Alayna Mastrippolito, Author, Certified Peer Supporter
Are you always taking care of others? Perhaps you work as a nurse or a counselor, or maybe you’re the main source of income for your household, the caretaker of a sick relative, or you just happen to be the person that those in your life come to for help. You may experience compassion fatigue from time to time.
Compassion fatigue is the emotional and physical burden created by caring for others in distress. It’s the cost of losing yourself in the process of caring for others. Compassion fatigue symptoms may include anxiety, depression, feeling overwhelmed, irritation, frustration, worthlessness, isolation, and physical ailments.
It’s possible to take care of others without experiencing compassion fatigue, and it all starts with how you take care of yourself. The key is to allow yourself to make YOU a priority. Those who suffer from compassion fatigue often experience feelings of shame and selfishness around prioritizing themselves over others, but it’s necessary to give yourself that time in order to be able to take care of others. A way to ensure that you’ll take care of yourself is to create your own self-care plan. This allows you to uphold your own physical and mental well-being consistently, and it doesn’t have to take up much of your schedule.
Another important component of limiting compassion fatigue is having good boundaries. Boundaries allow you to love yourself and others at the same time. If you feel overwhelmed or taken advantage of, it’s hard to maintain your compassion to begin with. Setting boundaries within caretaking doesn’t mean you’re leaving others in the dust; this can look like asking for assistance or offering to help at a different time. By setting boundaries, you’re able to take care of your own needs while also taking care of the needs of others. Helping others should not be hurtful to you.
Try connecting back to the reason you began helping people in the first place when you feeling a bout of compassion fatigue. Your altruism likely gives you a sense of meaning which is important to your life purpose. Don’t overextend yourself to the point of forgetting the reasons why you care or getting so burnt out that you can’t help anymore.
You deserve to be taken care of too.
Alayna Mastrippolito, Author, Certified Peer Supporter
We’ve all had the experience of feeling so overwhelmed and drained, yet having too many items on the to-do list to be able to rest. You’re backed up on work, the house is a mess, you haven’t had much time with your loved ones, and *sigh*... it’s only Tuesday??
According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, burnout is defined as “physical, emotional or mental exhaustion, accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance and negative attitudes towards oneself and others”. It’s the result of doing too much of what drains you, without enough rejuvenation. Though there are times in life when it’s necessary and even beneficial to work hard, spending each day squeezing out every ounce of energy you have until you’re completely depleted is not a very sustainable or pleasant lifestyle.
Here are three steps to help you avoid burnout:
1) Know what your priorities and values are. Write these down and keep them someplace you’ll see often. Be clear on what matters to you so that you know what you want to work towards. This allows you to have a purpose behind your daily actions, rather than simply achieving for the sole purpose of being productive. Helpful questions to ask yourself might include: What uplifts and fulfills you? What promotes your personal growth? What is your reason for getting up each day?
2) Spend time on things that matter to you. Take a second look at your schedule. Is there anything on it that doesn’t align with your priorities and values? Is it possible to remove anything from your schedule that’ll make this week feel less draining? Is there anything you can delegate? When you’re spending more time on activities that you’re passionate about, you’ll feel more energized and less worn out.
3) Take time to recharge. In order to be productive, it’s essential to take time to restore your energy each day by taking care of your mind, body, and spirit in ways that make sense to you. A few ideas for rejuvenating activities include walking in nature, yoga, meditation, reading, creating art, journaling, calling a loved one, and practicing gratitude and self-love. It’s also important to be able to recognize your personal signs of feeling overwhelmed. This is the tipping point of your productivity when it’s actually more productive to rest!
You’re allowed to create the life you want. Be kind to yourself in the process.
“I am a human being, not a human doing.” ― Kurt Vonnegut
How to Breakout from Job-Related Burnout
by Alexandria Fields, MSW, LISW-S, DBTC
Have you reached your limit on work/life stress? Do you lack motivation and energy to get through your to-do list? Feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day? You’re not alone. Many of us have had to manage massive upheaval in our work lives in the past year.
However, if the physical and emotional barrier of going to work is starting to feel overwhelming, you may be suffering from job-related burnout. Unsurprisingly, therapists and other mental health providers are seeing an increased incidence of burnout right now, including among our own ranks.
Job-related burnout can have a serious toll on your physical and emotional health, but there is hope. In most cases, burnout is relatively easy to treat.
How to Identify Burnout
Burnout is most often caused by ongoing stress from being overscheduled or overworked. It can also result from a disconnect between workload and compensation—that is, when the financial reward doesn’t make up for the hours or effort you’re putting in.
The signs of burnout include:
Alyx Beresford is a Licensed Independent Social Worker with Supervisory designation. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and her Master’s degree from the University of Kentucky. Alyx is the director of the DBT® Center at Compass Point and is a facilitator of DBT® skills training classes. She is a blogger and entrepreneur who is passionate about helping others and their mental health. You can read more of her work on her blog, Your Mental Restoration.
- You live in Ohio
- You have a smart phone, tablet or computer with internet connection
- The pandemic has affected your day-to-day life
-Changes have caused you stress, anxiety, etc.
This group will cover different mental health topics including tips, tricks and resources we can use to build awareness, motivation and coping skills.
Below we are sharing a list of what some of our providers here at Compass Point are doing while working from home proving tele-therapy, a list of what our clinicians have recommended to their clients as well as a general list inspired by Marsha Linehan, professor of psychology at the University of Washington, and the creator of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), of activities that can be accomplished in limited time, within ones own home. Many of the items are also friendly for families with young children.
A lot of our clients familiar with DBT will know that our groups use lists like this to help participants identify activities they can use to boost their mood and cope with challenges. While many of us need this in the best of times, most of us need to find what works and how to find balance again in the wake of COVID-19.
What we're doing at Compass Point
Compass Point Clinicians share their tips
Great stress tip is to play video games! It gives an escape, an environment you can control (unlike all the uncertainty in the real world), and it gives clearly defined goals where you can make tangible progress.
Also re-watching old shows or movies where you already know what happens and you know it makes you feel good/happy. Revisiting old characters and worlds where you know exactly what to expect and what will happen can be incredibly soothing when everything here is so up in the air.
- Music (keeping a playlist for self-soothe or uplifting mood). - Prayer and mindfulness activities (being in the present moment even for short periods of time).
- Exercise (even a 15 minute easy walk for those who don't normally like to do this).
-Video chatting with friends and family. Nature sounds (top three most soothing sounds to the brain are water, wind, and bird song)
- Apps for stress relief (Calm, Ten Percent Happier)
- Listening to uplifting stories or podcasts
-Watching comedies or stand-up comedians
- Picking up a new hobby you've always wanted to do but didn't have time( Bob Ross videos)
- Anything hands-on like pottery, painting, gardening, etc.
- Stop listening to more than one news broadcast (any medium) per day
- Structure your day. clean a room, go outside, do a hobby, contact a friend/family member per day. Repeat.
-Create a "job jar". Fill with various chores (the ones we put off because of no time as well as regular) and draw out one per day or half day and complete.
-Exercise out doors, indoors with video downloads.
-Verbalize frustrations with others who can listen without judging Exercise!
-Cardio and weight resistance
- Be active in helping others
-Write down at least 3 gratitudes
Laughter - find humor somewhere - ex: watch funny movie/ play
- If news is stressful DONT WATCH IT
- Give yourself permission to feel anxious/frustrated/angry/afraid for one full hour. Then cry. Then go DO something productive!
-Go outside and notice nature as when you were a child
- Play, skip, listen to upbeat music
-Use your mind - puzzles/games/learn new skills like playing chess or cards
-Have or create hobbies
- Love one another
- Smile even when you don’t feel like it
Looking for more ideas?
- Cook your favorite meal
- Go out and have a cup of coffee with a friend
- Work out
- Listen to your favorite music (and maybe dance)
- Watch a movie at home or a TV show
- Pick up a new hobby (yoga, Pilates, etc)
- Take a hot bubble bath
- Visit a museum or a gallery
- Play an instrument, or start learning to play one
- Simply go for a walk outside
- Play a game with your friends (Monopoly, Clue)
- Call a friend or a family member and chat
- Chat online with your friends
- Go shopping and browse around
- Start writing a book
- Listen to music
- Read a magazine or the newspaper
- Get a massage or go to a beauty salon
- Watch a sports event (baseball, basketball)
- Buy some plants or do some gardening
- Go to the movies or watch a play
- Read your favorite book genre
- Play video games
- Play with your pet or give it a bath
- Go on a date with your loved one
- Have a picnic or go for a hike
- Take a nap or sleep
- Listen to a podcast you enjoy or the radio
- Start a diary
- Do karaoke
- Eat snacks or something you enjoy
- Go outside and enjoy the sunshine
- Watch YouTube or visit a Website you like
- Read comic books
- Go for a drive or take the public transportation
- Create new art that you enjoy
- Go out and have your favorite lunch
- Draw a painting, or do some coloring
- Do some work or finish up some chores
- Buy a gift for a loved one or a friend
- Go swimming in the local pool
- Dress nice and go out
- Watch stand-up comedy
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