COMPASSION FATIGUE – “indifference to charitable appeals on behalf of those who are suffering, experienced as a result of the frequency or number of such appeals.”
It may start out as a kind of numbness or irritability. You might feel impatient or just wish someone would stop talking. Blame, exhaustion and powerlessness are other hallmarks of this professional hazard.
The unfortunate bit here is our own family members may be the first ones to notice we are going down. I mean, how many healing arts professionals feel depleted at the end of the day and just don’t have much of anything for their nearest and dearest?
If you are at all awake, you can see how very needed your work and PRESENCE is. The awful truth is that when we slip into compassion fatigue, our capacity for PRESENCE slips away.
Here are five tips to get yourself back on the right track:
âï¸ Self care – Take it seriously. Learn what this means for you. Looking back over my 32 year career (so far), it is crystal clear to me that the decision to start meditating in 1983 was a good one. Meditation has become a lifeline and life long habit. This habit woven with AAIT and exercise has become a cornerstone of my personal self care practice.
âï¸ Create buffer zones – Give yourself time between clients, even if it’s only 2 minutes for a stand and breathe moment. I’ve structured my practice so I have 15 minutes between clients. At the end of the day – FOR YEARS – my family knows to give me a few minutes. Even when our daughters were young, they were able to give me the space I needed. However, we are the only ones who can make sure that space is used wisely to truly restore so we can be PRESENT.
âï¸ Check your co-dependency tendencies – How are you doing on creating and maintaining boundaries? Are you carrying the pain and problems you’ve been witness to with you even as you close the door on work?
âï¸ Examine yourself for countertransference – do you feel critical of your client or overly sympathetic? Do you feel an urge to ‘save’ your client? Do you find yourself wanting to give them advice or judgmental about their choices?
âï¸ Have your own therapist – we don’t need this all the time, but there are absolutely times healing arts professionals need our own healing arts professional. Having someone you can call who knows you, is in your corner and has the skills to get you back into the current of your well-being is as valuable as your attorney and accountant.
Most of us want to show up being the BEST version of ourselves for our clients and our families. Taking responsibility for and tending to our inner state is the source of our freedom. This principle informs the practice of AAIT and is valuable to establishing ourselves in intentional PRESENCE with self care through AAIT.