compassion fatigue

I wrote a little something on compassion fatigue because we’re months into COVID-19 and we need to take care of ourselves.

Tired? Trouble falling asleep? Feelings of dread? Snapping at the ones you love? (Whoops, guilty).

Compassion fatigue is becoming more evident as we navigate our way through this COVID-19 lifestyle (temporary, but a lifestyle nonetheless). This fatigue is a level of exhaustion and stress resulting from helping or wanting to help people who experience trauma or who are suffering. It’s a term used mostly in a healthcare setting and now applies to anyone managing this crisis – workers battling on the front-line, those inundated with negative media stories, kids receiving calls from worried parents, or those who normally derive happiness out of connecting with one another in person.

Every day this week, I encourage you to write “time for self-compassion” at the top of your To-Do List. Show yourself the same positive, loving attitude and kindness you would give it to your friend or your colleague. WARNING: if you’re practicing self-compassion for the first time, it feels strange and intrusive and you may be overwhelmed by the thought of “I’m wasting my time…” But please remember, the better care we give to ourselves, the better care we can give to others.

The way we practice and perceive self-compassion is different for everyone. I’m sharing my five tips:

1.     Don’t look at the clock and calculate how few hours you’ll have in bed. Go to bed thinking, “I will get a restful sleep.” (You’ll be surprised at how rested you feel the following morning)

2.     Write down a few things you’re grateful for on a sticky note and stick it somewhere visible (I suggest to the door of your fridge or cupboards – the most visited places while many of us live in isolation).

3.     Start each day by listening to either of these songs (and I urge you to get involved in these songs. Shamelessly pick up that spatula and use it as a microphone): Break my Stride and Eye of the Tiger

4.     Meditate. I’m not saying transcendental meditate, have an epiphany and go live in a yurt, I’m saying take 10 deep breaths or 1-2 minutes to think about absolutely nothing.

5.     Change your language. Instead of saying, “Where do I even begin?” write down attainable goals you can accomplish. Instead of saying, “This is going to be a long day” say, “I have enough time to complete all my tasks.” And please, stop saying, “I could write a book about this.” Have you tried writing a book? Most writers can’t even write a book. IT’S REALLY HARD and the reality is, you probably can’t write a book about it.

How do you practice self-compassion?

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