Dictionary.com describes compassion as a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering (2012). Bush describes compassion fatigue as a complex emotion that allows caregivers to hold and sustain themselves in emotional balance while holding patients’ despair in one hand and their hopefulness in the other (2009). Being able to identify the warning signs, know the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of you as a caregiver, and knowing different coping skills and ways to deal with the stressors of juggling life’s activities can help us as caregivers to keep ourselves in balance. Warning Signs
The symptoms of compassion fatigue are similar to those of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, only instead of the symptoms being based upon a trauma that you directly experienced, they are due to the trauma that your clients have experienced Five of the major concepts of Compassion Fatigue are as follows: 1. Having a feeling of being weak, tired and/or rundown as a result of my work as a helper. Sometimes, with juggling so much in our lives, we can get carried away with our responsibilities to others and forget to take care of our own needs. I’ve seen people juggle multiple jobs, school, family, and religion, and in doing so, and they were so busy taking care of everyone else’s needs that they never had time for their own needs or pleasure. They stopped reading for enjoyment, stopped spending time with friends, and didn’t sleep as well, which resulted in a constant feeling of being tired. 2. Outbursts of anger or irritability with little provocation. Being grumpy, or snappy, can cause a hardship between a caregiver and their loved ones. When a caregiver starts getting irritable and angry, it is usually their closest friends and family who get the brunt end of it. They may or may not recognize that this is from too much stress being put on the caregiver, inside and outside...
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