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Self-Compassion: 2 Ways to Combat Compassion Fatigue

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

After talking about the topics of crisis, de-escalation techniques, and early intervention strategies, this is a great segway into yet another “C” word that can help support us. That word is compassion. Many of us are familiar with this term. We may find ourselves showing compassion towards others by donating to a charity or a cause we want to support or volunteering our time with a local organization or nonprofit. With our friends and neighbors, we may show compassion in a number of ways and especially during times where they may be experiencing a significant life event involving hardship or grief. During family interactions, compassionate acts are shown every day by us choosing to put others' needs first. After your child has experienced a crisis situation, providing a listening ear, helping to problem solve, and forgiving are all ways to show compassion. Sometimes, however, you may be finding that you are at the point of compassion fatigue. Let’s look at what this term means.

Compassion fatigue can be compared to trying to operate a car tank that is low on fuel. While it is possible, over time this can cause wear and tear and may lead to further issues. Our bodies, similar to cars, operate best when they run on a full tank. When we continuously give to others and put their needs first and do not replenish our own fuel supply, this can lead to physical and emotional stress. While we know that healthy food serves as fuel for our bodies we also need to find ways to show ourselves love and this can be done through self-compassion.

Here are two ideas to try:

Accept imperfection- Strive to show yourself compassion each day. While you set goals and prioritize tasks, free yourself from the idea that as a parent it is your responsibility to have control over everything that happens. When a situation occurs that does not go as planned, self-compassion is key as it helps you to forgive yourself and provides hope to keep you moving forward.

Engage in self-care- A great way to show yourself self-compassion is through participating in self-care activities. Engaging in activities that bring you comfort and happiness can help keep your “tank” running at optimal capacity. Along with choosing these activities, it is important to make time for yourself to engage in these activities. Do not wait until your energy is completely depleted and you are running on empty. Creating a self-care routine can help you avoid this pitfall.

If you find yourself experiencing compassion fatigue often and are having trouble coping, you may want to seek support from a licensed therapist. Please contact us at 703-942-9745 or for more information. We are currently accepting new teletherapy clients.

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