2.17.2012

Compassion Fatigue

Do you know about these flowers? It's a kalanchoe plant and, when it's in full bloom, its beauty is unparalleled. Kalanchoes are hearty succulents that are incredibly easy to grow. Break one off and put it in soil. That's it. Fully-flowered kalanchoes make me very happy. And their blooms last for a very long time, whereby prolonging the joy that accompanies them for me!




Every once in awhile, I have to bring them in because they prefer warmer temps and cannot withstand a freeze, even a light one. Look at what happens when I forget:




They turn all brown, pitiful and limp. And there's n.o.t.h.i.n.g. joyful or happy about that, which brings me to today's post on 
compassion fatigue. Did you know that caring too much can actually hurt you? I went to a fantastic, albeit somewhat somber, breakout session at a recent conference on that very topic and learned that caregivers who don't take proper self-care are at risk for compassion fatigue. And guess what? 
As Dr. Merriman described the symptoms, I realized that I'd fallen prey to compassion fatigue several times without even knowing it. I thought it might be burnout, I assumed I was just exhausted. But I now know it was probably compassion fatigue. 


Now that I'm aware, I'm on a mission to take better care of myself so I don't shrivel up, weathered from the weight of what I'm giving away, like that little kalanchoe sprig. Sustainable stuff like setting boundaries 
(she said to keep reminding ourselves that 
NO. is a complete sentence!
and knowing when I'm at capacity. Unlike being queen of the kalanchoe, those two goals aren't going to be easy breezy. But if, like the kalanchoe, I want to be bountiful and beautiful and bring joy to others, I've got to be properly nourished and nurtured. That leads me to today's inquiry: How do you prevent compassion fatigue? And who (or what?) brings you in from the cold when you're limp and weakened from compassion fatigue?

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm...interesting post. I try and prevent any kind of burn out by spending time alone. It's easy for me to do that cause I'm introverted anyway. If it gets noticeable to others, a couple of friends and my husband are usually all over me:)
    Stay healthy!

    Barbara
    Grade ONEderful

    ReplyDelete

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