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Empathy is a part of the human conscience. Human service professionals are often more affected emotionally and physically due to the exhausting nature of their work. It requires dealing directly with affected people, interviewing them and observing on-field disaster scenarios (Griswold, 2010). All this leads to the build-up of stress, compassion fatigue and thus, to collapse. They need to understand that they cannot help everyone and their work shifts need to be normal. Social workers need self-care strategies more than any other professional as they stay away from their families and friends, thus they cannot keep optimum care of themselves. It is very important to hire them after a complete emotional assessment.
Studies have shown that proper self-care can increase satisfaction in HCPs and decrease their compassion fatigue (Alkema, Linton, & Davies, 2008). Multiple relaxation practices like sitting quietly in a place, centering and mediation have been advised by various experts to help social workers deal with their emotions. Therefore, strategizing is necessary for social workers. There are many guides for them but spiritual, emotional self-care and maintenance of a work-life balance are the key-factors regarding improved compassion satisfaction levels in such personnel (Fahy, 2007). Wellness is something required in all aspects of a person’s life, not just an absence of illness. In other words, these healthy behaviors do not help in just this area of life, they can be beneficial in all aspects of the personality of an individual.
I am known to extend my work hours when stressed and trying to do a lot more than what is expected of me. Both these can lead to increased stress and compassion fatigue. Creating a journal and practicing meditation or centering activities will help me refocus and take care of myself. I can keep a check on my work hours and talk to a friend or family to get the encouragement for what I have done rather than living under what I couldn’t do. It will help me become better help to these people while taking care of myself.
Alkema, K., Linton, J. M., & Davies, R. (2008). A study of the relationship between self-care, compassion satisfaction, compassion fatigue, and burnout among hospice professionals. Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care, 4(2), 101-119.
Fahy, A. (2007). The unbearable fatigue of compassion: Notes from a substance abuse counselor who dreams of working at Starbuck’s. Clinical Social Work Journal, 35(3), 199-205.
Griswold, J. M. (2010). Contemplative Practices in Human Services Education. New Directions for Community Colleges, 151, 65-75.
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