We have all been there. Despite our passion and fire for the work we do, the fire burns out. Compassion fatigue sets in, making you feel like you want to be nothing more than a couch potato, even though your alarm goes off ringing for another day.

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Regardless of your profession, you know you have been there at one point. Or more than once.

Sure, pinterest has some great self-care ideas, or you may have learned some techniques from a TED-Talk or a class. By all means, please use those too!

There is one technique I want you to try. I sincerely believe this technique will re-ignite the fire within you.

Gratitude.

Gratitude to me is divided into 2 components: What you give and what you receive.

Allow me to explain this a bit further. I’m going to get real with you for a moment and share what I mean when I define as gratitude for my own personal self-care.

Lately, I have been finding that there have been wonderful people around me that support me and have placed an enormous amount of faith in me. My family, my friends, my boyfriend, my students, my mentors, my coworkers, and people I have met that have come and gone.

I began thinking about that time where my friends bought me dinner, my co-workers prayed for me, when my boyfriend wrote me an eloquent letter, or my parents giving me an amazing birthday gift… reflecting on these moments are just as important of gratitude as expressing it yourself to others.

Think about the time a child gave you a drawing of something and they said, “It’s for you!” This is most definitely a form of gratitude. For me, as a Child Life Specialist (in training), when I bring toys to a patient who seemed stressed and anxious, but as soon as they see the toys, there was a complete 180; they were filled with a wave of relief and immediately begins to play, their thank you is loud and clear to me, despite parents’ reminders of their manners.

As much as you receive, we all know that giving is just as impacting. Now, when I say that, this doesn’t mean giving of yourself in the way that leads you further into burnout. Giving of yourself is expressing gratitude toward the people who help you get through these challenging times of burnout, or even helped you during a time of stress. I cannot tell you how many thank you notes I have written to my coworkers for their incredible support on my behalf, or buying lunch for my close friend who may be struggling and yet finds ways to be kindest to me.

My theme for this is to express gratitude to the people in your life who matter to you, but also appreciate the ways in which these people in your life have shared their gratitude toward you. The people who have showered you with love and support in the simplest of ways are the ones who will help you get through your tough time and your burnout.

Find ways in which you have been thanked in the past for the amazing things you do. Embrace those things! If you have a bulletin board or special box of memories of these items, look back at them. Smile. They will warm your heart and waken your spirit.

Then, think about if you have thanked those people lately. There is no limit to how many times you can thank someone! And there certainly are no guidelines as to how you can thank them. Do it in a way that means the most that resembles the relationship you have (I love handwriting thank you notes. Sometimes, depending on the occasion, I might throw in a small gift card or do something extra special!)

So on that note, I want to thank you for even reading this. The fact you have visited my blog and explored my posts and interests in Child Life makes me so grateful. It makes me feel that my words and ideas can be of significance and empowerment to you as you move forward working with children and families. I do hope you keep reading because your views, likes, comments, etc. keep me motivated to write. 

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