When we are wide open, and constantly giving outwardly, we can feel depleted. Perhaps you have experienced times when you feel you have nothing more to give. Perhaps you have experienced a bit of personal trauma from being overly and continuously exposed to the suffering of others (known as secondary trauma). These feelings, left unattended, can lead to things such as burnout and compassion fatigue. Burnout and Compassion Fatigue are real experiences. Importantly, they are reversible.
Compassion Fatigue is characterized by emotional and physical exhaustion, and minimizes our ability to tap into compassion and empathy for another. It can arise when we are giving from a place of depletion. Care-giving, whether in health care, education, at home, or elsewhere, can feel overwhelming and exhausting at times. Healthy care-giving requires self-awareness and taking good care of oneself. It also requires knowing our limits, finding balance, healthy and wholesome boundaries, and placing ourselves back on the priority list of meeting our needs, learning to be kind to self, and having some fun.
A care-giving role can include many different roles, for example: medical professionals, teachers, parents, healing practitioners, highly empathic people, and more!