Compassion Fatigue: A Secondhand Stress That You Do Not Need.

woman in ocean

Too numb to care?

You reach a peak of physical and emotional exhaustion to the point that you lose the ability to empathize with other people. You get tired of suffering from secondary stress and being stressed about other people’s stress. You just lost it all.

Not being able to bring your best self to work, or any situation is just one of the scenarios when you are going through compassion fatigue.

Employers commonly see these stress response behaviours as a weakness or a problem.

That is not true. It is not because you are not well-trained. There is nothing wrong with you. You just drained your energy and battery to be able to deliver or perform.

You have no more compassion left, and you just got tired of caring.You think there is something wrong with you… But the truth is, you actually just have been too giving…

We are all working under stressful deadlines, whether you are a policeman, fireman, a nurse, a physician, or anyone in a high-stress position, or career. Some factors like short staffing, personal difficulties at home, and everything else add to the complexity of these challenges.

For example, those working in Emergency Medical Services experience people with medical challenges day in and day out.  They enter this profession to help people. You have a deep desire to have them experience the best life, but you cannot control their outcomes.  With the constant demand of you to give each day, you find yourself at a point when you have nothing left to give.


So what can we do to protect ourselves from compassion fatigue?

Be aware of the warning signs:

  • Have you started to feel like you are losing that empathy for the people you care for?

  • Have you become disconnected in the workplace or with people you care about?

  • Have you stopped taking care of yourself?  You don’t eat right. You don’t sleep well.

  • How do you react when you’re stressed?

Is it time for you to recharge?  Here are some thoughts:

  • Reach out for help. Talk to a professional,  talk to a friend, talk to your Human Resources. Let them know you are struggling.

  • Manage your expectations; just because you are no longer in the situation that created the demands doesn’t mean that the challenges go away.

  • Don’t make the common mistake of pushing the feeling down by suggesting that you are too busy to deal with the issues.


Yes, we are all at risk of compassion fatigue. This is the reality.  You can break from all that.

You can always claim your energy back.



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