Wendy Tucker, MA, CMHC, CSAYC
Tired of being tired? Do you often feel overwhelmed, drained and fatigued and you haven’t really exerted much energy? Do your days seem long and drawn out? If so, you could be experiencing “Burn out and/or compassion fatigue.” When a person is burnt out, they are usually burning the candle at both ends of the stick.
Burn out is closely associated with compassion fatigue. Listed below are a few ways to tell how you can determine the difference; some signs that you may be experiencing burn out are:
Little motivation to complete a routine task
Half heartily working on a task
Feelings of hopelessness or not caring as much
Little or diminished interest in doing things
While burnout can impact just about anybody, compassion fatigue is a term used in the self-service and/or helping profession. The trend that is noted with compassion fatigue is that those individuals usually overextend their services and are giving more frequently than what is being returned. Normally, those in the helping profession are not looking for a monetary gain, but are looking to see if their work has made an impact in a positive manner.
Therefore, they may give and give while sacrificing their own well-being, trying to help someone else. While compassion fatigue may look very similar to burn out, there is some variation:
Assume the responsibility of emotionally carrying another person’s burdens
Inability to cope with natural life stressors
Lack of empathy
Blurred systematic boundaries
If you can relate to feeling burnt out and/or experiencing compassion fatigue, it is not too late to start a healthy regime to get back on track. You want to properly analyze how you are feeling, everybody has an off day. However, if your “Off day” becomes more frequent and your demeanor is starting to change, it may be a good time to do a self-check. Once you have taken a look at yourself, look at your priorities and give everything its proper ranking to see what can be eliminated or delegated. Oftentimes a service worker will try to save the world and or not use all the available resources to aid them when in need.
Practicing good self-care along with coping skills can help reduce feelings of burn out and/or compassion fatigue. Lastly, above all, realize where your help comes from; according to Psalm 121:1-3 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Our hope is that your heart is strengthened in this hour and knows that God is greater than anything! Jesus cannot fail and if you cast all your cares upon Him (1st Peter 5:7), whatever may be bothering you, he is touched, and feels what your feeling and can give you what you need when you need it!
Be encouraged and stay safe.