How to Fill Your Cup When You Work with Domestic Violence Survivors
RAFT Team, January 25, 2021
You’ve been on a long hot walk before. Maybe you didn’t anticipate the heat, the length of the walk, or that you’d be gone so long. But I’ll bet you DO remember the ice cold drink when you returned. You probably thought about it all the way back, your throat drying up more with every hot, sweaty step. Whether it was a frosty bottle of water from the vending machine, a long slurp from the water fountain, or a cool glass straight from the kitchen sink, odds are it was probably one of the very best drinks you’ve ever had. You couldn't wait to fill your cup.
Your body needs water to survive. Most studies say you can survive about 3 days without it. Our body gives signs along the way to let you know it's begging for water. The symptoms are mild at first then gradually more and more serious as your body struggles to survive. At first, you’d get thirsty. Then you’d feel sluggish and might get a headache. You’d experience stiff joints, swelling of your brain, and maybe even seizures. But you don’t get dehydrated too often because you know the dangers. It’s easy to drink water.
But we're more than just physical beings. We're emotional and spiritual, too. Which means we're also susceptible to a dried up heart and soul.
Experts call this compassion fatigue and burnout. These repercussions hit just as hard and can be just as serious as physical dehydration. Which is why it's just as vital that you fill your internal cup so you’re functioning from the overflow of compassion and joy rather than the dry dust at the bottom of the barrel.
What are the signs of compassion fatigue?
Some of the symptoms of compassion fatigue are quite similar to dehydration. Your passion begins to dry up and you don’t want to give as much. You get headaches from stress. Pretty soon the emotional fallout affects your physical body more and more seriously. You’re exhausted, but you can’t seem to get out of the downward spiral. Even though you can’t take a long swig of H2O to solve the problem, there’s a way back. Self-care is your water.
Below are some resources to help you drink a little self-care throughout your week so you wake up refreshed and you’re excited about working with your clients.
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Each and every time you embark on one of these ideas, you fill your cup. If you've been dehydrated emotionally or spiritually for a while, it may take time to get your fluids back up. Just keep filling your cup. Every single drop makes a difference in your overall health and wellness.