It’s kind of the chicken or the egg question. The two conditions can overlap and may lead to each other: compassion fatigue can lead to burnout, or burnout can lead to compassion fatigue.
Compassion fatigue is a state of exhaustion and emotional depletion caused by prolonged exposure to a traumatic situation or intense emotions. It is characterized by emotional exhaustion, physical exhaustion, and mental exhaustion. Burnout, on the other hand, is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion resulting from long-term stress or frustration. It is characterized by feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, and cynicism.
I speak on the Compassion stress cycle we experience each time we encounter a traumatic situation. So if there's a pile up of secondary traumatic exposure that has. not been processed, this prolonged exposure to stress can result in compassion fatigue and burnout.
To combat this cycle, awareness of how external stress is impacting you internally is key. When you are empathizing with the pain of someone else, do you get lost in their pain or mindlessly empathize? Do you mindlessly move from session to session, meeting to meeting without taking a pause just to breathe and get grounded?
Overtime, this lack of awareness can contribute to Compassion Fatigue and Burnout. We must begin by building that foundation of self-awareness and self-compassion.
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To Your Health and Prosperity,