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Compassion Fatigue, Mental Health and Reverse Culture Shock

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Rav J

on 15 May 2015

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Transcript of Compassion Fatigue, Mental Health and Reverse Culture Shock

Compassion Fatigue, Mental Health and Reverse Culture Shock

by Ravi Jaipaul
Compassion (noun): A feeling of distress caused by the suffering of another and the desire to alleviate it.
Fatigue (noun): The decreased capacity
or inability to function normally because of excessive stimulation or prolonged exertion.
What Is Compassion Fatigue?

- Gradual lessening of compassion over time.

- Common among individuals that work directly
with trauma.

-Well documented among nurses.
The treatment and prevention of Compassion Fatigue involves self-care:

1. Socializing with Friends.
2. Eat regular, healthy meals.
3. Exercise Daily.
4. Journal about events that upset you.
5. De - Brief!
6. Join a Support Group

Recognizing Compassion Fatigue is Easier in Others:
- Excessive blaming
- Bottled emotions
- Isolation from others
- Poor Self Care
- In denial about problems
Learning to recognize one's symptoms is can be a good 'check-in' and allow one to develop a warning size:

A "3" out of 10 being that I'm really looking forward to a day off.

An "7" out of 10 being when I stop exercising after work and turn down invitations to go out with friends because I'm too tired.

An "8" out of 10 is when I can't watch violence on TV, and I start calling in sick a lot.
Contributing Factors to compassion fatigue:

1) Personal Life Circumstances: History, Coping Style, Individual Personality, home stresses.

2) Working Conditions: Other stresses outside of the patients include cultural differences, local working conditions.
Developing a Compassion Fatigue Toolkit:

1) What skills would go in that toolkit?
2) What are my warning signs?
3) What things do I have control over?
4) What things do I not have control over?
5) What stress relief strategies do I enjoy?
6) What stress reduction activities do I enjoy?
(taking a vacation, some time off, etc.)

What if those strategies aren't enough?
Talk to a psychologist for options on counselling.
What is the main concerns dealing with CF abroad?

"A common lament is about diet - a lack of fruits and vegetables."

"Another problem is that workers may have nowhere to exercise"

"Lack of staff de-briefing before and after placement"

"The Excessive Demands can lead to substance abuse."

"Aid workers are often fearful of their safety."
Stages of Reverse Culture Shock:

1. Disengagement
2. Initial Euphoria
3. Irritability and Hostility
4. Readjustment and Adoption
5. Total Adjustment
Why does Reverse Culture Shock happen?

“By the time most traditional international assignments come to an end several years may have passed, providing the international assignee a significant amount of time to learn new patterns of behavior and thought necessary to fit into their host country.”

Expats returning home can expect their top re-entry challenges being:

- Boredom
- No one wants to listen
- You can’t explain
- Reverse homesickness
- Relationships have changed
- People misunderstand you
- Feelings of alienation
- Inability to apply new knowledge
Types of Coping with Reverse Culture Shock:

1. Re-Socialized
2. Alienated
3. Rebellious
4. Proactive

Signs and Symptoms:
Difficulty Concentrating
Mentally and Physically Tired
Apathetic and Sad
Compulsive Behaviours

If you feel burnt out, it means you are not taking good enough care of yourself.

Compassion Fatigue can shorten your international career and recognizing your own symptoms, triggers and ways to release stress are vital to having a healthy workplace environment abroad.

“Remember that being flexible and expecting the unexpected helped you get through the difficult times abroad. The same attitude can help you back home.”

-Office of International Studies at Northeastern University.

Reverse Culture
What Is It?

As strange as it sounds, expats become less and less familiar with their home stomping grounds. Returning brings a blanket of fog on perception, like an audience member walking around in a setting that’s familiar but still unreal.
Surviving Reverse Culture Shock:

Anticipate It
Temper Your Own Home Expectations
Consider Others' Expectations
Avoid the Grass is Always Greener Syndrome

Other Tips and Tactics:

Revive Relationships
Don't Take On Too Much Too Soon
Communicate what you are feeling
Maintain Language Proficiency
Plan Your Next Trip Abroad.

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