Get Rid of Unending Fatigue with These Four Powerful Types of Rest

Resting is not about being unmotivated but rather it is one of the best self-care tools to rejuvenate and restore your energy. Healthcare workers and helpers are experiencing compassion fatigue, burnout and vicarious trauma at alarming rates. For this reason alone, rest is more important than ever. Remember, you are worthy of and deserve rest. The more you take care of you, the better you can help others. I will discuss four different types of rest and why you need to practice all of them.

Mental Rest

Our minds were created to think, this is just what the brain does. There is no way to stop your thoughts but you can choose which thoughts you will entertain. Too much thinking about what you should do, all or nothing thinking, or imaging the worst case scenario, can burn you out. When you notice these types of faulty thoughts, stop and refocus the mind on something neutral or positive.

Schedule short breaks throughout your day. Some ways to rest your mind are gazing out the window, going for a short walk or taking a few, conscious deep breaths.

Shut off your phone and social media shortly after dinner. Electronics can overstimulate the mind and cause sensory overload, especially to a mind that has been working overtime all day. Set a shut off schedule and keep to it.

Physical Rest

Are you pushing your body beyond its limits? Many empathic helpers do. Your body speaks to you in many ways through pain, tension and even illness. Learn to listen to your body’s signals and respond in a compassionate way to yourself.

Spend time relaxing and doing nothing. I know this feels lazy especially when you have so much to do but your physical body will thank you for it. If you are not getting adequate sleep, take a nap or lay down for fifteen to twenty minutes. During this time you can focus on your breath or listen to soothing music.

Emotional Rest

Emotional rest is essential for empathic helpers and artists, who people please. When your focus is outwardly directed on feelings, you can have a tendency to absorb too much energy from other people.

You need periods of downtime and solitude. Use this time to connect to your inner most feelings. Write in a journal or simply identify what you are feeling in this moment right now. Also, connect with emotionally supportive people, therapy or healers to help you restore your energy.

Spiritual Rest

Spiritual rest is important for those who connect to the world of spirit. Without proper clearing, protection and channeling techniques, an empathic helper can suffer.

Make time to meditate. Focus on all of those people who accept, love and support you unconditionally throughout your life. Take in this positive energy. Some other ways to restore are pondering about your life purpose, spending time in prayer, attending a silent retreat and walking amongst nature.

You may also be interested in 7 Simple Ways to Calm an Over Stimulated Mind or Important Information About How Your Senses Get Overloaded

What will you do to rest mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually?

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

Compassionate People Need Boundaries Now More Than Ever

Boundaries are essential for those people who have big hearts and a desire to help others. As we approach the one year mark since the COVID-19 pandemic began, continuing political unrest, and an awakening of multiple injustices, our society needs all hands on deck.

When I write about the word boundary, I am describing a professional or personal limit. Some examples of professional boundaries are mindfully self-disclosing, leaving work at work and taking your vacation time. Personal limits are your self-care and self-compassion practices. Whether your boundaries are personal or professional, they all represent self-care and self-compassion.

Warning Signs

Stress symptoms indicate a need to increase your boundaries. Stress manifests itself physically (headaches, muscle tension, digestive disorders), emotionally (irritability, restlessness, concentration problems), in relationship with others (communication difficulties or avoiding others), and through behaviors (overeating, increased use of alcohol or drugs). These resulting experiences can set off more stress, leading you into a vicious cycle.

Little or no boundaries can contribute to burnout, illness, and even addiction. Stress is not a sign of failure but rather a warning or indication self-care needs to be increased. Stress reminds us, we are human and we have limits. You can learn how to manage it and feel better.

When You Care Too Much

Too much empathy is not a good thing for compassionate people. Too much sympathy, or working with empathy without proper boundaries drains helpers of energy. This makes you vulnerable to compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and burnout.

Compassion fatigue develops when you care too much and lack boundaries. Empaths often suffer from this type of fatigue when they cannot separate their energy from others. This over connection, leads to exhaustion. It can prevent you from empathizing or having compassion, towards others and even yourself. To remedy compassion fatigue, any personal energy management technique will work well. A starting point you may consider is the book I created, I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers. You could also benefit from assertiveness training, boundary setting and cognitive therapy.

Vicarious trauma– During and after a trauma or period of intense stress, such as living through a pandemic, it is normal to feel shell-shocked and reactive. We have been and are still going through a lot. For some compassionate people, it is traumatizing to hear about others trauma or too much trauma all day long. You may experience the symptoms of posttraumatic stress, even though you have not directly witnessed the trauma. For example, you may experience nightmares, flashbacks or memories of the trauma you heard about. There are several treatments to help you process and integrate trauma. Some are talk therapy, expressive arts therapy or EMDR. (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). Trauma will not go away on its own.

Burnout is the physical and emotional exhaustion compassionate people experience when they have low job satisfaction, feel powerless and overwhelmed at work. This can result from too much work or not enough support from higher ups in the organization you work for. Some people change jobs or their line of work and find burnout goes away. This is different from compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma, which would not lessen with a job change. Some other causes of burnout and compassion fatigue can result from perfectionism or being overly involved with other people’s issues. Cognitive therapy works well with this type of thinking.

In order to prevent or decrease cases of burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious traumatization among compassionate people, it is important to receive education on the signs and symptoms of each. This increases your awareness and allows you to recognize any early warning signs. The next step is reaching out to a professional psychotherapist to help you learn the skills to protect, restore and rejuvenate your personal energy.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net

Check out my YouTube Channel: Lisa Hutchison LMHC

4 Easy Ways to Refill Your Cup

How do you recharge and rejuvenate your energies after a long day caring for others? 

I spent many days coming home from work, exhausted on the couch. I would tune out from my hectic day by switching on the TV. Weekends were spent much the same way with the dreaded Sunday afternoon and night thinking, I have to go back to work. I didn’t see a way out of this pattern.

My body began to break down. I became sick and tired physically, mentally and spiritually. I hit my rock bottom with this way of living and decided; enough is enough. I did research, consulted healers, found what depleted my energy and what rejuvenated it. Things began to turn around when I learned how to fill my cup.

4 Easy Ways to Refill Your Cup (1)

1. Become aware

This takes some time and practice, as the society we live in does not support introspection. I recently heard; why are introverts told to speak up yet extroverts are not told to listen more? The point is you cannot change who you are. Whether you are introverted, extroverted or a combination known as ambivert, each energy is needed to create the beautiful world we live in.

Learn what kind of personality you have and become mindful of your present moment. When you witness what is happening within your body and around you, you become empowered to make healthier choices about your energy.

2. Learn how to identify and put your experience into words

Many helpers are outwardly focused on how others feel. Often you ask; what can I do to make you feel better? In order to refill, you need to turn some of that compassionate focus around.

You cannot solve a problem, you cannot name. Sometimes you don’t even know what questions to ask yourself to turn this problem around. I had this issue when I was stuck in the work-fatigue cycle. Start to journal each day, even briefly. This helps you connect within and write out what you are thinking and feeling. You can speak it, but there is a power in seeing your truth in the written word.

3. Plan to protect your energy

As a compassionate helper, it is important to learn how to protect your energies from people, places and situations. There are numerous ways to do this. Once you find what works for you, implement these strategies into your schedule each day.

4. Find ways to maintain your energy

What gives you energy and fuels your passion? Look at what is working in your life. These activities and people will help you rejuvenate your energies.

Lastly, learn about and buy this new Amazon bestseller I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers. 

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Whether you are feeling disconnected and depleted or are already connected and looking for new ways to increase your energy awareness, this journal provides lots of easy ways to recharge and rejuvenate your energy. Filled with helpful suggestions, writing prompts and space to journal your thoughts, you will generate problem solving for this common issue many helpers face.

Here’s what inside:

How to Use this Journal

The Energy Scale

Are you an Ambivert, Extrovert or Introvert?

Writing Prompts

Plans to Protect or Rejuvenate Your Energy

Ways to Maintain Your Energy

Plus, you get ten to eleven weeks of space to journal and record your observations.

This makes a great gift for friends, family and other loved ones, of course do not forget to include yourself!

BUY yours first and then get one for a friend on Amazon.com

LisaHutchisonLMHC

Lisa Hutchison LMHC is the bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers, a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She specializes in working with professionals who often get drained from their helping efforts, recharge and rejuvenate their energies. Lisa’s psychological advice has been featured in Reader’s Digest and The Huffington Post. http://www.lisahutchison.net

What helpers like you need to know about burnout

What helpers like you need to know about burnout (3)

 

Helpers and first responders often believe that they can push through irritation and emotional pain. You soldier on despite multiple systems in your body screaming out for you to stop. Some of these warning signs are unending fatigue, sleep difficulties, appetite changes, concentration problems, anxiety, depression, increased illnesses and anger.

As an empathic helper, you are going to experience work or help related stress due to caring so much. When that stress is combined with a lack of self- care and a lack of support more serious stress reactions can occur such as burnout, compassion fatigue and vicarious traumatization.

Compassion fatigue and burnout arises from too much work, or as many people say burning the candle at both ends. Empathic helpers often absorb other’s pain and take it with them into their home life. Too much sympathy or working with empathy without proper boundaries drains helpers of energy and leads to burnout. In a study of 216 hospice care nurses from 22 hospices across the state of Florida it was found that, “Trauma, anxiety, life demands, and excessive empathy (leading to blurred professional boundaries) were key determinants of compassion fatigue risk in the multiple regression model that accounted for 91 % (P< .001) of the variance in compassion fatigue risk.” (Abendroth & Flannery 2006).

Vicarious traumatization can happen when you absorb the psychological material of your client who has experienced trauma. You feel the trauma in your own energetic system as PTSD symptoms such as intrusive thoughts, irritability and startle responses. This is why it is important to hold the energetic boundaries and seek supervision or your own counseling. If you are experiencing increased anxiety, startle responses or irritation, after your work with a client ask yourself; is this my trauma or yours?

What can a compassionate helper do?

  • You need to limit your use of empathy. Yes, there can be too much of a good thing.  Empathy is one tool a helper uses in combination with other techniques to ensure client growth. At times you may need to use more directive or instructional types of methods rather than an all-out holding of the space for another.
  •  Be aware and recognize that trauma and stress are running the show. When you notice a change in your mood and thoughts, review your day and think about who you were with and what was discussed.
  • Self- Care. All empathic helpers need a self-care regime that refills and recharges your energy. Relaxation and energy increasing activities will balance out the fatigue you are experiencing. Grounding through the use of mindfulness can keep your focus in the present moment.
  • Seek psychotherapy with an empathic therapist who can help you with burnout and trauma. Going to a therapist who knows trauma, work stress and energy work can make a world of difference for yourself and your clients.
  •  Get this workbook for yourself and your clients. I have found this to be a valuable resource that I use with my clients: The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms Workbook Edition by Mary Beth Williams (Author), Soili Poijula (Author) Some of the chapters include: Before Doing the Work: Safety, Security and Intention and Helping Yourself When You Re-experience a Trauma. (As an amazon affiliate I receive a small portion of the sale when you buy after clicking the above link, without any addition cost to you. Thank you for choosing this method of purchasing.) 

References:

Abendroth, M., & Flannery, J. (2006). Predicting the risk of compassion fatigue: A study of hospice nurses. Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing, 8(6), 346-356.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC works for empathic healers who feel drained after their helping efforts, refill and recharge their energy with intuitive counseling and angel card readings. For more information visit her website at www.lisahutchison.net, while you are there take advantage of the free gift 8 Simple Things that Release Chaos from Your Life Now!