Let me tell you a story about my friend, Sarah. Sarah is a kind-hearted person who cares deeply about the world around her. She’s always been interested in current events and spends a lot of time watching the news. However, lately, she’s been feeling sad and overwhelmed by everything that’s going on in the world. Every time she turns on the news, she sees stories about violence, poverty, and injustice. It’s taking a toll on her mental health, and she’s not sure what to do about it.
Many people are experiencing what’s called “empathy fatigue” or “compassion fatigue.” But what exactly is empathy, and why does feeling compassion make us feel drained?
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It’s what makes us human and allows us to connect with others on a deeper level. However, being an empathetic person can also take a toll on us. When we constantly absorb the emotions of others, it can lead to emotional exhaustion and feeling drained.
So, what is compassion fatigue? It’s a type of burnout that occurs when we’re exposed to the suffering of others for an extended period of time. It’s common among healthcare professionals, social workers, and anyone who works in a helping profession. But it can also affect anyone who has a high level of empathy.
If you’re feeling emotionally drained, it’s important to take care of yourself. Here are some tips that I work with from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) that can help:
- Practice self-care: Take time for yourself every day. This can be as simple as taking a walk, reading a book, or taking a bath. Whatever helps you relax and recharge.
- Set boundaries: It’s okay to say no to things that drain your energy. Learn to set boundaries and prioritize your own needs.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is a technique that helps you stay present in the moment. It can help you manage stress and reduce anxiety.
- Seek support: Talk to a therapist or a trusted friend about how you’re feeling. It’s important to have a support system in place.
Remember, feeling empathy and compassion is a good thing. It’s what makes us human. But it’s also important to take care of ourselves so that we can continue to help others. If you’re feeling emotionally drained, know that you’re not alone. With the right tools and support, you can overcome compassion fatigue and find balance in your life. Contact us if you need support to manage your fatigue.