Preventing Compassion Fatigue


Preventing Compassion Fatigue




Burnout is a more common term for many forms of compassion fatigue.  Originally stemming from fields that work with chronically ill people (social work, counseling, nursing), it is a type of secondary post traumatic stress.  In other words, the stress and “muck” from other people wear off on caregivers as they heal them, especially psychologically and spiritually.  A balance tips at some point where the care of the other overwhelms the workers (pastor’s) care for self and the worker quickly becomes depleted.

Anyone in caring ministry, whether ordained, paid or volunteer need to guard against this, especially following traumatic incidents such as the Theater Shooting, Suicide Attempts, Accidents, and other routine drama that picks up in intensity for extended periods of time.

Did Jesus experience “compassion fatigue”?

–       Fell asleep in back of boat.

–       Departed to lonely places.

–       Cried, not my will but your’s be done.

While it is very speculative, exhaustion can be seen in some of Jesus’ life as well as many of his disciples.



Factors in Burnout

The following comprise a list of factors that tend to lead to worker burnout:


–       Unchallenging work

–       Monotonous routines

–       Lack of Client Change

–       One-Way Relationship

–       Perfectionism

–       Need for Approval

–       Lack of Feedback

–       Low Salary

–       Difficult Populations

–       Unrealistic Expectations

–       Need to Control Others

–       Overworked

–       Poor Boundaries

–       Pressure from Supervisors

–       Personal Problems

Many of these youth workers face routinely.  Often not knowing when to say no or step back they get burnt out.


Sx of burnout

Symptoms of Burnout Include:

–       Boredom

–       Irritability

–       Hopelessness

–       Rigidity

–       Mental health issues

–       Substance abuse issues

–       Negativity

–       Withdrawal

–       Not wanting to go to work

–       Poor Judgment

–       Low energy

–       Absences from work

–       Physical illnesses


Jesus Took Care of Himself! So Should We:

Jesus spent “alone time with the Father”

Luke 5:26

–       and he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed


Mark 1:35

–       and in the morning, getting a great while before the day, he went out, and departed into a solitary and there prayed


Luke 6:12

–       and it came to pass hose days, that he went into a mountain to prayed. 


How You can Prevent Burnout

–       Hobbies

–       A life outside of work

–       Spirituality

–       Family Friend time

–       Sense of Humor

–       Management of Workload

–       Healthy Boundaries

–       Change jobs at times

–       Consultation from other professionals  (Simply Soul Care)

–       Support from outside the workplace

–       Variety of work

–       Schedule breaks and free time

–       Be positive rather than negative

–       Deal with issues instead of letting them build up

One Response to Preventing Compassion Fatigue

  1. Pingback: The stress that is youth ministry (2) | Youth Leaders Academy

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