COVID Crisis: What Is 'Compassion Fatigue' & How To Help Yourself Through It

COVID Crisis: What Is 'Compassion Fatigue' & How To Help Yourself Through It
USA Today

Thanks to social media and its immense reach, we’ve been able to foster solidarity and fellow feelings consistently at a time when a pandemic is raging across our country and claiming lives daily. It is because of the immense power of social media that citizens have been able to get access to resources, helplines as well as emotional support during such difficult times. However, this kind of support has come with a price. Many people actively using social media to help others have gradually become overwhelmed with calls, texts and requests for help, leading many to burn out. Even people who aren’t actively helping, but are regularly being exposed to COVID-related information have succumbed to anxiety and incapacitation.

We want to remind them that it is okay to switch off and take a break. It is okay if you want to stop helping others for a while and look after yourself. We call this ‘compassion fatigue’. It is the strain that results from helping or wanting to help people who are going through trauma, care and suffering.

Signs of ‘compassion fatigue’ can include:



Unexplained anxiety

Chronic pain & emotional exhaustion


Feelings of self-contempt

Headaches & stomach problems

If you begin to feel this way, try the following:

Decrease the amount of news or media you are consuming

Be mindful of how you spend your time

Participate in activities that help you feel grounded and safe, and make a list of things you are grateful for. Add to the list everyday.

Be better at setting boundaries, it’s okay to say no and honour your own needs.

Understand that your life is more than just your role as a caretaker.

Make time to connect with the people you love; consider joining a group.

If none of this works, consider getting help. Sometimes talking to a friend informally is enough; sometimes, seeking professional help is better. You don’t have to deal with this alone.

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