Sunday, November 25, 2012

Barbara's Sunday Visit ~ Taking Care of Yourself!

Join me in giving Barbara another warm and cozy welcome as she makes her monthly visit with us!  

This post comes at a perfect time as we wind down one holiday and quickly gear up for a few more.

Make Wellness A Priority by Barbara Gruener

Happy holidays from The Corner on Character. I hope that this time of the year finds you taking good care of yourself so that you can thoroughly enjoy the festivities of the season. Those of us in the helping profession may have to take extra measures to assure that we don't succumb to compassion stress, burnout or fatigue. I recently attended a training on Resilience and came away with some important information and insights.

1. Know these critical distinctions and definitions:

Occupational Burnout – Plain old job burnout stems from dissatisfaction with the work environment. (Figley, 2011) 
Psychological Burnout – The experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in one’s work that is often corrected by changing work settings or clients. (Altman & Jackson, 2005)
Compassion Stress – The perceived demands derived from experiencing the suffering of others and wanting to help relieve this in some way. (Figley, 1995; 2005) 
Compassion Fatigue  The experience of short-term exhaustion and traumatic stress reactions associated with exposure to the suffering of one’s clients. (Boscarino, Figley, & Adams 2004) The weariness that comes from caring. (Johnson, 1997)

Compassion Satisfaction – The perceived joys derived from experiencing the suffering of others and succeeding in helping relieve it in some way. (Figley, 2002)

2. Assess your level of compassion satisfaction against your propensity for burnout or fatigue. Visit the ProQOL Measure website {here} to take the self-test.
3. Create a self-care action plan. Think of one to three specific ways in which you can care for yourself in these six areas.
Physically?  I will take a three-mile walk at least 3X weekly.
Socially? I will attend a monthly girls night out.
Emotionally? I will make daily entries in my blessings book.
Financially? I will put $50.00 in an emergency fund each week.
Spiritually? I will pause at noon each day to meditate or pray.
Intellectually? I will read for professional growth twice weekly.

Self-reflection questions to guide your plan:  What are you already doing that you will continue to do? What can you change and/or do differently?

Make a commitment and share your plan with a self-care accountability buddy. Then, do it! Keep a log so that you can celebrate successes; the better you are to yourself, the more you'll have to give to others. 

Here's to a joy-filled and fatigue-free holiday.

Thanks for those awesome ideas, Barbara!  I really love the Self-Care quote.  It's so easy for us to let that slide.  I know I need to step back and get a plan in action now.  How about you?


  1. Thanks for inviting me back! I noticed that the link didn't work, so I wanted to share the ProQOL website where you can take a self-assessment of your compassion satisfaction:

    Here's to a happy holiday!

    The Corner On Character

    1. Oops...fixed it! Thanks for the heads up!


    2. Yay - now your readers will be extra well . . . and on their way to a month of merriment!

  2. Thank you so much for posting this! I stumbled upon it on Pinterest. It is all to relevant in the classrooms!


  3. Michelle, what a great list of things teachers can do to stay fresh and sharp! I’ve taught in the classroom for many years and I know that teachers are constantly looking for books that will even change young book haters into book lovers. As a professional writer and editor I wanted to help in child literacy and in finding great books. I’m sure you have some favorites, but I began researching thousands of children's books. I chose several hundred of the most popular and placed them on a website arranged by age group and story description. You can find some of the best children's books on the site. It contains both secular and religious. The site address is if you care to check it out. If you have any questions or comments you can send them to me at