Compassion fatigue is when someone in a helping role begins to experience burnout from the “burdens” of being the helper or hearing about traumatic events. During the current Covid-19 pandemic, trauma and stress has been taking its toll. In order to help others, it is critically important that we take care of ourselves first. If we don’t, then we may find ourselves feeling burdened, find it difficult to empathise with people, and feel hopeless and exhausted.
1. Make self care a priority
You can’t pour from an empty cup. You don’t keep driving with the petrol light on. You charge your phone every night. Self care is not selfish. it is critical.
2. Remember that you are not a superhero
You want to help and make a difference. But do you have realistic expectations? Remind yourself that there are things you can’t control. Being helpful doesnt always mean “fixing” something. Sometimes, just listen. the suffering in the world is
not only yours to carry.
3. It’s okay to ask for help
Vulnerability is not a weakness. It is human.
People who help others tend to avoid asking for help. You may feel like you need to put on a strong face for others. You need to care for yourself or you won’t be able to care for others
4. Set firm boundaries
Be mindful of your limits and listen to them. You are allowed to say “no”. If you say “yes”, be clear about what you can offer and when you can offer it. Protect your peace you have needs too.
5. Get to know your limits and triggers
Stress can come all at once and be overwhelming. More often so, smaller stressors add up over time and sneak up on you.
Pay attention to what it feels like when you are overwhelmed. Pay attention to these clues since they are your body’s way of telling you that you need to step back.