Preventing Burnout with Compassionate Caregiving

Today I ran across the perfect example of a caregiver’s nightmare. It’s why I teach the Compassionate Caregiver’s course. The course was designed to help caregivers build trust while staying in rapport with their patients or clients.

I’ve found that when they master these skills, their clients are more at ease. When they are more at ease, the caregiver has a more resourceful client.  No matter what kind of work we do, resourcefulness is key. When we can remain resourceful in difficult situations, we can increase our level of curiosity while decreasing stress. This means less arguments and more partnership.

So based on what I saw today, here’s an example. Imagine you are at your six month dental checkup. You typically have an okay time at your checkup. You are comfortable in the environment and this is important to you because you tend to be more “sensitive” to physical body sensations and energy around you.

You make your way to the next segment of your appointment when you notice a shift. You sense a different energy. Uh-oh. The room is different. The person you meet is different. You feel so much energy and so overwhelmed. You wish the world would just take a breath.

You can’t orientate yourself in the space. You ask yourself if you are okay. You don’t know. The person you are dealing with has no clue. They are like a steamroller, rushing around you like there is a fire drill.

What you really need most is some connection with them. All you notice is the person can’t see you, they have their own stuff. And as you look at them, you notice they are tired or wired or something.

Shall we Dance?

Two worlds begin colliding now. The sensitive person wants to get the heck out of dodge because they don’t seem to matter to the person who is wired. The sensitive one wonders if anybody sees them?

“Why can’t this person hear what I am saying?”, they ask. It seems the caregiver is interested in the “things” and the results of the task. And doing the task quickly. The sensitive person feels their only choice is to stay and do all they can to get through the next moments.

“Maybe this person won’t be here the next time I come…what happened to that nice lady I saw last time?”

The Overworked Caregiver

The caregiver is giving their all. And, by the way, they are tired of people giving them lip service. They are tired of people giving them a hard time when they are just trying to do their job. Can’t people see how hard they are working? When did the patients become so unreasonable? Have they lost their ability to help people?

So here’s the situation. There is one person who is the caregiver and one “in care”. As the sensitive one being cared for, you don’t know anything about the caregiver’s job. You do need assurance, safety. A dose of reassurance sure would be nice. The only person you can turn to is your caregiver, though, and they are not available.

As for the caregiver, they don’t know your experience. In fact, they don’t know what its like to be sensitive like you. Their experience of your appointment is different. They are used to seeing people all day long in the same situation, same environment. As a client, you can’t possibly know how hard their job is or how many people they are expected to see in a day.

How About that Dance?

How do two people build rapport in this kind of situation? It is hard and unfortunately, in this case, the service provided by the caregiver is what it is. As a sensitive person, you do your best to get out quickly.

It’s hard being a sensitive person in the world. It’s hard being a caregiver. Imagine not being able to comfort someone in your environment. It’s frustrating. Unfortunately not all caregivers know how to build rapport and slow down. Their deep love for assisting people through tough times is dampened by long hours and little rest. They care even if a sensitive person can’t feel it.

A New Way to Show Compassion

And this is why I teach compassionate caregiving, so caregivers don’t burn out. During the compassionate caregiving course, people get the opportunity to explore their own reality, (map of the world), and connect to their level of compassion – for themselves.

As they learn about their map and level of compassion, they build skills to help them elicit it in another person. This skill helps them meet people where they are, (compassionately), and gain trust through compassionate rapport.

This makes it easier for them to deal with people who seem more difficult, (like the more sensitive person in our story), without taxing them emotionally.

Do you know someone who has a tough job, like the caregiver in this story? Tell them there is an easier way! And, hey, the next Compassionate Caregiver workshop is May 16th. 🙂 For more information, go here: of Compassion



Posted in Blog, Relationship Communication