07 Sep Compassion Fatigue is real …! Here are 6 Tips to Manage it.
By Andrea Stapleton
The feeling of ‘meh’. It sneaks up on you. We’ve all been riding the rollercoaster of lockdown for the past 10 weeks. The highs and the lows have somehow given way to a long, flat, boring track. And, if you’re anything like me, you didn’t even see the ‘meh’ coming. Every day has now become Groundhog Day.
This is hard.
Not only because it’s draining and repetitive but because, I dare say, that most of you are also caring for people who are struggling with things that you are also struggling with! Always being the strong one, the wise one, the got-your-act-together one can have serious side effects. Burnout and compassion fatigue are real.
I’m the practice manager for Nala Hub. I’m also a psychology student. After listening to some of our team talk about these difficulties, I decided to do some research. Of course, this led to me falling down the internet rabbit hole of information on burnout and compassion fatigue. But it also led me to think it would be helpful to share what I have learned.
We all know the signs of burnout and compassion fatigue, but do we really think about them in relation to ourselves. Here’s a reminder of what to look for:
- Physical and emotional exhaustion
- A feeling of dread towards another day
- Low Mood
We also all know the remedies for these ailments. They are shouted at us from every self-help page in Instagram. But again, do we apply them to ourselves or only suggest them to others? It’s time for some self-care. We can’t continue to care for others if we don’t care for ourselves first.
Here is a list of 6 things that can help with feelings of burnout and compassion fatigue, complete with clickable links so that you can take action!
The benefits of mindfulness and meditation on wellbeing are well documented. Even a 2- minute meditation in the morning can change your day. It’s not just about the benefits of meditation, it’s about the practice of making time for yourself.
To me, nothing feels more meditation-official than the voice of Deepak Chopra. Here is a link to one of my favourite meditations. It’s only 6 minutes long, so even the novice meditator can manage it.
Journaling and Self Reflection
Journaling, as a tool of self-reflection, has been linked to reduced stress, improved immune function, improved memory function, boosted mood and the strengthening of emotional function. Make some time, even if it’s only once a week to write down whatever you are feeling.
Try and make journaling a pleasure by using a particular notebook or pen than bring you joy. My pen is covered in sparkles. It’s the little things …
When we nourish our bodies, benefits flow to every other part of our lives. Taking the time to prepare delicious food is good for the body and good for the soul.
Here is one of my favourite new recipes. It’s simple, yummy and so good for you.
Baked Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic
I serve this with rice and steamed broccolini. If you want to make it extra healthy swap chicken thigh for lean chicken breast. (You could totally swap the chicken for eggplant, capsicum, or mushrooms to make this a vegan meal)
We all know the benefits that movement and exercise can have on mental health. The sedentary nature of lockdown can make this challenging. But moving our bodies doesn’t have to be strenuous. It can be a simple stroll out in the fresh air, or a gentle yoga or Pilates class.
One of my favourite yoga channels on YouTube is Yoga with Kassandra. She has lots of short Yin Yoga videos which are designed to be relaxing and to help you stretch. The link below is for a 20minute morning Yin Yoga session. I find it a wonderful way to start the day.
Annnnd even if we do engage in strenuous exercise there’s no rule that says we can’t have fun! I do workouts 4-5 times a week from YouTube channel Emkfit. She creates dance HIIT style workouts that will make you flail around your living room feeling wonderfully silly! One of my favourites is below:
In the Covid climate we are currently living in, a good restorative sleep could arguably be the most important thing on this list. Making sure we switch off at night and get a solid 8 hours of shut eye is the greatest thing we can do for ourselves.
I’m a notorious insomniac, but I have finally found a remedy that works for me. Sleep stories. I use the Calm app and below is a link to one of their sleep stories told by one of my favourite voices from the app, Erik Braa.