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Coping With Compassion Fatigue

Coping With Compassion Fatigue


All caregivers need to take care of themselves in addition to the one they are caring for. This is much easier said than done. If the caregiver becomes overwhelmed and displays compulsive behaviors, receives complaints from others, becomes moody or isolated, has bottled up emotions, is apathetic, has difficulty concentrating and/or experiences a host of other negative feelings, they may be experiencing compassion fatigue.  This is a normal outcome caused by the stresses of caregiving. If these symptoms arise it is time for the caregiver to get under control and confront these difficult emotions before a personal crisis ensues.






 

Depending on where you are on the caregiving ladder, you may need to get creative to manage self care.


Here are some ideas:

If your loved one is in the hospital, use the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farthest away from the front door. Take a break from sitting and walk the halls.

Make a “gym or exercise date” with yourself, put it on your calendar and set an alarm.

Make sure you eat breakfast and don’t skip meals.

Make healthy food choices. Eliminate sugary sodas. Keep healthy snacks with you.

Don’t feel guilty to turn down extra projects or extra volunteering at this time.

At least once a week, plan some quality personal time and put on your calendar.

Don’t compare yourself to your siblings, everyone cares in their own way.

Drink plenty of water.

Develop support system of people who can not only help but listen.

Organize your life to become proactive instead of reactive.




Awareness of the situation is crucial. Identify the areas that are causing you the most concern.


Are you stressed with the enormous amount of time you are putting into caregiving?

Do you have tremendous guilt because you live far away?

Are you stressed at your place of business?

Is your family life suffering?

Are you drinking more than normal?

Are you fitting in gym or fitness time?

Are you not able to get household chores accomplished?

Are you exhausted all the time?

Have you experienced a lack of concentration?


The first step in coping with compassion fatigue is to understand what your role is, what you can and cannot do, and to be kind to yourself. You need to identify and set personal boundaries. Education and exchanging information with others going through similar experiences is helpful and a great place to start.

Step two is self care. Time off, exercise, physical activity, healthy eating, saying “no”, and finding balance in your life will lessen your stress immediately.




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