HCU News
Overcoming Compassion Fatigue
Posted Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 by Mike Trevino

Providing in-home health care can be a difficult job, and it takes a special kind of person to do the job well over a long period of time. Many home healthcare providers report feelings of "compassion fatigue," or the onset of feelings of helplessness or ineffectiveness within their daily work routine. Fortunately, at HCU home health care providers make it their mission to learn how to avoid workplace burnout and compassion fatigue effectively. There are a variety of ways to handle the situation, and most of them have social and wellness benefits that go beyond just improving workplace morale.

Get Moving. Few things are as good at busting stress and relieving workplace strife as a good workout. On a good run, the miles—event treadmill miles—spool out behind you, the world drops away, and you're able to set your mind only on the immediacy of breathing and feeling alive. A cardio class—especially an intense one like kickboxing—can let out frustrations and really get the blood pumping.

Lose Yourself. At the end of a hard day, it can be a relief to come home to a favorite book, TV show, or movie. The experience of living vicariously in another world, even if it's just for a half an hour, can have tremendous benefits for the psyche. While watching something on TV or going to a movie won't get you meeting people, and the activity doesn't have any physical wellness benefits, modes of entertainment like this are one of the most accessible ways to unwind.

Celebrate Successes. Digging deep and finding a way to a positive outlook, however challenging, can pay huge dividends in morale and mental wellbeing. The best caregivers know that their mental state depends as much on their inner life as what happens in the outside world. "Celebrate and find gratitude in the success stories," advises Frank Rivas, HCU Director of Community Engagement. "Every client approved for services is a major accomplishment."

Reach Out. Whether by joking with coworkers, seeking out caregiver support services, or delegating tasks when you know you've overwhelmed, broadening your own network of support can make you stronger, more dependable support for those in need. Simply getting together after work once per week with friends or with coworkers—those with an innate understanding of the issues you're struggling with can be especially helpful—for a drink or a movie at home can serve as an important outlet for stress.

Take Time For You. In any high-pressure job, the occasional accumulation of frustrations is inevitable. That's why you have personal time and vacation days—and you should use it. Take a day for yourself every now and then, and make it as much of an escape from the routine as possible. You'll come back refreshed, and ready for another day.

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