Posts Tagged ‘self employed’

Organizational Compassion Fatigue

hourglass-time-hours-sand-39396.jpeg   An organization suffers from Compassion Fatigue as well as their staff.  In today’s environment socially and the rising mentality of suing for a quick buck, puts everyone from caretakers to CEOs at risk; if Compassion fatigue is permitted to run rife in any establishment.

There are no quick fixes to healing an organization it takes time, patience, commitment at all levels and perseverance. An awareness of the far-reaching effects of Compassion Fatigue must be present at the highest level of management and work its way down to encompass line staff, as well as volunteers, or even better from the grassroots up; very often the coal face workers can give distant Senior Management some sound and solid ideas, that are cost-effective and efficient. The mistrust that employees feel towards management is not unfounded, as many staff do not have permanent contracts, even if they do, there is always the threats of cuts hanging over their heads.  As many caregiving institutions are non-profit, they have additional challenges such as low wages, lack of space, old or incorrect tools and resources, high management turnover rate, as well as a constant flow of unfamiliar staff, plus constantly shifting priorities.

None of which make any workday any easier, so the Compassion Fatigue cycle keeps in motion.

Organizational symptoms of Compassion Fatigue include:

  • Lack of understanding of corporate ethos or manifesto
  • Daily feeling of crisis management at all levels
  • Patient safety being compromised
  • Staff safety making them feel vulnerable or pressurized


  • High absenteeism
  • Constant changes in co-workers relationships
  • Inability for teams to work well together
  • Desire among staff members to break company rules
  • Outbreaks of aggressive behaviors among staff
  • Inability of staff to complete assignments and tasks
  • Inability of staff to respect and meet deadlines
  • Lack of flexibility among staff members
  • Negativism towards management
  • Strong reluctance toward change
  • Inability of staff to believe improvement is possible
  • Lack of a vision for the future

The early any establishment realizes that changes need to be made and implement those guidelines, the safer everyone involved will be, your bottom line will prosper, staff health will improve and patient experience and care will be at a successful level. The savings in the long term being considerable, against the initial planning and outlay.

Caring for the caregiver

Linda Sage MA BA Ed(Hons)

Compassion Fatigue is not the same as stress!

What is Compassion Fatigue?

So you work in health/social care, or education. Perhaps as an OT or physio? Doctor, nurse, social worker, speech and language therapist, teacher, Teaching Assistant, lecturer, or administrator…(we could go on…)

Perhaps you work in a hospital environment? Or in the community? Maybe in palliative care? In a school, college or university. You may work for a Government entity, a charity, a private organisation… (you get the idea).

But whatever your role you probably work with people who are ill, suffering, in distress, undergoing some kind of trauma or dealing with multicultural issues.

Your role requires emotional, psychological and physical input. There are long hours, deadlines and a wide variety of demands on your time.

All of which means you are at risk of compassion fatigue.

Compassion Fatigue is the gradual wearing down of compassion and empathy, or the ability to care over a period of time.

It is what happens when the stories and experiences of the people we are caring for or teaching and working with overwhelm us. Add to this the stresses of our own personal life, and the expectations of the organisation we work for and the results can be:

Exhaustion, emotionally, mentally and physically

Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach pains, inability to sleep

Emotional symptoms such as low moods (or mood swings), anger, frustration, anxiety, a feeling of ‘why bother’, anger, frustration, bottling up of emotions, crying more often than usual, small annoyances become huge issues.

A change in the way we see the world and the people we work with, less tolerance of clients/patients/students, leading to a negative attitude, over generalisation (John is ALWAYS so difficult to work with, Eve NEVER appreciates what I do…) and a tendency to avoid situations or patients/clients/students we perceive as difficult.

Compassion Fatigue is a normal consequence of doing the work you do, over a period of time. It is an erosion, it is not a medical diagnosis, it is a set of signs and symptoms that you can choose to do something about.

To know more You do not have to suffer in silence or alone.

Here’s to your success

Caring for the caregiver

Linda Sage MA BA Ed (Hons)

Relationships as Opportunities to Grow

Relationships as Opportunities to Grow
get help   What can you do when you want to improve your marriage or close relationship, but your significant other seems to be content with the way things are?
Marriage or other close relationships offer us unique opportunities to grow. Sometimes, though, conflict arises when partners in romantic relationships have different visions of what the relationship should be like and different ideas about the direction it should take.
If you think your close relationship could use some work but your partner doesn’t, what do you do? Well, for starters, you don’t start blaming them for disagreeing with you and neither should you assume that there is something wrong with you. What you can do, instead, is share your visions with each other. Can you describe, as specifically as possible, without blaming or judging, just how you see the problem? Can you describe, just as specifically, what you see the future as being?
Sometimes professional couples counselling can be a great help in opening faulty lines of communication.  But, whether you decide to get help or not, make sure you stay focused on a vision of how the relationship will look when it is fixed, and maintain a non-blaming, non-judgmental attitude throughout. It isn’t always easy, but if you can take the emotion out of the situation long enough, the situation becomes clearer and possibly easier to manage when decisions need to be made.
Remember that disagreement doesn’t have to mean someone is wrong, and conflict can lead to greater harmony if it is handled properly.
Getting to the end of another year is an achievement, whether it is in a personal or professional relationship, no doubt there have been challenges, changes and compromise to surmount, but reflecting back is always a great learning curve as we do not always see how much we have learnt, or the distance you have travelled whilst in the journey.
Possibly you are in a different place physically or mentally today than where you were on the 1st January, 2017.  That is great and moving forward is important.  Sometimes it is faster and sometimes slower, but movement keeps goals and dreams alive.  Keeping a log or a diary show you just how much you have achieved, even the small achievements soon mount up.
Plan for the whole of 2018, then break them down into smaller segments, three months and monthly.  Keeps you on track and accountable, both very important to get you to where you want to be a year from now.
Be kind to yourself, be true to what you want and enjoy your journey, it is not just about the end result.
Very happy season’s greetings for you and your family for this wonderful festive time, very happy, healthy Christmas and New Year from me and all at Successful Mindset Ltd.
Here’s to your success

I have just lost 66 hours, because I did not take my own advice!

Sunday morning in Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK. I woke up to a white sugarlike coating on the rooftops, the cars with a crispy ice covering. This is the first time I have looked out of the window in 66 hours and most of those hours I have slept!

A bit like; physician heal yourself!!  I have been so very busy really all of this year, moving counties, getting settled in the UK and working, writing and publishing the book, along with presentations, the radio shows and doing work in secure units; which is always mentally exhausting. My eating habits had declined and exercise had become a note on the diary, but then always excuses why not.

I decided to take a few days to see my family  (I have not seen many of them since 2004!)  A five hour drive in freezing conditions, and I mean freezing; one of the factors of Compassion Fatigue is making errors, I had to put up with those sub-zero conditions, because I had not put any water in the radiator! How my car did not explode or overheat, that is a miracle.

I travelled back with my daughter and grandson in the car, after coming back to Kent from London, I got off the train at the wrong station, in the middle of nowhere; by the time I realized the train was leaving the station. I walked to the main road and followed the signs to the hospital, I asked a lady where I could get a bus, or taxi as I had got off the train by mistake. Very kindly she offered to take me to the centre of Maidstone, from where I could walk to my daughter’s house.

So, off we started on a 5 hour drive back to Yorkshire, mostly uneventful even though weather conditions were fairly dire. A very much more comfortable journey with heat, now that she had filled the radiator with water!

Arriving back at stupid o’clock in the morning, we finally crawled into bed in a very cold house, on Monday we had to get organised and shop, which was a late start, so the day was gone quickly. Back to work Tuesday and Wednesday, feeling tired and aching which is unlike me. Got through the days and collapsed into bed early both evenings.

Thursday, peeled myself out of bed and went to work, my tummy was gurgling and I felt “a bit off,” but just get on with it. Until the body thought otherwise…… by midday – I was “evacuating” violently from both ends!  I got home, crawled into bed at 2pm on the Thursday 14th December and I have slept most of the time until 7.30am Sunday 17th December.

When we push ourselves too hard, our bodies will take over for our own benefit, slowing us down and saying take care of yourself too. No matter how experienced we are, or how much we know; it is easy to drop into this void. Remembering to say no to too many demands, and to yes to looking after yourself.

This time of year especially, where there are so many more demands on your time and your attention, give yourself the present of “me time,” no guilt, do it before your body does it for you.

Happy, healthy festive season.

Linda Sage Caring for the Caregiver

You, First

Featured Image -- 945  If you are giving part of yourself each day of your life, as a profession, volunteer, home carer, or support worker don’t feel guilty about being interested in pursuing personal growth (feeling better in yourself), it does not mean you are a selfish person.  Personal growth does affect relationships with others and with yourself.
There is no question about it. We need to have a caring relationship with ourselves before we can expect others to do so. However, being interested in personal growth doesn’t mean you’re selfish. In fact, it’s quite the contrary.
In his book, “The Psychology of Romantic Love,” Nathaniel Brandon wrote, “The first affair we must consummate successfully is the love affair with ourselves. Only then are we ready for other love relationships.” In other words, if we don’t even like ourselves, it’s going to be difficult to love others.  When I use the word love, it is not just the romantic, or the paternal, or the friendship kind, it is the empathy, understanding and kindness for patients and colleagues.
You see, no matter how concerned we are about others, we are ultimately responsible only for ourselves. If we feel inadequate and victimised, then we have no power to offer another person security and strength. Without that firm personal foundation, we are building our relationships on what amounts to quicksand.
Self-development means being the best you can be and giving the best that you can give. It means asking yourself, “If I were living with me or caring for me, would I want to stay around?” Yes, that’s a big question, one that demands an answer. Then, you change what you need to change according to that answer you have given yourself.  You don’t need to make a big deal about it, but realising it, is a huge step forward.
You see, although there are tremendous personal benefits to self-development, it is, perhaps, in your relationships with others that a commitment to personal growth will bring you the most gratifying changes – and a deeper sense of happiness and contentment
If you are in a senior position, then showing your team you care for about yourself, take your wellbeing seriously; they will have a model to follow.  Being the leader you would want to follow, sets the example.  Not so many years ago practitioners were smoking around patients, they were not sanitising hands or using gloves for general practice.  All of these changes have made a difference in patient care.
All staff are overworked and stressed with deadlines, cutbacks and red tape.  The more frustrated you become with your situation, your staff/colleagues, patients, the system and life in general; the more you are turning in on yourself.
Taking time to support yourself, allow your feelings to surface, take breaks even very short self-centring techniques can lower your blood pressure and lighten your mood.  These are not a long-term solution, but each small step, leads to the next.
Compassion Fatigue is depleting all of our caregiving services, taking care of yourself is not a luxury, it is a necessity.  It is partly the responsibility of employers to support workers, but at the end of the day; it is your life, your responsibility.
Care for yourself, as much as you care for others.  If you want to know how to feel better, let me know.

Linda Sage  MA, BA Ed(Hons) – Caring for the Caregiver

Taking an Honest Look

Most of us are pretty sharp when it comes to noticing other people’s imperfections and faults, but not always about our own. Some people have the mistaken idea that those of us with high self-esteem think that they are perfect. But the truth is that high self-esteem people don’t think they are perfect. However, they are continuously looking for ways they can improve.

It is people whose self-esteem is shaky who are threatened by looking at their imperfections and weaknesses. They don’t want to know about their problems, because then they may have to actually do something about them and, unfortunately, they don’t feel very effective when it comes to solving problems.
People with high self-esteem know that awareness of a problem is the first step towards solving it. However, they don’t get bogged down in the problem. They have a clear vision of what it will look like when the problem is fixed, and that is what they keep uppermost in their minds. They don’t beat themselves up when they make mistakes. Instead, they use mistakes as teachers and learn from them.
Also, they are used to taking a personal inventory, and they feel competent and capable when it comes to doing what needs to be done to improve themselves and their behaviour. Even when they are not sure exactly how they will do it, they don’t let that stop them because they are confident that they can find a way…and they usually do.
As difficult as it may seem, at first, there is great value when we take an honest look at ourselves. So, gather up your courage and take that look in the mirror. If you don’t like what you see, you do have the power to change it.
Don’t give up your accountability to, “that’s just like me,”  “that’s how I am,” “that’s the way I have always done it.”  All excuses for a comfortable life, living in denial is convenient, but not always healthy.  If you want a different outcome, you need different actions.  The buck stops – here!
Linda Sage
Successful Mindset Ltd.

Small Steps Forward are Better Than No Steps

small steps      Do you ever feel discouraged because your work on personal growth isn’t going as quickly as you would like? Let’s spend a little time on this today.

Many people are interested in doing all they can to develop strong and positive self-esteem, and that is a very good thing. But sometimes, there is a tendency for people who have just started the process of deliberate personal growth to take themselves a bit too seriously. Expectations run high and personal change can’t come fast enough. The same thing can happen to an organisation as it embarks on a growth initiative.

lead2    Individuals may find themselves going abruptly from relative non-awareness (or confidence that there wasn’t any need to change in the past) to total and complete introspection. They hold a magnifying glass up to every thought, feeling, act and relationship. Growth and change then get bogged down in the details.

Perhaps these people need to relax and take it easy. Take the changes a step at a time, a day at a time. Developing high self-esteem is a gradual process, so you don’t need to pressure yourself to get there all at once. New or revised organisational mission and values statements take a while to soak into the fabric of the organisation.

Artists and craftsmen work steadily on their creations. They don’t get frantic over completion. As the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Give yourself time and space to develop and rework your self-picture. In the meantime, relax and enjoy yourself. Get involved in activities you like and have fun.

If you are tempted to measure your progress, use a broad time range. See yourself today as compared to five or ten years ago, but always keep your eye on where you want to be.  Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare – slow and steady wins the race. As long as you work consistently, you will get there!

If you make your progression plans; you are 50% more likely to achieve them.
If you write your goals down; you are 50% more likely to achieve them.
50 + 50 = 100%
Small steps will take you in the right direction, you will meet the right people and get the right information.  All like the domino effect.
Here’s to your success.