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The Cost of Caring

By Pamela Spivey posted 04-21-2020 13:18


heart_light.jpgThe Cost of Caring

I have been a nurse for 36 years and I’ve never seen anything like Covid-19. My colleagues in healthcare are working more hours, with little to no rest, and often not going home to their family to decrease the spread of the virus. This tireless work will take its toll over time. Figley (1982) described  this “cost of caring" for others in emotional and physical pain - Compassion Fatigue.

Compassion Fatigue is a combination of physical, emotional, and spiritual depletion associated with the trauma-related work we do where people or animals are in significant emotional pain and/or physical distress

Professionals especially vulnerable to Compassion Fatigue include nurses, emergency care workers, counsellors, mental health professionals, healthcare professionals, clergy, advocate volunteers, and human service workers.  If you ever feel as though you are losing your sense of self to the clients you serve, you may be suffering from compassionate fatigue.

There are a few strategies you can use to help during these uncertain times. Ask yourself the following questions and decide what you can do. Then share them with your staff and colleagues so they can benefit too.

Schedule a regular check in, every day.
  • How am I doing?
  • What things do I have control over?
  • What things do I not have control over?
  • What stress relief strategies do I enjoy? (walking, sleeping well or going for a massage)
  • What stress resiliency strategies can I use? Stress resiliency strategies are relaxation methods that we develop and practice regularly, such as meditation, yoga or breathing exercises

 Here are a few extras I like to call:

Compassion Boosters

Breathe deeply                                Laugh

Journal                                            Take a brisk walk

Stretch                                             Talk to a trusted friend

Eat a nutritious snack                    Practice Letting Go ritual (I sing to the song “Let it Go” from Frozen😊)

Meditate/pray                                 Read a favorite quote or Mission statement

Listen to music (create your own uplifting playlist)


Be well and Stay well.





04-23-2020 23:04

Love(!) the notion of 'compassion boosters' - Thank you for inviting the community into a space of support

04-21-2020 19:44

@Pamela Spivey, thank you for this lovely blog post. Your tips for a check in are so helpful​ - concrete and easy to do.