Avoiding Compassion Fatigue In The Wellness Industry
The desire to help others is both admirable and incredibly rewarding, but it can also be depleting. The best way to avoid compassion fatigue, which occurs from preoccupation with others’ pain, is not to separate from our call. Rather, it is to commit to learning the art of durability.
Imagine a client approaches you in pain and frustration. You make space for the client and offer genuine empathy, but you are unable to help or fully understand. Later, the stress of not being able to help weighs on you. Worse, you find yourself taking on the client’s emotional stress.
Burnout and compassion fatigue often strike those who teach and coach individuals for the same reasons we get into these fields. We want to make a real difference because we empathize with a person’s plight. By feeling such connectivity, we are able to help. But the same connectivity can be torturous if we assume others’ pain.
There is no point tossing and turning in bed, thinking about what could have been done differently, when we could be focusing on how to move forward and give in other ways. A few ways to remember our mission are as follows:
Reflect on What You Are Able to Offer, Not Your Limitations
We are only able to give when we feel strong ourselves, and knowing that we are having a cumulative and last impact on those we serve may offer some solace. Not being able to connect or support one individual at a particular time does not diminish the support we successfully offer others.
Remember that Transformation Never Happens Overnight
To sustain influence long enough to support lasting change means adopting a realistic view of what you can and cannot offer. There will always be those we cannot help, and we must accept this. But what we often forget is there are also those whose growth is slow and steady, and that the journey is painful. Often, we are able to provide tools but never see the full weight of our clients’ progression. And many clients will only reach out when things are rough.
Recommit to your Why
When a provider’s mission centers on helping people, it can be all the more detrimental if burnout prevents real connection. During such times, we must return to our reason for doing what we do. For a wellness provider to invest in enduring vision and commit to show up for others means cultivating and refining foresight and being committed to push through when things do not go as planned.
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