If you’re not able to detect compassion fatigue on time, it can cause secondhand trauma or turn into burnout syndrome.
Compassion is a quality that is beneficial to our personal relationships. In addition to putting ourselves in another person’s shoes, it lets us perceive and understand their emotions. However, too much compassion can lead us to suffer from a condition that psychologist Charles Figley defines as compassion fatigue.
Compassion fatigue can be dangerous and disabling if we don’t manage it properly. If you’re not able to detect compassion fatigue on time, it can cause secondhand trauma or turn into burnout syndrome.
What Are Signs Of Compassion Fatigue?
It happens when someone is too empathetic and cares too much about other people’s emotional pain.
Nevertheless, there’s a difference between understanding another person’s pain and feeling it. The latter happens to people who are too empathetic. It’s almost as if other people’s pain becomes their own. As a consequence, too much exposure to these people can cause compassion fatigue.
Some of the symptoms of compassion fatigue are emotional exhaustion and feeling lonely, confused, and urged to suppress or contain emotions.
Fortunately, as we’ve pointed out, there are certain tools that let us treat this condition and prevent it. Being aware of them is useful for several reasons. First, it helps us avoid being trapped by other people’s emotions. Second, it lets us keep a psychological distance to protect our well-being and regulate our mood.
The Tools You’ll Need To Fight Compassion Fatigue
Next, we’ll take a look at some of the tools we can use to fight compassion fatigue. These are especially useful if we have a job that requires being in contact with people who need help. Or it can also help if we’re highly empathetic and that causes intrusive thoughts, loss of energy, increased anxiety, somatization of negative emotions, or apathy.
Interacting with friends: It helps relieve emotional burdens. Exchanging opinions with friends can help us face our issues.
Family support: Talking with our family is a way to vent and retreat from certain work-related or personal problems.
Leisure activities: Sports or hobbies, such as gardening, give us time for ourselves.
Most importantly, take time for yourself: you deserve the same amount of care and love you so freely hand out to others.
Other tools are knowing how to disconnect and being informed and trained to be able to manage the fatigue that comes from being too empathetic. Now, it’s important to mention that we shouldn’t stop being compassionate. Rather, these tools should serve as strategies to safeguard our well-being.
Compassion fatigue can make us feel guilty. In particular, we’re so mentally tired that we think we’ve lost our ability to empathize. However, this is just the result of being empathetic without knowing how to regulate and protect ourselves adequately.
We hope that the tools we’ve mentioned help you deal with the exhaustion of empathy and face other problems you may be experiencing. After all, each one is just a recommendation that we should put into practice more often. Consequently, you’ll begin to feel better.
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This was originally published by Mystical Raven.