This is a hard season for many. It’s a particularly tough time in veterinary medicine. The practices are trying to stay open with limited capabilities, sick patients, frustrated clients, and exhausted staff members, and fear of the future.
I have heard of so many people online complaining about how they are treated by angry clients and how angry they are in response. This anger festers because there is no resolution or solution to prevent anger from setting in.
Coming back to client service
If we allow ourselves to get angry with the very folks we rely on for our incomes we are setting ourselves up for failure. It is a double-edged sword. Under no circumstances do I condone abuse from clients who are behaving badly due to their own stress. I am saying let’s remember to find ways to not internalize or absorb feelings of anger from others. Their anger and behaviors are their own, not ours to adopt. If we adopt them then they stand a greater chance of spreading, much like COVID-19. In my opinion anger and frustration is way more contagious than COVID-19 at this point.
Practice The Pause
So let’s take a step back and take a breath. Practice the pause before taking on someone else’s emotional energy. Practicing the pause simply means taking a breath and giving yourself time to respond without anger or negative emotion.
Companies are helping the Compassion Fatigue cause
I recently read an article from PawsTime.com on Compassion Fatigue and it was a great read on the signs and symptoms. PawsTime is an on-hold messaging provider for veterinary practices. That is their primary product but I have found that they are so much more! They have all sorts of practice tools from articles on technology tips, practice management, even social media ideas for practice marketing. This article is just one of those tools. What I like about it is that they shared some easy to do things to help alleviate the symptoms of compassion fatigue for ourselves. My favorites were:
- Awareness-are you or someone you know exhibiting signs of compassion fatigue?
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased anxiety
Some solutions they offered were:
- Balance-make time for things that make you happy outside the practice
- Allow yourself to take mini-escapes from worrying or working on practice problems
- Seek counseling-don’t let stigmas stop you from seeking care. It’s a healthy reaction to struggle with stress and anxiety.
- Connections-find a support network that offers positive support in your efforts to combat compassion fatigue.
If you or someone you know may be suffering from signs of Compassion Fatigue reach out to them. Don’t let them suffer in silence. You may be worried about reaching out to them in case they aren’t receptive or warm to the idea. Just let them know you are there to talk and that you see them! If you are concerned you may have some symptoms of Compassion Fatigue there is help!
Some of my favorite resources are:
- Overcoming Compassion Fatigue: https://www.aafp.org/fpm/2000/0400/p39.html
- Overcoming Compassion Fatigue: A Practical Resilience Workbook
Don’t Suffer Alone
I hope if you are reading this you are seeking knowledge and understanding of Compassion Fatigue and that you are arming yourself against the effects of it. You have my support in your efforts. I am with you. If you need help or feel like you may be in deeper trouble and have considered hurting yourself or struggling with depression please seek help immediately. It is that bad if you have thought about it, don’t wait. I encourage you to make the call! Tell your boss, tell your manager, tell your spouse, tell someone!
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