Compassion Fatigue: 10 Steps to Heal Myself

Everyday I give part of myself: my heart, my mind, my energy, my soul.  Everyday my heart aches for others.  You know the feeling.  Over time, I have experienced what most call compassion fatigue.  To me, compassion fatigue is the point where I can feel myself "not caring as much" because "I've already seen and felt too much pain".  Sound familiar?

The truth is, all of us, probably feel loss of compassion at times.  People with kids, people with spouses, people with animals, people who volunteer, people who's job it is to heal and save others, people who build their own business, etc.   It's important to rejuvenate.  It's important to find what fundamentally makes you happy, and do that often.  This will give back to your heart, your mind, your energy and your soul.  It will make you whole.  For me, I am fundamentally happy when with animals and doing exercise, sometimes alone, sometimes with others.

When I start to feel even one sliver of negativity towards myself or others, this is what I do, and I do at least one of these daily:

  • Write a Gratitude List: I write down three things that I am grateful for that day.  I store the list on my phone notes, so that I can access often during the day.  I repeat to myself, "Thank you for (number 1 on list), thank you for (number 2 on list), and thank you for (number 3 on list)." while taking a few deep breaths.  Yes, quite often, my Roomba makes this list!  Those of you with cats, understand the daily hair tumbleweed battle.

  • Write a Love List: I write down three things I love that day, and then tell those people or things that I love them out loud.  Yes, I tell my cats I love them.  By saying it out loud, it easily bring intention behind the words.

  • Meditate: I clear my mind, so that no emotions cloud my mind.

  • Connect with Universal Consciousness: I ask for guidance from my higher self, spirit guides and God after meditation.

  • Ground Myself: Simply put, I just go outside and touch nature.  I go on a walk, volunteer with my community or if I'm short on time, I just touch a tree on my way out the door.

My Dad and I on a nature walk.

My Dad and I on a nature walk.

  • Play with Makeup: Yes, play. For me, my mind wanders when I apply my makeup.  It is a creative outlet that I can wash off every night and try something new the next day.  Fresh  makeup = fresh ideas = happy mind.

Trying the dramatic red lip here.

Trying the dramatic red lip here.

  • Workout: I love to workout, and for those of you who know me, know that I have competed in 3 figure contests before.  It's a lifestyle for me.  Weightlifting is the one outlet that I feel comfortable letting my ego rest.  The more physically strong my body can be, the longer I hopefully can live and the more I can potentially do in my lifetime.

Cable Rows, which are one of my favorite exercises.

Cable Rows, which are one of my favorite exercises.

  • Ballet: When I am practicing ballet, the music takes me.  It is a place where my body and my mind are moving as one.  No other outlet provides this coexistence, which is breathtaking.  Granted, I am a beginner and only know the basics, but the fulfillment I receive is anything but basic.

  • Irish Dance: This is the one activity that brings be straight back to my childhood.  I have Irish danced on and off for over 15 years.  I feel like a little kid again, giddy and free, when I enter that mindspace during a lively step.

A picture from a feis (competition) that I did in high school.

A picture from a feis (competition) that I did in high school.

  • Pet my Cat(s): I think this one is self explanatory :)  Nothing is more calming than stroking a purring cat.

Bailey and I.

Bailey and I.

If you have other techniques that work for you, I'd love to hear about them.  I'm always looking for more "happy-makers"!