Natalie Harvey, MS, MFT

Adult, Adolescent, and Family Psychotherapist

My Blog

Blog

Exhausted from caring too much?

Posted on June 15, 2016 at 11:18 AM
Self-Care for Caretakers
 
The importance of filling our cups
 
 
In my years as a therapist within the Bay Area community, it has increasingly come to my attention just how many caretakers we have among us.  When you really think about it, all of us are people who take care of others…whether it be for children, animals, elders, friends, clients, students, patients, sisters, brothers, parents or anyone else who we give our energy, time, love, money, and compassion to.  Much of the time, it is such a rewarding, energizing, and meaningful position to be in.  Our compassion and hearts guide us to honor, teach, and help others, often for not much in return other than the joy of being of service to someone we care about.  To see a smile come to their face is often enough. However, it can also lead to us becoming burnt out, drained, reactive, exhausted, sick, and suffer from what has been called a secondary traumatic stress disorder accurately named “compassion fatigue”.  This leads us to a place where we are not seeing the good in much of anything and wanting to complain about mostly everything.  We feel exhausted, on edge, and depleted, desperately wanting relief.  I imagine you may be able to relate to these difficult feelings.

When we work as caregivers, it is common to get irritable and depleted.  Our work seems endless.  Caring so much can hurt.  We often feel physically, emotionally, mentally, and relationally spent. When caregivers focus on others without practicing consistent self-care, destructive behaviors can, and most likely will, surface.
 
Obviously giving to others is not bad, and is our human nature, a beautiful part of our interconnectedness.  It can feel quite wonderful to give to others, but giving at the expense of our own well-being is damaging to our own body and peace of mind. Irritability, negativity, isolation, bottled up emotions, physical illness, and substance abuse head a long list of symptoms associated with compassion fatigue
 
I am convinced that, when we are suffering, it is only natural that we don’t have much to give.  When we are thriving, we are coming from a place of having enough for ourselves and having enough for others. 
Just from my own experience, I know that when I am suffering I am not nearly as available, present, and compassionate as I am when I am taken care of.  This means that my basic needs are met and I am being kind and loving to myself.  The first and necessary step to avoiding burn out and being kind to our self is to practice being mindful.  We are constantly "do-ing" and what I am asking of you is to focus on the practice of being a little more.  Experiencing “be-ing” mode can help us feel more whole and relaxed; we move from reacting automatically to having more choices about how we respond, based on a fuller understanding and acceptance of our own sensory, physical, and emotional experience.  When we attune to our own experience we can tap into an essential guiding light that will intuitively help us respond in the most helpful way. The more gentle we can be with ourselves, the more patience and energy we will have.

While we always have the opportunity to implement more self care strategies on our own, receiving support to help guide us toward accessing our own inner and outer resources can be incredibly important.  Often times we have wounds and strategies that are barriers to nourishment.   Getting gentle attention and care to chip away at those barriers is something that a skilled therapist can help provide.  It is a huge step just recognizing that you may be suffering from compassion fatigue.  I can help support you on your way to healing and feeling more available for yourself and those who are fortunate to receive your care and attention.     


 

Categories: self-care

Post a Comment

Oops!

Oops, you forgot something.

Oops!

The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

162 Comments

Reply PaulZooft
1:14 PM on May 14, 2022 
url=http://finasteride.cfd/ says...
finasteride medicine
Reply BooZooft
9:33 PM on May 15, 2022 
url=https://atarax.shop/ says...
buy atarax 25mg
Reply LisaZooft
1:46 PM on May 16, 2022 
url=http://buytrazodone.shop/ says...
how much is trazodone cost
Reply AshZooft
11:19 PM on May 16, 2022 
url=https://azithromycin.digital/ says...
zithromax without prescription
Reply MaryZooft
2:50 PM on May 19, 2022 
url=http://buyprednisone.shop/ says...
where to buy prednisone uk
Reply WimZooft
1:16 AM on May 21, 2022 
url=http://zoloft.cfd/ says...
20 mg zoloft
Reply UgoZooft
8:05 AM on May 21, 2022 
url=http://trazodone.works/ says...
generic trazodone 100 mg
Reply MarkZooft
3:17 AM on May 23, 2022 
url=https://ivermectin.cool/ says...
how to get ivermectin
Reply BooZooft
6:18 AM on May 23, 2022 
url=https://augmentin.sale/ says...
price of augmentin 625mg
Reply MarkZooft
8:16 AM on May 25, 2022 
url=https://onlinepharmacy.boutique/ says...
best rx pharmacy online
Reply PaulZooft
7:35 PM on May 25, 2022 
url=https://lisinopril.best/ says...
100 mg lisinopril
Reply LisaZooft
7:13 PM on May 26, 2022 
url=http://bestcialispillswithoutrx.monster/ says...
cialis pills for men
Reply Smughnuth
8:42 PM on June 26, 2022 
url=https://newfasttadalafil.com/ says...
Cialis
Urnloq Cdzzxe cialis buy online Barnard himself rose rapidly through the surgical hierarchies. Niralo https://newfasttadalafil.com/ - Cialis Cialis Brand