The COVID-19 pandemic has been storming for over a year now and, if you’re like many people on this planet, you’re struggling to support those who need your help the most. In fact, at this point, you might even be feeling some resentment toward those people.
You should know that this is totally normal. It’s known as compassion fatigue, and it occurs in even the most compassionate of caretakers.
Need some tips for coping with it? Then read on. Here’s how to deal with compassion fatigue during COVID-19.
Exercise is vital not only to your physical health but to your mental health as well. This is because it allows you a chance to let out some stress and rid yourself of any irritability or anxiety that you might be feeling.
As such, if you’re suffering from compassion fatigue, you should make an attempt to exercise on a regular basis. You don’t need a great deal of time. A spare 30 minutes will be enough to get a workout in.
Go for a brisk walk, go for a jog, follow along with an aerobic video, lift some weights, play some basketball, and do whatever else is necessary to get your blood pumping. These activities will get your endorphins going, producing a good feeling in your brain and allowing you to recharge your proverbial batteries.
Write Your Thoughts Down in a Journal
Sometimes, when it comes to combatting compassion fatigue, it’s as simple as getting your thoughts out. You don’t even necessarily need to talk to anyone about what you’re feeling (though that can help too). Writing your thoughts down in a journal can make the difference.
Seeing your feelings written down on a piece of paper can help you to approach them from a different perspective. You’ll feel as if you have more control over them, and will be more comfortable facing them.
Every time you feel a pang of anxiety or irritability or anger, get to your journal and write down what’s on your mind. Doing so might even help you to spot patterns in your behavior as well as in the relationship between you and the person you’re caring for.
Find Quiet Time for Yourself
If you’re a caretaker for someone, you’re likely busy at most times. Nonetheless, you still need to find time for yourself. If you’re constantly helping others, you’re going to start feeling stressed and unappreciated.
Jot out a schedule and set aside, say, 30 minutes for yourself. Use this time to relax and live in the moment. Meditate, take a bath or shower, or just have a cup of coffee out on the front porch.
This downtime will help to revitalize you, allowing you to push on through each day. It will break up the monotony and keep you from going stir-crazy.
Lay Off the News
It’s good to keep up with current events but it’s not a good idea to get engrossed in them. Topics like war, murder, politics, and, of course, COVID-19 itself can have a drastic negative impact on one’s mental health. If you’re already stressed from having to care for others, it can be a bit too much to bear.
We advise that you set aside a short period of time during which you can keep up on current events. Outside of that time, you should ignore news reports completely. Letting them dominate your thoughts is a recipe for disaster.
It’s also advised that you take in as many positive stories as you do negative stories. Otherwise, you’ll start to see the world as all bad, and might even start to lose hope. For starters, read this article on John Arnold.
Speak Candidly With Those Around You
Another thing you should do to combat COVID-19 burnout is to speak candidly with those around you. Voice your fears, your frustrations, and hash out any problems that may arise. This is not a time to shy away from communication.
Yes, some of these conversations can be difficult to have. But if you keep your thoughts in, they’ll fester, and resentment will grow.
Indulge in Hobbies
As much as you can, you need to indulge in hobbies that you enjoy. After all, what’s life if you’re not having any fun?
Carve out an hour or two in your schedule and play video games or bake brownies or knit or do whatever it is that you like to do. Without hobbies, life can start to feel like a continuous cycle of nothingness. This is only exacerbated by something like COVID-19.
Participating in hobbies will help to keep your spirits up, allowing you to be the best that you can be for those that need you.
Maintain Your Physical Health
Your physical health directly impacts your mental health. If you’re eating poorly, sleeping poorly, not drinking enough water, and making bad decisions in general, you will start to become run-down mentally.
As such, you need to do everything in your power to maintain your physical health. Prepare healthy meals, sleep 7 to 9 hours every night, drink ample amounts of water, and throw in some exercise to boot.
A good many of our typical hang-out spots are closed right now. As such, most of us are spending a great deal of time at home. Home can be comforting at times, but too much time at home can plague you with a spell of cabin fever.
The elixir? Get outside!
Whether it’s going for a jog, hiking through the woods, skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, or otherwise, getting outside can make a world of difference. You might even discover a love for the great outdoors that you never know you had.
How Do You Know if You’re Suffering from Compassion Fatigue?
You now know how to manage compassion fatigue. But how do you know if you have it in the first place? Generally speaking, if you’re dealing with the following symptoms, compassion fatigue is upon you.
Perhaps the most common sign of compassion fatigue is irritability. If you’re quick to anger or having intrusive thoughts, it might just be that you’ve been pushed to your emotional limit.
Allowing this to go unchecked will result in it getting worse over time. As such, it’s vital that you utilize the above-reviewed tips.
Anxiety is another common symptom. If you feel as though you’re on edge or constantly waiting for the next foot to drop, the stress of COVID-19 could be getting to you.
Note, anxiety can present itself in many ways. You might start lashing out at those around you, you might become afraid of doing things you used to do, and you might even feel physical tension in your body.
Loss of Empathy
The most troubling symptom of compassion fatigue is a loss of empathy. If you start to become angry at others for reasons that they have no control over, this is probably what you’re dealing with.
Noe that this is natural and is at the core of compassion fatigue in general. You’re not a monster for feeling this way. You’ve just been giving too much for too long a time and are burning out because of it.
Start utilizing some of the tips above and your empathy should return within a matter of weeks. If you’re still having trouble, consider seeing a therapist.
Lack of Good Feeling in Helping Others
Generally speaking, when you help another person, it makes you feel good. You’re putting positive vibes out into the world and are feeling like your contributions matter.
Unfortunately, however, after having provided for others for too long a time, these feelings can start to subside. Feeling like your contributions matter can soon turn into feeling like you’re being taken for granted, especially if the people you’re helping aren’t showing appreciation for the things you do.
Again, this is normal. Human beings get good feelings from giving but, if they never get anything in return, those feelings will eventually die.
During moments like these, it’s good to take a break and treat yourself instead. You still matter in this equation and need to look after yourself from time to time.
Don’t Let Compassion Fatigue Get You Down
You might be feeling a little bad about the compassion fatigue you’re experiencing. But there’s no reason to let it get you down. Utilize the tips above and you should be back on track in no time.
And if you’re looking for similar info, our website can help you. Check out some of our other articles now!