Family care providers devote so much of themselves to those they care for – both emotionally and physically. It’s easy to feel wiped out and to begin to experience feelings like indifference, weariness, and a withdrawal from the person in your care. Referred to as caregiver compassion fatigue or secondary traumatic stress, it may be harmful to your own health and wellbeing but may also affect your ability to be as caring, warm, and nurturing as you need to be for the person you love.
Unlike caregiver burnout, which occurs gradually over time, caregiver compassion fatigue may occur abruptly and unexpectedly. You might truly want to continue providing care and support, but you basically feel too weighed down.
If you feel any of the symptoms below, compassion fatigue might be the reason:
- Exhaustion (mentally, physically, or both)
- Dreading your care obligations, together with feelings of guilt
- Anger, anxiety, and/or irritability
- Difficulties with sleeping
- Less feelings of empathy or sympathy for the person in your care
- Isolation and disconnection from family, friends, and pleasant activities
- Difficulties with other relationships
- Decision-making difficulties
- Questioning whether you’re achieving anything with your caregiving work
How to Conquer Compassion Fatigue as a Family Caregiver
If the description above sounds like what you’re experiencing, there are steps you can take to help.
- Place a numeric value on your emotions. Take a quick self-assessment by ranking how you’re feeling every day on a scale of 1 – 10. If you find your answers in the 9-10 scope of compassion fatigue symptoms, talk with a professional therapist.
- Prioritize time for self-care. Taking proper care of yourself is not self-centered; it’s essential for your own wellness as well as the health and wellbeing of the person in your care. Make it a top priority every single day to take part in enjoyable activities, physical exercise, healthy eating, and conversations with friends and relatives.
- Obtain support. Sign up with a caregiver support group, whether in person or online, to allow you to talk about your feelings with others who are walking a mile in your shoes and can share management techniques that have worked well for them.
- Practice journaling. Journaling is a wonderful way to relieve stress and work through difficult emotions and decisions. Looking back over your entries will allow you to keep track of any patterns in your thoughts. Maybe you feel most exhausted late in the afternoon, and can schedule a few minutes each day at that time to meditate, pray, listen to calming music, take a walk – whatever works best to help you de-stress.
At Carolina Hearts Home Care, a top provider of companion home care in Laurinburg, NC, NC and the neighboring areas, we’re always here to help you work through caregiver compassion fatigue by serving as your partner in care. Our broad range of personalized in-home care services provide seniors with the pleasure of a friendly companion, while offering you much-needed time to yourself. Contact us at 1.855.277.2005 to learn more!