Keeping Healthy during Coronavirus
and beyond

Because caring for yourself
is caring for others….

With the increased risk of COVID-19 and all the changes it has brought, not only to our workplace but to our lives, Levante wants to support its staff as they serve those most at risk in our communities: our seniors. Given the uncertainty of this pandemic, it is normal for healthcare workers to feel worried and transform that worry into action, especially when it is geared toward helping others. When these actions are sustained over time, without self-care, frontline staff are often in danger of over working at the expense of their own health.

We all know that the best thing we can do for our seniors (and our own families) is to care for ourselves. Making sure we are physically healthy and mentally resilient allows us to offer the best care to those around us. Whether you work on the front lines of healthcare, in housekeeping, laundry, dietary, or maintenance, we hope this webpage and the resources you find here will help you stay informed, take action, maintain healthy social connections and ultimately support your journey toward optimum mental and physical wellbeing during this time of pandemic and beyond.

To Levante Staff: Thanks for all you do!

If you are a frontline health service provider and would like to contact a psychologist at no cost, please visit the Canadian Psychological Association

Compassion Fatigue

What is it? Do I have it? What can I do to help myself or others?

Compassion Fatigue manifests through the physical and mental exhaustion and emotional withdrawal experienced by those who care for the sick, traumatized, or even their own family members, over an extended period of time. People with this kind of fatigue often describe a gradual negative shift in their world view and a preoccupation with the illness of others. They may experience ongoing stress and burnout, affecting their ability to be effective in their jobs and relate to their loved ones and friends.

Are you feeling overwhelmed lately? Know someone who does? Then its worth watching this video to gain additional insight into compassion fatigue and you can do to help yourself and others.

Eight Common Compassion Fatigue Indicators

  • Chronic Physical Exhaustion or Physical Ailments: This symptom can manifest in both physical and emotional forms and is a key indicator. No matter how much rest or sleep a person gets, if they’re experiencing compassion fatigue, they will still feel emotionally and physically exhausted. This symptom might also show up as chronic headaches, joint pain, neck and shoulder pain, stomach issues. The body will react differently in different people.
  • Reduced Sympathy/Empathy: This symptom has a large impact on a provider’s ability to relate and empathize with their patients or family members. This in turn may result in a sharp decrease in the level of care they’re able to offer.
  • Feelings of Anger or Emotional Outbursts: Due to a combination of long work hours and a lack of sleep, compassion fatigue victims may experience a low simmer of constant anger, despite a lack of any “usual” cause. Anger or frustration may “erupt” over small or large interruptions or provocations.
  • Dreading Work: The job a provider once loved may now feel like a drain on their emotional and physical well – being, making getting out of bed in the morning an arduous task.
  • Feeling like you need to Escape: Persistent feeling that you need to get away from it all. That if you don’t something terrible will happen. The need for isolation. Substance abuse is a common substitution for self care in caregivers who feel that they can’t escape their lives.
  • Hypersensitivity: Minute, every – day comments may be enough to tip a provider over the edge if they’re suffering from compassion fatigue. Constructive criticism and even compliments — no matter how well meant — can feel harsh and unwelcome.
  • Poor Work Life Balance: The sensation that all you are doing is work. Of being overworked and taxed all the time. These are indicators of poor work – life balance. People who are “taskers’ are at risk here. Important aspects of self – care — like exercise, family time, and other hobbies — can become neglected and lead to ongoing compassion fatigue.
  • Difficulty Sleeping: As would be expected, all of these stressors can make it difficult to sleep. In turn, a lack of good rest can exacerbate the sensations of hopelessness and overall dissatisfaction.

Ways to Care for Yourself if You are Suffering from Compassion Fatigue

If you’ve done any research on Compassion Fatigue, you know that healing begins with awareness: recognizing and acknowledging you are in distress. If you answered yes to 4 or more of the above Compassion Fatigue Indicators, then congratulations! — you just became aware of what is going on inside you. The next step is figuring out what you need to live well. The video above mentions several ways to cultivate wellbeing: seek help through counseling, create boundaries, recognize you do no need to save everyone, practice mindfulness meditation, change the looping messages you hear, strengthen your resiliency. There are many self care to-do lists. Part of your job on the road to recovery is figuring out what you need to heal.  If you are an introvert, you may need more time alone. If you are an extrovert, you may need more quality time with others. As you research, listen to what resonates with you and take steps to craft these things into your life. Why? Because you are worth it and deserve to live a beautiful, whole, life.

The following links have been carefully curated by Levante’s professional colleagues and are designed to help our staff, whether they are nurses, PSW’s working in housekeeping or dietary, work through the emotional health issues that can arise when you are busy taking care of others.

Compassion Fatigue Resources

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“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” — Eleanor Brown