feel compassion fatigue we must ask for help and also remember that is not weak but a natural reaction too.
Some simple hints are -
Assess just how much you have to every day - Make a list of all the demands on your time and energy be as detailed as you can and list even the little things. What can you change, what is changeable, what is making life so busy? Say no to those 'can you just...' requests
How much time is just spent on yourself? - Are you currently able to get away for periods of time? Do you have access to respite care? Put it in your diary to have at least one hour per day to do something for yourself, even if it is an undisturbed bath. Ensure you have time alone and make sure others are aware of their roles in providing help or care. Find things that will help you to feel good and remember to look after yourself- food exercise and some fun.
Get help and delegate - Are you sharing the load with others? e. Are there things that you are willing to let go and let others do their own way? Unless you ask everyone will assume you are ok. Think what would happen if you had to go away for a week who would step in and what would happen?!
Get support - you are not alone so many people suffer from compassion fatigue, find other helpers and support each other, find a counsellor or a friend willing to listen.
Love and light