Self-Care: Compassion Fatigue Recognition and Recovery

Posted by Shelley on 1/5/2016 to For the Caregiver
Self-Care: Compassion Fatigue Recognition and Recovery
Based on reports in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, compassion fatigue is a secondary response, based on empathy, which creates extreme exhaustion and self-defeating behavior in caregivers. The exhaustion can show up as physical, as well as emotional, spiritual, or social, often leaving the caregiver unaware of the basis of their discontent.

CompassionFatigue.org lists some of the symptoms that may indicate this secondary traumatic stress disorder as:
  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Distracted
  • Physical exhaustion
  • Disproportionate blaming
  • Held-in emotions
  • Substance abuse
  • Irrational behaviors (i.e., overspending, overeating, gambling, sexual addictions)
  • Diminished self-presentation
  • Chronic physical ailments (i.e., gastrointestinal, upper respiratory issues)


Compassion fatigue can depict itself in peculiar ways, but the longer it remains unattended, the greater the symptoms can become. Caregivers are typically responsive to the needs of others but not always to themselves. When compassion fatigue alters a caregiver’s ability to care for themselves, it must be addressed. The best method to address compassion fatigue is to focus on self-care. Here are a few ways to do that:

Most importantly: Kindness starts with you. Be kind to you.
  • Understand and forgive your behavior as a result of what you’ve been through.
  • Use compassion for yourself.
  • Try not to rely on others to help you.
  • Validate your feelings through learning more about compassion fatigue.
  • Establish personal boundaries (separate yourself from what you do).
  • Determine your needs and share them.
  • Alter any environment that increases stress.
  • Engage in healthy activities (sleeping, eating, exercise and relaxation).
  • Surround yourself with positive people that energize you.
  • Be proactive instead of reactive.
  • Conserve your energy for yourself and your health.
You are your greatest ally. Treat yourself the way you would treat a close friend and “listen” to what you think. Compassion fatigue is resolvable. Healing begins when you are ready.

Some personal care items that will bring you comfort are MediBeads Wraps, specifically, the MediBeads Foot Wrap to allow you to pamper yourself. Other options include the MediBeads joint wrap, MediBeads carpal cuff, MediBeads hand wrap, MediBeads compress wrap, MediBeads therapy wrap, MediBeads neck wrap, MediBeads sinus wrap, MediBeads neck rest, MediBeads king pad and MediBeads standard pad.

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