East Bay CNA from Hillendale Home Care is licensed by the State of California to provide Certified Nursing training courses for Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.

How to Overcome Caregiver Compassion Fatigue

Compassion fatigue in caregivers can become overwhelming if not effectively managed.

Caregivers devote so much of themselves to those they care for – both physically and emotionally. It’s easy to become depleted and to begin to experience effects such as apathy, exhaustion, and a detachment from the person in your care. Known as compassion fatigue or secondary traumatic stress, it can be detrimental to your own wellbeing but can also impact your ability to be as caring, warm, and nurturing as you need to be for the person you’re caring for.

In contrast to caregiver burnout, which occurs gradually over time, compassion fatigue can arise suddenly and unexpectedly. You may truly want to continue providing care and support, but you simply feel too overwhelmed. 

If you experience any of the following symptoms, compassion fatigue may be the culprit:

  • Exhaustion (physically, mentally, or both)
  • Dreading your care responsibilities, along with feelings of guilt
  • Irritability, anger, and/or anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty with sleeping
  • Reduced feelings of empathy or sympathy for the person in your care
  • Isolation and disconnection from friends, family, and enjoyable activities
  • Problems with other relationships
  • Decision-making difficulties
  • Questioning whether you’re accomplishing anything with your caregiving services

How to Overcome Compassion Fatigue

If the description above sounds like what you’re experiencing, there are steps you can take to help.

  • Rate your feelings. Take a simple self-assessment by ranking how you’re feeling each day on a scale of 1 – 10. If you find yourself in the 9-10 range of compassion fatigue symptoms, talk with a professional counselor.
  • Take time for self-care. Taking care of yourself is not selfish; it’s necessary for your own health as well as the wellbeing of the person in your care. Make it a priority each day to engage in enjoyable activities, exercise, healthy eating, and time with friends and family.
  • Find support. Join a caregiver support group, whether in person or online, to allow you to talk through your feelings with others who understand and can share coping skills that have worked well for them.
  • Write it down. Journaling is a wonderful way to release stress and sort through difficult emotions and decisions. Reading back through your entries will allow you to track any patterns in your feelings. Perhaps you feel most fatigued late in the afternoon, and can set aside a few minutes each day at that time to meditate, pray, listen to calming music, take a walk – whatever helps you best de-stress.

At Hillendale Home Care, the leading provider of home care assistance in Pleasanton and the surrounding areas, we’re here to help our caregivers overcome difficulties like compassion fatigue and truly enjoy their role as caregivers. 

If you’d like to learn more about a career as a Hillendale caregiver, our East Bay CNA School is a great resource to get you started! Contact us online or at (925)297-2676 to learn more. 

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