Compassion Fatigue is physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion from witnessing suffering in others. Taking care of others is one source, but also the constant bombardment of news. It develops slowly over time. As a result our resilience takes a hit. Our compassion cup is empty. We feel burned out. How can we fill our cup back up? Here's ten tips offered in A Guide to Understanding and Coping with Compassion Fatigue:
- Focus on the four core components of resilience: adequate sleep, good nutrition, regular physical activity and active relaxation.
- Communicate with friends and family.
- Wash up after your work shift as a symbolic “washing away.”
- Create individual ceremonies or rituals that allow you to focus your thoughts on letting go of stress or honoring a memory of something positive.
- Celebrate successes and mourn sorrows with your co-workers.
- Allow yourself some time to be alone so you can think.
- Practice your spiritual beliefs or reach out to a faith leader for support.
- Learn about your colleagues at work, so you can establish connections.
- Take time away from work to experience other things.
- Find things to look forward to.
Don't pressure yourself to do all these things. Pick a couple that feel authentic for you. I think one of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was to focus on the moment. The NOW. Just breathe for a minute. I invite you to take three minutes right now to enjoy this Mindful Breathing guided meditation.
Ann Catlin, OTR, LMT is a recognized expert in the field of skilled touch in eldercare and hospice. She guides professionals in discovering Compassionate Touch in person centered dementia care. She is a team member of AGE-u-cate Training Institute.