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Strategies to Remain Healthy & Compassionate

Understand Multiple Points of Exposure

Personal vulnerabilities, socio-cultural contexts, working conditions, indirect and direct exposures to traumatic events, empathic strains, work-related traumatic grief and loss, and systems failures can lead to greater rates of stress. Over time, these multiple points of exposure can contribute to compassion fatigue and related symptoms.

Establish Your Personal Balance Map

Assess your work-life balance by taking stock of your stressors at work and home, creating self-care strategies, identifying your sources of resiliency, and making commitments to change.

Compassion Satisfaction: Remember the Rewards for Your Work

Compassion satisfaction is the pleasure you derive from being able to do your job well. Remember, share, and cherish inspiring moments that remind you of why you chose your profession.

Cultivate Support at Work and at Home

Identifying social supports at work and home can help you identify compassion fatigue warning signs and keep you accountable as you implement strategies to reduce feelings of compassion fatigue.

Use Low Impact Debriefing when Necessary

Practicing self-awareness, giving others fair warning, asking others’ permission prior to sharing with them, and limiting the graphic information you share will allow you to discuss the difficult things you see and hear while reducing this information’s impact on others.
Low Impact Debriefing Poster

Recognize Your “Must Be Nice” Reactions

The “Must Be Nice” Phenomenon is a result of compassion fatigue or workplace overload. It plays out as resentment toward our colleagues and impacts teamwork and workplace communication.

Determine Your Guidelines for Healthy Living

Eat more plants, reduce your sugar intake, and move for at least 45 minutes per day.

Try a Digital Detox

You can reduce the number of stressful distractions you encounter each day with a few simple changes in how you use your devices.

Reset: Before, During, and After Exposure

Create an Action Plan & Remain Accountable

We can all make small realistic changes that can have a powerful cumulative impact on our physical and emotional wellbeing. Start by creating a list of changes you’d like to make, anticipated obstacles, and self-care strategies you can implement when these changes seem overwhelming. Having an accountability partner will help you stay on track.

Monitor Your Warning Signs

There are physical, emotional, and behavioral signs of compassion fatigue. Creating a warning system can help you monitor your levels of compassion fatigue so you’re able to implement strategies to resolve compassion fatigue in a more timely manner.

Use the Hot, Walk, & Talk Strategy

In the aftermath of a traumatic event, assure the affected individual that they are out of danger. Take a brisk walk with them and ask about what happened prior to having them complete an incident report. Afterward, ask how you can be helpful—individuals need to have control over their choices as you attend to their needs.
Download Hot, Walk & Talk Guide

Become Trauma Informed and Know Your ACEs

Learning about the long term consequences of traumatic events and adverse childhood experiences will help you maintain compassion for your clients with trauma histories.

Learn How to Widen Your Window of Tolerance

Reflecting on your best self and your reactions to stress will help you widen your window of tolerance for responding to disclosures of stressful or traumatic events.

Don’t be Afraid to “Disappoint Someone Today”

In order to maintain integrity and compassion in the very challenging work you do, you must be honest about how much you’re able to have on your plate at any given time. In prioritizing your own needs, you may have to say “no” to requests and disappoint others—THIS IS OKAY!

Ways to Incorporate Resiliency Throughout Your Day


Stretch, take a few deep breaths, lie still for a few moments, set an intention

Prepare for Work

Sit quietly for five minutes, yoga, mindfulness, exercise, eat a healthy breakfast or make a smoothie

Going to Work

Transition ritual, listen to music, breathe, informal mindfulness

With Patients

Self-monitor emotion/body, un-mirror, mindfulness, breathe/relaxation strategies, resourcing, do strategies with patient

Between Patients

Transition ritual, documentation, prepare for the next client

Lunch/Breaks (Take Them!)

Eat healthy/mindfully, spend time with colleagues, move your body, change of scenery

If It Gets Rough

Low Impact Debriefing, move your body, breathe, resiliency slogan, self-compassion

Team Meetings

Sharing successes, team check in/warning signs, Low Impact Debriefing, connecting, celebrating, shout outs

End of Work Day

Tidy up emails and desk, warning signs check-in and plan accordingly, remember what went well that day

Going Home

Transition ritual, listening to music, having a laugh

Arriving Home

Gratitude practice

Bedtime Routine

Mindfulness, yoga/relaxation activity, journaling, non-caffeinated beverage


No screens one hour before bed, gratitude practice, visualization, relaxation audio, repeat if you wake up through the night

Resiliency Tips for Helpers

You can’t make changes and improvements without truly knowing where the problems are. Start by taking a nonjudgmental inventory of all the demands on your time and energy. What factors are contributing to making your plate too full? What would you like to change most?

Brainstorm a list of self-care ideas and pick three ideas that jump out at you. Make a commitment to implementing these in your life.

Make sure you do one nourishing activity each day.

Are there things that you are willing to let go of and let others do their own way? Don’t expect others to read your mind: consider holding regular meetings to review the workload and discuss new options.

Do you have a transition time between work and home? Create one such as putting on cozy clothes when getting home, having a 10-minute quiet period to shift gears, or going for a run.

Take a moment to reflect on this and see where you fit best: Do you need to learn to say no or yes more often?

Take a trauma input survey of a typical day. Do you hear it on the news and see it in Social Media? Do you watch it on shows when you come home at night? In a nutshell, there are a lot of extra trauma inputs outside of work that we do not necessarily need to absorb. We can create a “trauma filter” to protect ourselves from this extraneous material.

Including ways to recognize the signs and symptoms and strategies to address the problem.

This can be as small as a group of colleagues who meet once a month or once a week to debrief and offer support to one another.

We tell our clients how important physical exercise is. Do you do it on a regular basis? Think of three small ways to increase your physical activity.

Studies have shown that one of the best protective factors against Compassion Fatigue is to work part time or at least, to see clients on a part time basis and to have other duties the rest of the time.

Researchers have identified that attending regular professional training is one of the best ways for helpers to stay renewed and healthy.