To tend to the needs of others, you need to first focus on your own well-being. Compassion fatigue and burnout are very real ailments that can negatively impact your best-intentioned efforts to be helpful. Some preventive measures to consider include…

  • Maintaining a balanced lifestyle that includes boundaries and limit-setting
  • Getting support and help when you need it
  • Having plans in place for coping with tough issues and incidents
  • Getting adequate training
  • Taking stock of your own healing and letting yourself experience the necessary spectrum of emotions
  • Replenishing yourself
  • Nurturing social relationships outside of work and school
  • Getting involved in positive initiatives
  • Maintaining proper sleep, nutrition and exercise habits
  • Connecting with nature
  • Expressing yourself creatively
  • Developing a segment of your life where you take as well as give
  • Meditating or engaging in spiritual practices
  • Taking time off to recharge
  • Being honest with yourself about your strengths and limitations
  • Maintaining a sense of humor — even during difficult and stressful times
  • Working in a positive, supportive and team-oriented environment
  • Creating community
  • Scheduling five minutes each morning for a self-check-in to assess your tensions and worries
  • Practicing self-compassion
  • Embracing compassion satisfaction, where you remember to focus on the wins involved with helping others

Sources: Compassion Fatigue: A Potential Consequence of Working with Traumatized People by Brenda Ingram, CALCASA Leadership Conference, 2005; Forbes WomensMedia, 12/10/21


For more from this in-service session – Avoid Burnout: Healthy Ways to Handle Emotional Labor and Protect Your Well-Beingand nine other staff development sessions, please check out our NEW 60-Minute In-Service and Staff Development Sessions binder.