It's ok to be not ok

Feeling numb to suffering? You may have compassion fatigue

Shutterstock

This year you might be hearing the term “compassion fatigue” for the first time.

Shutterstock

“Secondary traumatic stress,” as it’s more formally known, is most commonly documented among healthcare workers, like Intensive Care Unit Doctors or psychologists.

Shutterstock

But as the news cycle gets faster and more global atrocities can be written about or broadcasted — especially now, as people around the world face a pandemic — it’s easier to feel compassion fatigue.

Shutterstock

Symptoms of compassion fatigue include feelings of hopelessness, physical and mental fatigue, and most commonly: A numbness or learned indifference to suffering, Charles Figley, the founder of Tulane University’s Traumatology, told Inverse.

The American Psychological Association has listed ways to stave off compassion fatigue.

Here are a few of those tips.

Shutterstock

Practice basic self care. This isn’t about expensive spa days or skincare products, but making sure you’re getting adequate sleep, staying hydrated, being physically active, and finding ways to relax or socialize (even if it’s a video chat with friends).

Shutterstock

It’s important to remember that self care is not selfish.

Shutterstock

“Put your own oxygen mask on before helping others,” says psychologist Amy M. Williams, PhD, of the Henry Ford Health System, in an article from the APA.

Shutterstock

Create community. In times of strife, it’s important to have a strong support network. In the days of social distancing, this could mean a regular video chat hangout or meeting up safely outdoors in a park.

Shutterstock

Focus on the wins. Read optimistic takes on vaccine development or stories about strangers helping strangers.

Read more mental health stories here.

Share