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Compassion fatigue is the emotional distress from the constant demands of caring for others suffering from trauma. 

Common symptoms include

  • exhaustion

  • guilt

  • apathy

  • neglecting self-care

  • social isolation

  • checking out emotionally 

  • lack of fulfillment

Many new social workers and other helping profesionals are ill-prepared for the harsh realities of this procession. 

To attack compassion fatigue at the core, try the following foundational techniques:

  • Create a foundation of awareness (through regular self-check-ins) and self-compassion

  • Get clear on your core values

  • Establish and maintain clear and healthy boundaries for yourself and with those you serve

  • Find a hobby unrelated to your work.  

Remember, the reason WHY you chose this work.  Loom, doom, guilt, frustration, depression and exhaustion do not have to be waiting in the wings for you as a social worker. Helping doesn’t have to hurt and empathy doesn’t have to be exhausting. ​

For additional support, click here to download the Overcoming Compassion Fatigue: When Helping Hurts Ebook.  

Why Compassion Fatigue?

In over 2 decades of working in the social work and mental health profession, I have experienced compassion fatigue various times throughout my career; I just wasn't aware of what was happening to me.  Like many of my colleagues, I minimized the signs of emotional exhaustion, irritability, and vicarious traumatization and continued to focus on taking care of my clients.  The concept of self-care wasn't introduced to me until I spent a few years working in the field following graduate school.  Initially, I treated self-care like a reward instead of a necessity and a human right.  After facilitating hundreds of Compassion Fatigue workshops along with my lived experiences, I created The Fullest Well: From Fatigue to Fulfillment online course to support helping professionals in combatting the "common cold" of the helping profession. 

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