15 May Mission Minute: The Burden of Compassion Fatigue
This month, New Hope is recognizing Mental Health Awareness Month in many ways. We know that this situation has taken an extra toll on everyone, but especially on those we serve and their caregivers. The feeling of isolation, the added stress and the incredible uncertainty make a hard job even tougher for all of our frontline caregivers. They continue to serve selflessly in homes across our communities despite this added stress, and we are so grateful for their dedication.
While some may not see it, we know that compassion fatigue is a real issue for many caregivers. Compassion fatigue is often described as the negative effect of caring, and it can manifest in many ways including physical and mental exhaustion, depression, trouble sleeping and feelings of self-doubt or inadequacy. As we consider Mental Health Awareness, compassion fatigue is at the top of our list of concerns for our associates, especially as they continue to manage the COVID-19 crisis with the vulnerable individuals we serve.
There are several tools to help manage the effects of compassion fatigue and stress related to providing care during a crisis situation, but one of the most simple solutions is to practice self-care. Take time to yourself to decompress, reflect on the things that bring you joy and gratitude, get enough rest, spend time outdoors, eat well and exercise. Movement is one of the most effective ways to boost your mood and find some peace. To get our people moving this month, New Hope has given an activity challenge to our associates, clients and families to encourage some mood-boosting movement. Just 10 minutes of physical activity each day can have a significant long-term effect on mental health and can help prevent the serious effects of compassion fatigue and other mental health issues.
If you want to help relieve some of the burden that comes with compassion fatigue, you can send a care package, thank you note or words of encouragement to our caregivers or make a donation to New Hope’s Associate Financial Assistance (AFA) Program which supports the emergency financial needs of our caregivers. Your support can help alleviate some of the feelings of isolation and stress that come with one of the hardest jobs. Don’t forget to check on the caregivers in your life.