Are you feeling mentally, physically, emotionally exhausted? Have you been isolating yourself, both from others as well as from life in general? Have you lost sight of the meaning and accomplishment in your work? Have you lost your optimism, humor and hope?
If you said yes to any of the above symptoms, you might be suffering from what experts refer to as compassion fatigue, an incredibly common form of secondary traumatization among healthcare workers.
More than any other industry, healthcare employees tend to be the most caring and dedicated, and they are heavily involved with and engaged in their patients and clients. They also tend to be more empathetic to the trauma and stress their patients and clients have experienced and often experience extreme emotional burnout as a result. Compassion fatigue is a form of emotional burnout and can occur when healthcare workers begin to feel, experience and suffer as their patients feel, experience and suffer.
There are many steps healthcare leaders and employees can take to reduce the impact of compassion fatigue. Here are a few:
- Find moments throughout the day to take a “mini-escape.” Even if it’s only a few minutes to breathe and refocus, it can help you stay balanced and relieve stress.
- Regardless of how busy you are, try to schedule time to treat yourself to simple activities that bring you joy.
- Find mental exercises that help you identify positive thoughts even on the most stress-filled days.
- Make your health, physical and mental, a top priority. If you are unable to lift your spirits on your own, seek professional and medical help.
If you’re the leader within your organization, here are a few ways you can help your employees manage stress:
- Make sure that each employee is given the most suitable workload for his or her capabilities and available resources.
- Make sure that all employees clearly understand their roles and responsibilities, and reduce uncertainty about career paths and job stability.
- Keep the lines of communication open, and allow your employees to provide feedback on decisions related to their jobs.
- Create opportunities for employees to be social with one another.