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Yoga can help with Compassion Fatigue

Do you care for someone?

If so, does it leave you feeling?fatigued and depleted?

At the end of the day are left with nothing for you?

If so, you may have compassion fatigue.

A regular yoga practice can help you not feel as fatigued and depleted and is an easy form of self care. Yoga can be done for people of all ages and abilities. It really?helps people cope, easy to do, and can be done on your own schedule.

Yoga can be done at your own home or find a class?that focus on managing stress, relaxation and be sure to ask the instructor if they can accommodate any injuries or restrictions (i.e. ?disc, knee, shoulder). Be sure to know there are over ninety different pose style yoga’s out there.

Compassion Fatigue sneaks up on you gradually when you don’t take care of yourself. However, you can renew yourself or avoid compassion fatigue by taking time for yourself. Really look at what stresses you, what makes you fatigued. Often it is not the obvious thing that causes the most stress. Work gets blamed but it could be relationship or care giving. See The Record article below for more information.

Yoga, especially restorative, therapeutic and gentler styles of yoga is one tool people can use to help combat against compassion fatigue.

Conference gives families tips to cope with mental illness

CAMBRIDGE ? Caring for someone struggling with a mental illness can be exhausting, leaving little energy to look after personal needs.

This compassion fatigue can have a profound effect on the caregiver?s body and mind

?It?s that feeling of being fatigued and depleted, so at the end of the day you have nothing left for you,? said Laura McShane of the Canadian Mental Health Association?s Grand River branch.

McShane will be speaking this Saturday in Cambridge at the annual one-day conference Reclaim your Hope, its goal to provide tools to families looking after people with mental health issues. The agenda also includes a family?s journey, a talk on the role of recovery and hope to support a loved one and comedy troupe.

McShane said caring for someone in emotional pain makes a person vulnerable as they open their minds and hearts to help.

?You become exhausted and that becomes your life,? said McShane, co-ordinator of community development and education services.

Usually then people push themselves more, working harder and longer to look after the person needing help. But that also draws the caregiver further down the path leading to physical and emotional trouble. Depression, substance abuse, chronic pain and even suicide can follow.

Like stress, compassion fatigue builds slowly.

?It just kind of sneaks up on you,? McShane said. ?It?s not just something that happens.?

Warning signs can be both behavioural and psychological. Behavioural changes include increased alcohol and drug use, anger and irritability, relationship problems and impaired ability to make decisions.

Psychological symptoms include emotional exhaustion, distancing self, negative self-image and resentment.

Caregivers must reserve some energy for themselves to ensure they?re looked after as well.

?It?s too much of an effort when it should be a priority,? said McShane, whose presentation is based on a workshop developed by a Kingston compassion fatigue specialist.

Careful consideration and commitment is needed to turn things around. First people should take stock of what?s on their plate and causing stress.

Then a person needs to look at ways to find balance in their life which includes time devoted to self-care, McShane said.

Developing resiliency and skills to look after personal needs are essential to combat compassion fatigue. Sometimes stress reduction can be as simple as a few deep breaths.

Finally people need to make a commitment to change. Figuring out what needs to be fixed only helps if people decide to make changes.

?It?s about looking at things that are manageable and doable,? McShane said.

Almost all the strategies she?ll share are free.

?A lot of it is stuff we know, but don?t do.?

The conference is sponsored by the Family Initiatives Project, an advisory committee representing family members from Waterloo Region and surrounding areas funded by the Ministry of Health.

It?s being held at the Grand Valley Golf and Country Club just outside of Cambridge from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Registration is $30. Contact McShane at 519-766-4450 ext. 224 or email?mcshanel@cmhagrb.on.ca.