In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is easy to get caught up in all that one needs to accomplish (or feels that we need to accomplish). As fellow helpers, therapists can take on more than we intend to: possibly seeing more clients in a day than usual, taking calls after hours, adding to our caseload even if it is full. In the midst of all the hurriedness that the holiday season brings, one can neglect themselves, and begin to see the effects: physically, emotionally, and psychologically. This is known as compassion fatigue: the impact of helping others, often experienced through taking on the stress or trauma of our clients. 

If you are experiencing compassion fatigue, there are ways to alleviate it. As the old adage says, “put on your own oxygen mask before helping the person next to you.” Humans thrive on structure and routine. Here are some ways that you can help yourself and destress this holiday season:

  • Maintain a daily routine—even if you are working from home
  • Keep your office space separate from the rest of your living environment
  • Maintain healthy physical activity 
  • Get adequate sleep 
  • Relax: take a walk, read a book, watch a movie, take up crafting or a new hobby
  • Try meditation—there are several great apps available that provide guided meditations for a variety of topics
  • Socialize with friends 
  • See a therapist=–helpers need help too!

Enjoy this holiday season, filled with laughter, good memories, and a dose of self-care and self-compassion.