Five Ways for Caregivers to Battle Compassion Fatigue

Posted on: 6 July 2016

If you spend large amounts of your time being the main caregiver for someone, then you likely know the toll caregiving can take. Compassion fatigue is a term used to describe the burnout that many caregivers experience and is brought on by the responsibilities and emotional stress that caring for a terminally ill or incapacitated individual can bring. Learn to identify the signs of compassion fatigue before it impacts your job, your clients, or your health.

Know the signs that you are becoming burned out, including

  • Impatience
  • Irritability
  • Lack of energy
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of interest in leisure activities
  • Less life satisfaction
  • Illness
  • Feelings of hopelessness

There are ways to combat these feelings and restore your love of caregiving. These ideas are recommendations from those working in social work, nursing, and other healthcare areas. Make sure that you put the same effort into staying well that you give your clients in your role as a caregiver.

Five ways to battle compassion fatigue among caregivers and hospice workers are:

  1. Making an effort to re-charge. Hectic schedules and busy lives can interfere with taking the time to do the things you love. Make sure that you make the effort to re-charge your batteries and engage in activities that you enjoy.
  2. Taking time to take care of your well-being. If your own health declines, everyone suffers. Make sure that you are eating well, sleeping soundly, and getting some exercise. This will help you avoid illness and fatigue, which could compromise your work.
  3. Choosing your battles. Adopt an attitude of acceptance, and decline to fight every battle that comes your way. Getting worked up or stressed out over situations and circumstances that you have no control over is not productive or healthy.
  4. Regaining control. Remember why you chose this field in the first place and revisit some of your accomplishments during your time. Gain a feeling of satisfaction and reward yourself for a job well done. This will help you feel more in control of your work situation.
  5. Reaching out for assistance. Don't try to do everything on your own; ask for some help. If you acquiesce to every demand or favor, you may find yourself becoming resentful and bitter. Set limits and assert boundaries in order to stay well.

Compassion fatigue can lead to burn out, which may end a career in caregiving for many. Learn to identify the symptoms and signs of compassion fatigue, and do what you can to preserve your own health and protect your well being. Use these tips to restore your compassion and empathy when working in this challenging but rewarding field.

To look at various jobs in caregiving fields, visit sites like