The Cost of Caring

Compassion Fatigue

I have been a nurse for 36 years and I’ve never seen anything like the corona virus crisis. My colleagues in healthcare are working more hours, with little to no rest, and often not going home to their family to decrease the spread of the virus.

Cost of Caring

As a result, this tireless work will take its toll over time. Figley (1982) described  this “cost of caring” for others in emotional and physical pain Compassion Fatigue.

Compassion Fatigue is a combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual depletion associated with the trauma-related work we do where people or animals are in significant emotional pain and/or physical distress

Those at most risk

Professionals especially vulnerable to Compassion Fatigue include emergency care workers, counsellors, mental health professionals, healthcare professionals, clergy, advocate volunteers, and human service workers.  If you ever feel as though you are losing your sense of self to the clients you serve, you may be suffering from compassionate fatigue.

There are a few strategies you can use to help during this critical time. For example, ask yourself these questions. You can then develop your own personal plan to relieve some stressors.

  • Schedule a regular check in, every day – how am I doing?
  • Do I have control over this? 
  • What things do I not have control over?
  • What stress relief strategies do I enjoy? (walking, sleeping well or going for a massage)
  • What stress resiliency strategies can I use? Stress resiliency practices are relaxation methods that we develop and practice regularly. Activities such as meditation, yoga or breathing exercises.

 Here are a few extras I like to call Compassion Boosters

Breathe deeply                              Laugh

Journal                                            Take a brisk walk

Stretch                                             Talk to a trusted friend

Eat a nutritious snack Meditate/pray

Practice Letting Go ritual (for example, I sang to the song “Let it Go” from Frozen?)

Read a favorite quote or Mission statement

Listen to music (after that, create your own uplifting playlist)

Be well and Stay well.


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