On National Mental Health Day…Don’t forget the Mental Health Professionals. Whether you are a mental health professional, or you know and love one, please remember – SELF CARE!
Compassion fatigue can be a serious occupational hazard for those in any kind of helping profession. Compassion fatigue is characterized by physical and emotional exhaustion and a profound decrease in the ability to empathize. It is a form of secondary traumatic stress, as the stress occurs as a result of helping or wanting to help those who are in need.
- Chronic exhaustion (emotional, physical, or both)
- Reduced feelings of sympathy or empathy
- Dreading working for or taking care of another and feeling guilty as a result
- Feelings of irritability, anger, or anxiety
- Trouble sleeping
- Weight loss
- Impaired decision-making
- Problems in personal relationships
- Poor work-life balance
Practicing self-care can be a critical method of staying emotionally and physically healthy. Those who practice good self-care are significantly less vulnerable to stress and compassion fatigue than those who fail to do so.
A good self-care regimen will look different for each person, but it should generally include:
- Balanced, nutritious diet
- Regular exercise
- Routine schedule of restful sleep
- Balance between work and leisure
- Honoring emotional needs
Make time for yourself and spend time in activities you enjoy. Spend time with people that nourish and restore you. Schedule this time and make it mandatory, if you are not your best self you can’t help others, you will just be going through the motions. Follow the advice that you give your clients and you will be better for you and your clients.