Compassion fatigue is when you start to become callous about helping others. And it is a real thing. After hearing so many sad stories you start to get overloaded, and your compassion for others starts to be a burden on you. Sometimes you can physically wear yourself out.
Sometimes you are so giving you put others needs in front of your own. And this can lead to not taking proper care of yourself. I know of a guy who is so dedicated to caring for others that he checked himself out of the hospital to take a team to a tourney. And is ignoring his doctor’s advice to rest and stay off his feet because: ” I have to be there.”
The hard truth is we can all be replaced. Someone was doing the job before you and will be there after you are gone and forgotten. That does not take away from the value of the work you are doing. But it serves as a reminder that you should not wear yourself out regularly. It is not healthy. If you do not take care of yourself, you will not be around to care for others. And the truth is people would rather put up with losing you for a short time rather than losing you forever.
Compassion Fatigue can also shorten the good you do. If you get burned out helping others to the point that you stop caring about them, it is not good nor healthy. You can wear yourself out. When you become overwhelmed in helping others that you no longer can take the time to listen to someone’s problems, when you no longer care, when you no longer give a shit; you need to step away. You need to find a way to refresh yourself.
The truth is this place can wear you out. It can tear at your soul. I know this. Even when I don’t want to admit it. I have given my coworkers the right to tell me I need to go away and take a break. I can become snippy. I can become grouchy. I do not want to be but, it is the byproduct of doing too much.
For me I find relief in several ways. Sometimes it is simply sitting on the front porch, other times it is playing with my dogs, or hiking, or talking with Jackie. At times I must remind myself that as an introvert I need quiet time. That the demands will still be there tomorrow. I need to prioritize my energy. And at times I will disappoint others. If I want to survive for the long haul, I need to be able to take a break.
For me, my faith plays a significant role in my life. Everything I do is because of my faith. I know that I am never alone. That I can cast my burdens upon Christ. I know that God loves me. Everything I do is because of my faith. I was created to do good things.
God loves you too. And so do I!