Compassion Fatigue


Compassion fatigue is a term used to describe the overwhelming feelings that often come when you dedicate yourself caring for people, animals, or achieving social change. Compassion for others and passion for change can drive you to work in intense, stressful environments on a daily basis often with little support. This consistent level of stress can take a significant toll on one’s physical, mental, emotional, and relationship health. 

Signs of Compassion Fatigue

​The signs of compassion fatigue are varied, but frequently include:

  • ​Physical and mental exhaustion
  • Poor self-care such as poor hygiene, habitual unhealthy eating, lack of exercise
  • Use of alcohol, drugs, spending, gambling, food, or sex to cope
  • Recurring nightmares or flashbacks related to caring for others
  • Frequently voicing and receiving criticism
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Isolation from others
  • Chronic physical complaints such as stomach problems or frequent colds
  • Apathy towards those you serve
  • Frequent sadness, anger, or anxiety
  • Denial of problems

Who is Likely to Experience Compassion Fatigue?

​Careers that frequently experience compassion fatigue include nursing, disaster relief, emergency management, first responding, teaching, social work, community activism, animal welfare, foster care, elder care, and social services.

If you are experiencing signs of compassion fatigue, or believe the employees or volunteers at your organization are struggling, contact us.  We can help.