We were first introduced to compassion fatigue in the Do More Ag Talk Ask Listen Webinar series, again in mental health first aid, and then again as a part of In The Know mental health literacy training.   In this week’s episode of Maintaining Mental Fitness Season 2, Dr Howatt from Howatt HR reminds us that compassion fatigue is real and offers tips on dealing with emotional exhaustion. 

Compassion fatigue can occur when providing care and support to others who are having a difficult or challenging time.  It can happen over a period of time and starts within our unconscious brain but if we recognize the signs and symptoms, we can potentially prevent it from happening.  Compassion fatigue can result in the loss of your ability to have empathy for others.  

Signs and Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue may include:

Compassion fatigue arises out of exposure to suffering, then constant exposure to suffering, and then prolonged exposure to suffering. To reduce the risk of developing compassion fatigue, create your own mental fitness plan to build a routine and structure for reducing your risk for compassion fatigue.

Your mental fitness plan to reduce compassion fatigue may include:

If you are concerned about compassion fatigue, complete the quick screen to increase your self-awareness. 

Final Word

Steven Covey once said we all have resourcefulness and innovation when we are awake.  Until we are awake, we can get ourselves caught in a structure.

Create your own structure by first getting a baseline.

Be clear on the top five:

  1. Sleep
  2. Hydration – drink 3-4 liters of water per day
  3. Get moving – Walk more than 8000 steps per day
  4. Lifestyle choices – be mindful of the things you do to feel good – this is different from symptom relief
  5. Hugs – find a person who gives great hugs

Habitual habits can create limited beliefs and get us stuck.  Compassion fatigue is happening in more areas of various professions including farming.  Nip compassion fatigue in the butt, and implement preventative measures today.