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Compassion Fatigue
Sunday, April 2, 2023 by Joan Munro, CPLC

In these days of chronic medical conditions and life changing diseases such as Cancer and Covid -19, more adults and families are impacted by “Compassion Fatigue” as they care for people professionally or personally, in multiple settings (home or medical facilities). The American Psychological Association identified “Compassion Fatigue” as secondary trauma, with multiple symptoms and stages.  https://www.apa.org/topics/covid-19/compassion-fatigue

If you have ever been a caregiver, you may have experienced this without even knowing it. There’s no reason to feel guilty or embarrassed, as being a caregiver is stressful and exhausting. Personally, I’ve been in this role multiple times and it’s been very challenging.  As a Certified Professional Life Coach, adults questioned their struggles with caregiving and dealing with “Compassion Fatigue”.   Here are four validated ways to addresses this Compassion Fatigue:

1.Recognize the signs of feeling trapped or on edge, tiredness, crankiness or jumpiness.  Consider taking a self assessment or talking to a professional for support. Identifying this does not make you weak or lacking, but you are vulnerable to the pressures each day.

  1. Establish a routine of self-care. Sleep, rest and relaxation are key parts of self-care that are essential.  A five minute self check throughout the day to breathe intentionally, pray,  meditate, and/or visualize positives, so your mind can release tension and mental stressors/worries.
  1. Practice Self-Compassion.  Allow yourself to feel the emotions that arise or are suppressed.  Express them through journaling, conversation, reflection times, or exercise. When emotinons are identified and labeled, they can don’t control you. Take time for yourself to see and celebrate the beauty of nature, animals, and life itself.

       4. Create Community. Stay connected to friends and family using texts,  emails, phone calls, Zoom meetings, cards, as well as seeking out support groups or peer support. Accept help that’s offered from others, or ask for what you need so  you can receive compassion and support.

* It takes effort to care for someone else but it is also just as important to take care of yourself! Reach out for more ideas or support in you life journey at www.forwardstepsinlife.com

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