For many years, social workers and other helping professionals have been at risk for compassion fatigue and burnout due to self-care neglect and no work-life balance. An already strained system was overloaded when Covid hit. Now social workers are often working from home offices. Can you imagine trying to write a report or making calls while your own children are at home with you?
The phrase “Do you remember where you were when you heard about …?” puts social workers at even more risk for vicarious trauma. At the end of the day while sitting in a room it might trigger the memory of traumas they heard earlier in the day. Gone is the safe space of sitting on their bed, at their kitchen table or on their sofa.
What can social workers and other helping professionals do to raise their resilience to compassion fatigue? Here are 5 areas where reflection can be used to maintain or rebuild resilience:
Competency (feeling successful)
Belonging (feeling valued)
Usefulness (feeling needed)
Potency (feeling empowered)
Optimism (feeling encouraged and hopeful)
Compassion resilience can help you thrive, feel alive and provide the very best of yourself. It all starts by doing the following:
Practicing self-care. This generally includes balanced, nutritious diet, regular exercise, and routine schedule of restful sleep. These basics can determine overall mood, productivity and performance.
Setting healthy emotional boundaries. Maintaining a connection while still remembering and honoring the fact that you are a separate person with your own needs.
Develop and utilize self-awareness. Develop an “observing eye” with which you can notice your interactions with others, your thoughts and feelings, and stress level. Journaling, reading and spiritual activities are a few ways to develop self-awareness.
Cultivate compassion for others. Compassion training reduces empathic erosion and increases the desire to protect and promote the wellbeing of others. It also reinforces resilience which benefits social works and helping professionals.
Grow compassion satisfaction. Taking pleasure in being able to do your work well as a helping professional and building relationships with coworkers, clients, and patients.
Sustain social support. Building a community around yourself form which to draw support.
Building resilience to compassion fatigue is not a solo endeavor. Vitamin C Healing can help you process your feelings and implement strategies to help you combat compassion fatigue and maintain a healthy work-life balance. To learn more about our workshops or to take the Burn Out quiz visit our website.