My son Jeff is an activist for the homeless community that live in his area. Jeff has great compassion for the traumatized, marginalized unhoused population. Sometimes his work is rewarding, sometimes disheartening. I try to assure him that he’s helped people more than he’ll ever know. I check-in with Jeff to making sure he’s taking care of himself as well as others. (That’s what Moms do, right?)
In the midst of befriending the broken, standing up for an important issue, or perhaps juggling schedules of a busy family on the home front, we all need a little self-care. Simple ways to recharge are necessary, even if it’s just a few minutes of distraction from the craziness of this world.
Sometimes caregiving takes a toll that requires more than a simple distraction. People helpers immersed with victims of trauma-related events might find themselves struggling with compassion fatigue. According to the American Institute of Stress, compassion fatigues is “the emotional residue or strain of exposure to working with those suffering from the consequences of traumatic events.” Compassion fatigue is characterized by loss of hope, anger, low morale, and depression. Burnout is another debilitative state related to compassion fatigue. This may occur when one is no longer energized by their normal workload, with the stress of that load accumulating over a period of time. Burnout symptoms include frustration, apathy, and mental exhaustion.
Thankfully, I’m neither burned out nor experiencing compassion fatigue. But I recognize that I need tiny little loving things to do for myself and others that bring joy when I am disappointed or discouraged. For me, creating new recipes and a couple hours in the kitchen take my mind away from swirling current events that are troubling, to say the least.
What are some ways you practice self-care?
Jim’s been battling a cold, so I pulled out some basic pantry ingredients for a crumble, or “betty” to enjoy while watching the Cavs game. A little kitchen time for me and some comfort food for Jim would make for a pleasant evening. Unfortunately, by the time I served it to him, he was fast asleep while Korver drained 8 3’s for Cleveland! (Translation: he made 3 point baskets from a considerable distance from the net.) Nevertheless, a little cooking is good for the soul when the news of the day isn’t so pretty.
Easy Oat Dessert
2 apples peeled, cored, and sliced
2 tsps. cinnamon
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup homemade chunky applesauce
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup flour (I like einkorn flour, but regular AP or whole wheat is fine.)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Spray 8×8 oven safe dish with non-stick vegetable spray.
- Line dish with apple slices.
- Mix cinnamon with sugar. Sprinkle 1/2 on the apples.
- Dot the apples with the applesauce.
- Mix the rest of the cinnamon/sugar, oats, syrup, flour, and pecans in a small bowl.
- Cover the apples with the oat mixture.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Serve warm (deliciously comforting) with a drizzle of maple syrup and a scoop of ice cream if you need more indulgence.
Skip the ice cream and eat for breakfast. Yum!