5 Ways to Prevent Animal Welfare Compassion Fatigue
5 WAYS TO PREVENT COMPASSION FATIGUE
BY JULIE SQUIRES
Animal welfare burnout and compassion fatigue are very real problems that affect every shelter. Here are 5 simple ways to help prevent compassion fatigue and minimize stress.
1. CELEBRATE THE WIN
You’re in animal welfare to help animals. So, don’t cheat yourself out of the rewards–celebrate those adoptions and success stories. Share the emails and pictures, have a dance party, start meetings with successes, be creative in finding ways to recognize the impact you and your organization are having.
2. KEEP YOUR TANK FILLED
We get compassion fatigue when we care deeply and neglect our own needs. Just like your car, you can’t run on an empty tank. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself so you can better help others. Get outside, meditate, exercise, take time to prepare healthy meals, read for fun or take an art class. Make time to refill yourself often. This is not optional.
3. MONITOR YOUR EXPOSURE TO TRAUMA
Working in animal welfare exposes you to a lot of trauma, such as neglect and abuse of animals. Trauma exposure over time can cause com-passion fatigue. Be selective where else in your life you are also exposed to trauma, such as social media and unfollow or disconnect from those pages or groups.
4. MANAGE YOUR MIND
Your unhappiness is not coming from the situations; it’s coming from your thinking. Start paying attention to what you’re thinking and don’t believe it all, much of it is not true. Ask yourself “How can I see this differently?” whenever you feel stuck in negativity.
5. LEARN TO LET GO
There will always be things that we don’t like, that don’t go the way we want, and we can choose to expend our energy fighting against reality (don’t bother!) or let it go. Letting go doesn’t mean we have to like it, it just means we stop resisting reality and accept it is what it is. You can use your breath to breathe in what’s troubling you and let it go on the exhale. Repeat as necessary. Every day.
JULIE SQUIRES | ReKindle Solutions
Julie is a Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist and Coach who brings a unique perspective and approach to support the sustained energy and passion of animal workers. She does this in a very distinct way, by empowering them to help themselves through easy-to-implement yet powerful practices and insights. Julie offers on-site compassion fatigue trainings as well as private coaching. Julie has over twenty years of experience within the veterinary industry leading organizations, developing and executing training, workshops and 1:1 coaching. She is a graduate of SUNY Oswego and a Certified Fatigue Specialist through Traumatology Institute. Julie lives in New York’s Hudson valley with her husband John, pugs Ernie & Mabel, and their two cats, Gregg & Duane.