By Dr. Debra Rezendes, HMT Resident in Marriage and Family Therapy
During the holidays, there can be a lot of emotional resources going out. One way that we can practice self-care is to recognize the signs of burnout and pull back when we feel like too much of ourselves is going into caring for others.
Below are some of the signals our body gives us when we are overextending ourselves.
- Irritability: If we find ourselves getting more irritated by things that normally wouldn’t bother us, it might be a sign that we need to address what may be making us feel burned out. For some people, irritability may be an early sign of compassion fatigue.
- Loss of Self-Care: When we get stressed, overwhelmed, and over-worked, one of the first things to take a hit is our self-care. Identify your non-negotiable self-care activities. What do you need to get yourself happy and healthy? Place strong boundaries around these non-negotiable self-care items.
- Exhaustion: Exhaustion is a clear sign from the body that it needs time and space to rest. Exhaustion is often a sign of compassion fatigue in its later stages. Experiencing exhaustion could be a sign to prioritize space for rest and rejuvenation.
- High Absenteeism: Finding yourself struggling with motivation to complete work or caregiving tasks is also a warning sign of compassion fatigue and burnout. If you are experiencing difficulty in motivating yourself to complete work or caregiving tasks, find ways to reconnect with why you felt called to your career, job, or caregiving activities. Reconnecting with our purpose is a great antidote to burnout.
Know the signs. Take care of yourself this holiday season and throughout the year!
Debra has over ten years of community and clinical work with individuals, children, parents, and families and has been published in the Journal of Happiness Studies and Autism Research and Treatment. She received her doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Eastern University and has gained specialized, intensive training in emotionally focused therapy (EFT) and Theraplay. She also has skills in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), strengths-based therapies, self-compassion training, attachment-based therapies, play therapy, and solution-focused therapy.
Dr. Debra Rezendes is a Resident in Marriage and Family Therapy and is working towards licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Virginia. She works under the supervision of Marianne S. Coad, MAMFC, LMFT, LPC-S. In the event that clients have any questions or concerns about Debra’s work, her supervisor can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, (703) 657-9721, or 10379-B Democracy Lane, Fairfax, VA 22030.