Compassion fatigue is an immediate warning sign that you need to take better care of yourself, and is experienced as a result of over-exposure with and/or over-identification with the suffering of another. We long to fix the situation. When we can’t change the reality, we become frustrated, angry, and in despair. Compassion fatigue can result in physical, chronic ailments such as gastrointestinal problems, recurrent colds, headaches, weakened immune system and insomnia.
Preventing or Overcoming Compassion Fatigue
The first step to preventing or overcoming compassion fatigue is to recognize and acknowledge that you are a candidate for compassion fatigue.
- Be kind to yourself
- Develop a healthy support system: people who contribute to your self-esteem and validate your feelings. Avoid negative individuals.
- Stay connected to the outside world with at least a phone call every day or outside activity every day
- Ask yourself, “What difference does it make?” Reserve your energy for worthy causes and activities
- Ask for help. People want to help. Let them know how they can help. Make a short list of specific tasks you need help with and share this list with family and friends