Radical Self Care
According to Dr. Charles Figley, "Compassion Fatigue is a state experienced by those helping people or animals in distress; it is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can create a secondary traumatic stress for the helper" (2001). The definition evolved to "The experience of short-term exhaustion and traumatic stress reactions associated with exposure to the suffering of one's clients" (Boscarino, Figley, Adams, 2004).
There is so much suffering right now. There is so much fear. This can lead to exhaustion, to burnout, to sickness. But what can you do?
A lot, actually.
Start by taking care of yourself. It is time for radical self care.
At the beginning of every flight the attendant directs us to, in case of emergency, place the air over our own noses and mouths first before attending to a child. This is because we cannot properly care for others if we, ourselves, are not properly cared for.
This is so important; you are so needed right now--you're needed to be the very best you that you can be. The world needs you now, and it's gonna need you even more in the very near future.
So, what are some things you can do?
Eat healthfully. Take your vitamins and minerals and supplements. Exercise. Take your meds on time. Get a little sunshine. The basics. You know what I'm taking about. Now is the time.
But what else?
Here is a list I've compiled of things you can do to reduce stress.
Be creative: knit, quilt, draw, sing, bake, create art, write,
Connect with others: call your friends, call your family, make a play-date, spend time with loved ones, pet a dog, cuddle a cat.
Look for the positive: Make a gratitude list of things you're grateful for, create a journal where you document the positive each day, start a blog where you can help others, write a thank you note, send a birthday card, be extra nice to everyone, count your blessings.
Unwind: take a bath, read, listen to music, meditate, exercise, take the scenic route home, stretch, get a massage, brew a cup of tea, get off your device.
Exercise: run, dance, yoga, cross-fit, walk, climb a mountain.
Create good habits: organize your stuff, get up 15 minutes earlier, say no when you need to, say yes when you can, say no when you can, get enough sleep, leave 10 minutes early.
Please take the very best care of yourself. You're all we've got. The only you in existance.
And I'm grateful.
Have more radical self care suggestions? Add them below.