Compassion fatigue is real. It is becoming increasingly important for all of us to be attentive to its presence and its effects on our staff and organizations. Providing support and a safe place to explore and examine compassion fatigue is a vital part of maintaining the health and well being of any care-giving organization. Organizations that tend to the physical, emotional and spiritual health of their employees notice an increase in staff retention as well as a ‘trickle-down’ effect that results in improved client care and overall client and family satisfaction. Learning the signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue as well as tools for effective self care significantly enhances the health of human beings – clinical staff, management, clients and family members.
I Am Not Alone
An Oasis for Caregivers
“If you come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
On a conscious level as caregivers, we have made a choice and agreed to be present for those who are suffering and in need of help. And that choice, whether we are aware of it or not, is also a commitment to being changed by the work we do.
Many of us on a daily basis are confronted with the uncertainty of life through caring for those who are physically ill. Others of us tend to those whose lives are altered because of abuse, loss or mental illness. Some of us tend to those who are dying and their families. And others of us work with children, elderly or animals. Regardless of how we have chosen to serve, we chose with the deep desire to make a difference; and on a daily basis, we do make that difference.
In the midst of caring for others, however, it is easy to lose sight of how our lives are affected by the daily exposure to those in need. While caregiving is rewarding, it is also demanding and often painful. The emotional, spiritual and physical repercussions of caring for others are real and contribute to compassion fatigue. I Am Not Alone is a both a retreat and an exploration. We will explore how we are affected by those we serve on a daily basis. There will be time to reflect on the gifts and challenges of being a caregiver. We will use writing, sharing, quiet and nature throughout the day. I Am Not Alone is a sacred space for introspection, rest, contemplation and connection with self and others.
What Happened to My Life?
Healing from and Prevention of Compassion Fatigue
Fatigue from caring for others affects the quality of our lives, our families, friends and loved ones. As people who have chosen to be caregivers, it is clear we have a desire to help and be of service. For most caregivers it means we also come to the work of caregiving by way of being trained by culture, family or religion, etc., to put others before ourselves. Many of us have an overdeveloped sense of needing to help and underdeveloped sense of one’s own life and happiness. If you sense you are suffering from compassion fatigue, it is likely you are.
Becoming aware of compassion fatigue is the first step in dealing with and preventing it. We will define compassion fatigue and look at its symptoms. What Happened to My Life? is an opportunity to begin the life-changing journey of sustainable self care. We will explore cultural, spiritual and personal beliefs that serve as blocks to self care and personal commitment. There will be time for reflection, exploration and connection. In the company of others, we will begin the journey of authentic self care.