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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Self Care Sunday and Compassion Fatigue

Sometimes caring too much can hurt. I have struggled with this a lot as an educator and parent. I care so much that sometimes it causes stress. For those of you who may be reading this and are educators, this may sound familiar. We love our students so much and so badly want to ensure we are supporting them to the very best of our ability. We think about how they may be doing over breaks, for some we may worry if their basic needs are being met, and we may worry or stress about how they are doing socially, emotionally, and academically.

There are many professions that can experience compassion fatigue: health professionals, counselors, caregivers of those who may be ill or aging...but what exactly is compassion fatigue?

Compassion fatigue is an emotional (and sometimes physical) state that one experiences when they are preoccupied with the stress or suffering of those that they are helping which can sometimes cause a secondary stress for the person who is helping.

What are the symptoms of compassion fatigue?

The American Institute of Stress outlines the following:

Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue
– Affects many dimensions of your well-being
– Nervous system arousal (Sleep disturbance)
– Emotional intensity increases
– Cognitive ability decreases
– Behavior and judgment impaired
– Isolation and loss of morale
– Depression and PTSD (potentiate)
– Loss of self-worth and emotional modulation
– Identity, worldview, and spirituality impacted
– Beliefs and psychological needs-safety, trust, esteem, intimacy, and control
– Loss of hope and meaning=existential despair
– Anger toward perpetrators or causal events

Compassion fatigue is a process, it doesn't just happen overnight. You may be reading this right now and thinking, "Oh my goodness!!! I have compassion fatigue!" You very well might be suffering from it. So, how do we overcome compassion fatigue??

Below are some tips. Let me preface this by saying I am far from perfect. I have to remind myself to practice these very things (especially sleep). But can I tell you how powerful positivity and starting your day with something motivational is? I wake up each day with positive self talk.
The struggle is real but these are some tips to set you up for success.
 I can't even begin to share how important it is to have "a person." Someone you can call and vent to and then laugh about it with. I think out of the whole list that is the most important. It's good to have someone you can trust and share with. We never want to carry our negativity on our sleeve and then live in it because we will be what we carry.

Now on the same note, I want to talk about Self Care Sunday! 
Remember that self care can be as simple as taking a warm bath and watching a funny show or curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee. However, self care is more than that. Self care is realizing what you want and adjusting your routine and habits to get you there. If you are finding yourself frantically trying to get through the week, set aside time to intentionally plan and put habits into place like prepping each Sunday. Self  care can be a little moment or a life changing moment. 

I am so excited about some things to come to share with you all in the next month (a new book). 

Some of you have asked about my LPC, as well, and it is going great. I am on track to finish in February. It has went by so fast and I am loving every moment of it. I know supporting others is what I was made to do and I can't believe I will be finished soon. I am a bit sad because I love my supervisor and our group. 

On a side note, I have to share this picture. For those of you that have watched my videos...I always start with a "Hey, yall!" My sweet Ella took this picture of me this past weekend at a little shop with a mug with that saying. 
I hope you all have a great week and make sure to take time for you. We talk about SEL needs for our students...remember they are just as important for those leading them! 


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