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For Social Entrepreneurs, Self-Care Is The Key To Compassion


Burnout is common for entrepreneurs, but for social entrepreneurs actively working to improve the lives of others through social activism and advocacy, burnout may take another form – compassion fatigue.

Without proper self-care, compassion fatigue can cause social entrepreneurs and nonprofit founders to unhealthily process their work and the suffering of others. When dealing with difficult, emotional issues in your organization, it’s important to prevent compassion fatigue, as it not only interferes with your productivity, but negatively impacts your mental, physical and spiritual health.

Young people seem to be the most at risk for compassion fatigue, so in the age of young, energetic minds joining the social impact space, it’s important to understand the risk of burnout and set up a proper prevention plan to ensure you’re doing work that will not only help others, but will ultimately keep you and your leadership fulfilled and healthy.

How burnout can interfere with productivity.

Rates of burnout are higher in young people – but especially for entrepreneurs in the human services industry, a common industry for impact-focused founders. A 2012 study analyzing burnout specifically within the mental health field found that burnout negatively impaired a person’s physical and emotional health, also attributing to a diminished sense of self-worth and wellbeing.

By guarding against burnout or compassion fatigue, you’re better serving those you care about and are setting a better example for other founders in the social impact space. Keeping healthy boundaries, work-life balance and strong self-care habits can help prevent the negative impacts of burnout and compassion fatigue, which will ultimately make you more effective and productive.

The opposite of compassion fatigue is compassion satisfaction. Having a healthy relationship with your work not only helps you avoid burnout and fatigue, but helps you care more – and care in a way that will lead to longevity in your work.

Source: Forbes