Emotional Help for Caregivers & Supporters

FROM:   OperationSAFE

9 Steps to Avoid Compassion Fatigue Without Failing to Care

The Best Way to Care for Others is to Care for Yourself!

In the field we know that lives are depending on us so it is vital that we take care of ourselves so that we can care for them,

  • Eat, Sleep and Relax as you normally would,
  • Make sure to Exercise Physically to help relieve stress,
  • Avoid the use of Chemicals to either enhance performance or induce rest.

Share the Care!

If there is only a one-way flow of stress coming in, it rapidly becomes too much to bear.  One way to reduce the strain is to share it in part with others,

  • Talk about the things that are heavy on your heart with friends and supporters,
  • Journal, write a blog, send an e-mail to a friend, tweet,
  • Pray, meditate, or have a small group discussion with others who care.

Look for Signs of Hope!

Unfortunately, bad news is news.  Good news doesn’t often make the front page unless it is dramatic.  However, there are less dramatic stories of hope that surround us every day.  Be on the look-out for the signs of life returning to normal.

  • Make a point of writing or sharing one good thing that happened each day,
  • Look for lessons that can be learned even in the midst of the worst situations,
  • Celebrate even the smallest victories and personal accomplishments.

I believe that one great contributor to compassion fatigue in the public is that the media overexposes the need and underexposes the great response and difference that is made in people’s lives.  This is the nature of the media of course and it is much easier to report the thousands dead than to find each story of individual lives that recover.  Another contributor to compassion fatigue is the vast scale of donations that are given to charities and the lack of communication of the results.  Donors are given a full disclosure of the pain and suffering but are deprived of the hope and results needed to relieve the trauma they have been exposed to.

My recommendation for those who seek to be compassionate without fail is to become personally involved with a smaller charity – volunteer for hands-on work, give time to be on their board, lend them some of your passion and creativity and share in the the reward of seeing lives changed for good.

  1. JulMaree
    February 27, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    My mum has dementia and lives with us. This is great and useful information. I tend to put myself at the end or off my to-do list. Thank you for tips and reminder of the importance to take care of myself.

  2. March 16, 2010 at 2:36 am

    Thank you so much for the note. Your mum is blessed to have you there. My mother had alzheimers. It is so important to take time to yourself. Find someone to stay with your mum and plan things for YOU to do outside of your home regularly, at least weekly is best. As one who cares, remember that it is so true…you cannot truly be there for someone unless you are there for yourself. My best to you and your family.

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