Caring for others is an honorable act that can be very rewarding, but dealing with other people’s pains and problems can be very tasking. It is not uncommon for those giving care to others to develop chronic stress — a condition referred to as compassion fatigue.
Compassion fatigue, or secondary traumatization, is something that caregivers and family members can experience. Often, people who are taught early on to care for others tend to put others before themselves, neglecting common and important self-care practices. When this happens, you may begin to experience symptoms such as bottled up emotions, isolation from others, difficulty concentrating and chronic physical ailments. People with chronic stress often remain in denial about their own problems. They can form unhealthy habits, such as substance abuse problems, poor hygiene or compulsive behaviors.
Recognizing the signs of compassion fatigue is the first step to recovery.
Implementing self-care methods like being kind to yourself, practicing self-acceptance, clarifying personal boundaries and learning to express your needs are all important steps to overcoming this condition, notes CompassionFatigue.org. It is also crucial to practice healthy lifestyle habits; these include eating healthy, drinking plenty of water and exercising, and finding a support team of people who can listen to and care for you.
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There are many resources available to those suffering from compassion fatigue. Whether the person is a mother, a spouse, someone dealing with general caregiver tasks or someone dealing with victims of trauma and stress, there are organizations that can provide helpful information and assistance.
Dealing with the traumas of others can be stressful. In order to maintain a healthy, positive environment, it is important to continue to take care of your own needs, while tending to the needs of others. To help veterans who need assistance, their caregivers and their families, check out The Veterans Site for an easy way to help that won’t lead to fatigue for you.
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