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Here we will share ways that can help us all cope with the stresses of working in an animal centred compassionate role.  Practicing self care is absolutely essential for us all to be able to continue our invaluable work.  Please note these self care techniques should not replace advice given by a medical professional. 

Sometimes it can be confusing knowing where to start with implementing a self care plan but please use this TOOLBOX to help you decide what works best for you. These are the different factors which we can work on to combat compassion fatigue:



PHYSICAL self care practices are the quickest path to breaking unhelpful mental patterns that can come along with suffering with compassion fatigue. Methods include releasing tension from the body in the form of exercise or breathing techniques, ensuring we are taking in the correct nutrition to help our physical body operate can and making sleep a top priority. Also, having a physical connection with nature can decrease stress and vastly improve our ability to deal with compassion fatigue and related issues, for example, sea swimming, woodland walks, barefoot walking or walking meditation.


PSYCHOLOGICAL self help techniques are essential when finding ways to alleviate compassion fatigue since the mind is our most powerful tool. Acknowledgment that we need our own personal self care begins with a practice of self awareness but this is no mean feat and takes courage. First, armed with the knowledge of what symptoms we are looking for we need to recognise them in ourselves and commit to helping ourselves through finding techniques which work for you. For our busy brains to find some space, and therefore a break from our 'fight or flight' stress mode we can use relaxation techniques, practice mindful experiences of nature, do something creative or perhaps seeking out film, art or music that inspires you.  These can elevate us away from our thought patterns which can build up and become a prison. Equally, exploring a spiritual practice, whatever speaks to you, can help you recognise that you are part of something bigger than yourself. 


SOCIAL or interpersonal factors can greatly impact how we cope with compassion fatigue and related issues.  Oftentimes, animal welfare workers can feel isolated given that our field of work is largely misunderstood and related stresses  unacknowledged.  This is where having a good support network is pivotal. Consciously putting in place people who you can go to when you need to discuss your work, with their permission, and knowing when it is time to ask for help from people or seek professional help is all part of your self care plan. Connection, kindness, practicing gratitude and even taking part in social activism can bring back the necessary connection with others and remind you need not be alone in carrying the weight of the 'animal' world.

Professional Help

WORK really, is the source and like the root cause of any problem, can be the most difficult to address. Whilst compassion fatigue and related stresses are regularly addressed in the 'human' care field it is often not the case in the animal care field but there are actions you can take such as seeking support from your colleagues, actively practicing balance between work and personal life, working on techniques to accept the things you can and cannot influence in your professional life, setting boundaries and working with your manager to increase role satisfaction.  These may seem insurmountable in some situations but with courage and guidance you may find some simple changes improves your working life situation immensely.

visit the WORK page

Remember a self care plan will be different for every animal welfare worker and will most likely change over time.  These techniques can be utilized throughout your whole life to help us navigate the stresses that come with helping animals.


Have you ever noticed how being somewhere surrounded by nature brings a sense of peace? Sometimes a peace that you can't seem to locate anywhere else? 

Nature, in all its wonder, disregards our human emotions and reminds us that we can simply be in it, acknowledging its beauty, and instantly feel connected to the reality it provides. 

Image by Luca Bravo


Yoga means, to unite. To unite the body and mind, or the small 'ego' self with the true Self.  To drastically over-simply 'yoga' you could think of it as harnessing the many tools it provides to remove all of the things that tell you what you are or should be, the constant inner dialogue that we all have and seeing the reality of who you truly are and the undeniable connection we all have with each other and all around us.

Yoga is not just the physical practice, it has many facets to discover. Like an iceberg what you know of yoga may only be attending classes, the very tip of the iceberg, but as you delve deeper you will see the wealth of knowledge you could obtain about yourself (being self-aware) and life as a whole. 

Image by Andre Mouton


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When we exercise the body we release endorphins. Endorphins are feel good hormones and help us remove tension that can build up through stress. There is no end to the things we can do but sometimes, particularly when we feel already haunted by time or exhausted, there is a lack of motivation to take on any 'more' in our day.

However, those who have capacity to fit in some exercise in will confirm it gives you more energy, clears the brain fog and helps with sleep (amongst many other positive effects). 


Start small and ensure that it is enjoyable or fun and do not overload yourself, while you are all superheroes in your professional lives you do not need to run a marathon a day in your personal life! Why not take a ten minute walk or a fifteen minute run or an online yoga class at home and if you do not fit it in do not beat yourself up.  Remember that how we talk to ourselves ultimately reinforces which kind of 'brain data files' we access and therefore what kind of inner dialogue we choose to have - a kind one or a cruel one.  Talk to yourself as you would a friend.

Sometimes, a little bit of inspiration will be the push you are looking for to get a little more active, check out some of the videos on our INSPIRATION TOOL page.

Image by Helen Cramer

Still not convinced? Here are some scientifically proven benefits to doing a bit of exercise (ideally outdoors!)

Reduces mental fatigue

phones, tv, computer screens, advertising everywhere we look not to mention the animal suffering our brains rarely have time to switch off. When we go outside and get moving we are in that moment and you may find the more you move the more your thoughts dissipate.

It's a stress buster

being in nature for 20-30 minutes each day significantly reduces cortisol levels which are produced when we are in 'fight or flight' mode.

It gives you a high

whether during, after or in memory... exercise provides us with a natural high as endorphins flood the bloodstream

improves your mood

exposure to natural light can boost your vitamin D levels and make you feel better and brighter! Combine that with fresh air and the blood pumping and you mood will be lifted;

fights anxiety and depression

research show that exercise, especially in nature, help fight anxiety and depression or prevent them before they creep in.


Being inspired elevates us out of our own heads and into a place where can feel, even for a moment, free from our own thoughts and worries.


Creativity in the form of art, music, film, poetry or whatever elevates you can change your mood in an instant. Try it out and find what ignites you, it could be music or a piece of film or some beautiful words, like these...

Image by Amelie & Niklas Ohlrogge

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver ~ Wild Geese


Did you know that one of the first symptoms of compassion fatigue is losing your sense of humour?

We can become engulfed in the sadness of the suffering we witness losing our ability to laugh and be social with other people. When we are suffering from compassion fatigue we can feel isolated as if we are carrying the weight of the suffering of the animals alone, because, how could anyone possibly understand right...?

Well, while it may be true that people who are not exposed to the same trauma don't experience the same emotional burden that does not mean they cannot help and support you. 

Sentient is hoping to launch it's own support group in 2023, please stay tuned for more! 

Image by Erika Giraud
Image by Gus Moretta
Image by Luiza Senna
Image by Shawn Tung
Image by freestocks
Image by Ekaterina Shakharova


Sometimes, we need to seek help from a professional. Mental health should be taken very seriously and whether you are investing in it's care from a 'well' healthy and happy place or whether you are all out of trying to help yourself and need someone to help you through, you will only ever benefit from speaking to a professional. 

Services are always confidential and often available 24 hours a day.  Please, as a starting point, utilise these links below to find the best person suited to your needs.

An A-Z list by topic of mental health charities, organisations and support groups who can offer expert advice.

Resources to find help for you, a friend, or a family member.

If you feel suicidal, please follow this link. You are not alone, and there are people ready to help you.

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