Compassion Fatigue

What is compassion fatigue?

Where can it show up?

  • Helping professions such as therapists, social workers, or counselors.
  • Crisis workers, i.e. EMTs, nurses, hospice workers, doctors, police officers.
  • Aid work, humanitarian work, and volunteer work.
  • Activism and social justice work.
  • Helping a partner or partners, family members, or friends through difficult times.
  • Watching the news.
  • Caring for an ill loved one.
  • Parents raising children.

What does it look like?

  • Exhaustion.
  • Irritability.
  • Lack of empathy or compassion, numbness or cynicism.
  • Resentment towards the person or people you are caring for.
  • PTSD symptoms such as physiological arousal, intrusive thoughts, or dissociation.
  • Bottled up emotions.
  • Self-medicating.
  • Dread of work or of a particular person.
  • Isolation.
  • Poor boundaries, or incredibly rigid boundaries, or a toxic cycle of both.
  • Denial of all of the above.

How to handle it

  • Food, movement, sleep.
  • Communicating what is going on to people around you.
  • Actual rest, such as sensory deprivation, meditation and mindfulness, and naps.
  • Professional help or support groups.
  • Reading inspirational material.
  • Creation and expression.
  • Connection, avoiding isolation.
  • Asking for the support and help you need from a partner.
  • Pet an animal.
  • Foster a separate self, with rituals for on/off modes.
  • Listen to episode 326 on Stoicism.
  • Zooming out to get perspective on interdependence.
  • Zooming in to see the individual who is benefitting from your care or your work.
  • Buddhist or other mindfulness practices that have been studied and shown to be effective.
  • Paid time off and helping organizations being able to turn inward and care for their own.

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We offer new ideas and advice for multiple forms of #love: everything from #conciousmonogamy to #ethical #Polyamory and radical #relationshipanarchy.