workshops

Compassion Fatigue Strategies Course Starts Soon!

The next session of my course, Compassion Fatigue Strategies (CFS) through the University of Florida’s Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program, is about to begin and registration is now open!

The class launches on March 13th and runs through the first week of May.

CFS is a four module, online, self-paced class for people who work with animals. It’s designed to give you the space to learn about how to manage the impact of compassion fatigue in your life.

You do the work on your own time. There are live calls with me, but even those are recorded, so you’ll never miss a thing, no matter how busy you are.

Would you like to join me and a group of your peers for 8 weeks of thoughtful, honest, and courageous discussions? Want to earn 15 CEUs? Think getting together for 4 live calls to practice stress reduction and mindfulness practices sounds good?

Sign up here!

 

 

I know you’re busy, but nothing will get better unless we tackle it. We can do it together. But I need you to make a commitment to yourself.

Can you give yourself about 2 hours a week (that’s 15-20 minutes a day) for 2 months to learn and explore practices that can support you for the rest of your career? Can you put yourself on your to-do list this spring?

Here’s what one CFS student shared on Facebook about her experience with the course in 2016:

“I just finished this course. It was very eye opening and worth every cent. I highly recommend it to anyone in the animal welfare industry.”

 

Here’s what another student had to say to me about not being sure about taking this class:

“I’m not the kind of person to readily discuss my feelings. I’m the kind of person who loves my job and wants to get my work done and do it well. I’ve gotten to the point in my career that I know this is an industry where I could work myself past the point of no return, whether that be burning out or leaving animal welfare entirely. But I came to this work because I love it. I just needed to figure out how to do it sustainably.

Jessica Dolce’s CFS class was recommended to me by a friend in the field and has been a great source of information, discussion, and the feeling you get when you realize you’re not alone. The work we do is insurmountable. It’s never ending. Sometimes it’s thankless. Sometimes it’s hard to remember why we started doing it in the first place. This course is approachable and self-paced. I am a terrible procrastinator, but I got it done and I’m glad I did.” – Shelter Medicine Veterinary Assistant, CFS alum

 

Do you want things to be different this year? Then let’s get you on a new path this spring!

Read more about the class and what the students had to say about it here.

 

See you this spring!

New Session of Compassion in Balance Starts June 6th!

CiB, my compassion fatigue course for people who work with animals, begins on June 6th, 2016!

 

I hope you’ll join us this summer as we tackle compassion fatigue in animal welfare work.

But first let’s be honest: there is no magic pill or quick fix for compassion fatigue. There are, however, a number of strategies, tools, resources, and new ways of thinking about the work that will help you transform how compassion fatigue is impacting your life.

You can learn how to take care of yourself, while you care for the world.

 

compassion in balance online class photo

 

 

Students from my past classes have shared that the course helped them to feel empowered to set limits, better prioritize their tasks, let go of work at the end of a shift, make more time for themselves and their personal lives, become more aware of their own emotions, mental states, and stress triggers, create healthier boundaries for themselves at work and at home, and much more.

Heather, a volunteer with a rescue, recently wrote to tell me how CiB has changed her life:

“The class helped so much! I learned so many simple, helpful things and decided to form small new habits that have ended up making a huge impact on my mental state. Now I take breaks to breathe, eat, walk and play with my dogs. No matter what is going on, I take breaks now. And I am learning to say NO without feeling terrible (sometimes I say “no” and I feel joy welling up as I say it!) and I feel proud of myself afterward. I’ve also stopped working until 3am because I need boundaries and sleep! These are just a handful of the ways the class has helped me. There are many more!”

 

And guess what? Heather didn’t even finish the whole class! She got that out of doing about half of the course modules. Pretty neat, huh?

nothing has to change

 

Metis, founder and volunteer of a 501c3 animal welfare non-profit had this to say about her experience with CiB this past fall:

“Compassion in Balance is the first compassion fatigue class I really “got”. I have taken workshops and seminars about the topic before, but Jessica’s experience in animal welfare and her easy going, humorous writing style really helped me understand compassion fatigue and how to address it in my life.

I suggest this course to anyone and everyone in a caring profession who wants to sustain a long and healthy career. Compassion fatigue might not seem like an issue to you yet – if not, consider the class preventative. If your feeling burned out, spend some time learning coping skills and strategies that will help you learn how to be happy while doing the work you love.”

If that sounds good to you, then I hope you’ll give yourself this class as a gift. Think of CiB as an investment in yourself.  You can enroll here. 

I know how busy and tired you are. This summer may not be the perfect time to add something else to your schedule, but let’s be honest: Nothing will change unless you change it.

You don’t have to be a victim to the circumstances you find yourself in at work. You can make simple, yet powerful changes in your life that will allow you to be well, while you do good in the world. Compassion in Balance can help you do that.

You can read more about the class and what other students had to say about it over here. 

I hope you’ll join us this summer!

with love,

How to Stay Accountable In Online Classes

Have you ever signed up for an online class, but never got around to doing a thing with it? You’re in the right place. We’re gonna talk about online class accountability today.

Taking an online, self-paced course is awesome because you can do it when it fits into your schedule. But let’s be honest: sometimes our pace turns out to be…never.  If you’ve ever registered for an online class and not actually taken it, then we have something in common.

Somewhere out there lives an entire village of untaken, unopened class lessons, desperately waiting for you to log in, so they can teach you how to finally knit your cat a unicorn horn.

I offer some pretty great online classes, but I don’t want you to sign up and not take it. I want you to really benefit from them.

Here’s how:

1. Enroll with a Friend:  Ask a friend or colleague with similar interests to take the class with you. Start the course at the same time and make a schedule together, so that you’re both progressing through the lessons at about the same pace. Then hold each other accountable by planning to discuss it on a regular basis. You can do this in person over brunch or by email. Or try a quick daily check-in message (“DONE!”) with no need for a reply to one another.

Have a lot of friends? Ask a bunch of them to enroll in the class and make it a work project or a book club-like event. My Compassion in Balance alumni group is currently doing a 30 Days of Yoga practice together and we post photos and comments in our private Facebook group to let each other know we’ve hit the mat that day. Group accuntabilty – woot!

Hooray for Accountability Partners (and Keith Haring)!
Hooray for Accountability Buddies (and Keith Haring)!

2. Go Public: We’re more likely to stick to our commitments when other people know about our goals. Tell people in your life that you’re taking the class and what you hope to achieve. Make it known.

I hate to let people down, so I always feel more incentive to do the work when I’ve told people about it. When we keep our goals a secret, we give ourselves the chance to strike all kinds of deals to let ourselves off the hook.

You can also use social media to hold yourself accountable. Sometimes just the act of posting your goals and progress to an audience is enough to keep you plugging away.

3. Create Content:  Bloggers, this one is for you. As a spin off to #2, if you already have an audience, think of the class you’re taking as content fodder. It can be tough to find new things to write about every week. Use the structure of the class to create new content. You can write weekly posts to correspond with each lesson and share your progress. Or your can write a wrap-up post when you finish the class to share what you’ve learned. Announce to your readers early on that you’re in class. Knowing your readers are waiting for your thoughts on the topic will help keep you in school.

4. Schedule It: Before you get started, look at your calendar and life. Is this the right time to start or should you wait a couple of months to dive in? Where can you block out time each week to do the lessons?

Plan to start the course when you feel like it’s realistic for you, but then stick to it by blocking out time in your calendar to do the work. Make a commitment to start each lesson on a specific date and mark down any live calls or webinars. Do this in advance – so your schedule reflects your commitment.

Personal_Accountability
I can never get enough of these chickens. They really speak to my soul, you know? (source)

5. Set Your Intention: Be clear about why you’re taking the class. We’re all so busy and have a trillion things pulling at our attention. Reflect on why you hit “buy now!”, so you know why you’re willing to pass up New Girl reruns to do the homework.

Here’s a question to help you figure out your intention for the class: What do you hope to be able to do differently because of this course? Try to be very specific. This will help keep you motivated when the going gets tough.

 

So that’s it folks – a few ideas for how not to fall off the online-class wagon!

 

If you’re looking for a class to take this year and you work with animals, may I suggest my classes? Let’s hang out!

Compassion in Balance Workshop in Massachusetts

Join me October 3, 2015 for a full day workshop in Wakefield, MA hosted by the New England Dog Training Club. This seminar, designed for people who work or volunteer with animals, is open to the public and you can earn CEs!

map compassion fatigue

 

Every day you work to meet the needs of pets and people in your community with great skill and compassion. But when was the last time you took the time to assess your own needs or explore the impact that your complex work may be having on your physical and emotional health?

Join us for a full day seminar on compassion fatigue, the natural consequence of stress that results from caring for and helping traumatized or suffering people and animals. This original seminar will cover six strategies and numerous tools we can use to transform and manage our experience of compassion fatigue, so that we can continue to do ethical, effective, and sustainable work.

The full day seminar identifies what compassion fatigue is, its symptoms, and contributing factors. We then examine stress management and self-care practices. Participants will have the opportunity to participate in discussions, experiential activities, take self-assessments, reflect and connect with the positive aspects of their work, practice a stress-reduction technique, and create a self-care plan.

Join us to learn how to be well, while you do good!

Please note: This seminar is not a substitution for professional mental health care. If you’re suffering from clinical depression or are having suicidal thoughts, please seek professional help.

When: 9:30am – 4:30pm on October 3rd, 2015

Where: Knights of Columbus Hall, 570 North Ave, Wakefield, MA

Cost: $80, $65 for shelter workers and groups of 8 or more. $10 lunch (optional)

CEUs: 9 – IAABC
CEUs: 6 CCPDT Vet/Tech CE

 

Register Here!

 

I hope to see you there,

New Class Option: Compassion Fatigue Strategies

Over the past few months, I’ve teamed up with the University of Florida’s Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program to create Compassion Fatigue Strategies a four module, online, self-paced class for people who work with animals. And it starts June 15th!

So, you may be wondering: What’s the difference between this new course and my other class, Compassion in Balance? Overall, the class materials are very similar, but the courses are set up differently. The original class, Compassion in Balance, is scheduled, with new materials released each week. Students move through each lesson together at the same time.

Compassion Fatigue Strategies is totally self-paced. Think: On Demand. You’ll have access to the whole class on day one and you can do the work at your own speed. But the biggest difference is that this new class offers you the chance to earn continuing education class hours, which Compassion in Balance does not.

dog-624951_1280

 

You may prefer to take this new course via the University of Florida if: You want a class that starts this summer, you like doing things at your own pace, and you need continuing education credits.

If those things don’t really matter to you, then you might want to wait for the next round of CiB which will run this September. But, I wanted to make sure you had the option to choose, in case you’re itching for a class right away!

Still not sure? Here’s a handy chart that breaks it down in detail:

Compassion in Balance Compassion Fatigue Strategies
Class Features
Start Date September 2015 June 15, 2015
(you can start the class any time until July 18, 2015)
End Date Mid November 2015 August 15, 2015
Type of Course Scheduled: new lesson made available each week Self-Paced: all lessons made available at once. Materials released upon enrollment, beginning June 15
Registration Start and End Dates Enrollment begins August
Enrollment closes September
Open for enrollment now!
Enrollment closes July 18
Continuing Ed Credits? No Yes
15 continuing education class hours
Quizzes No Yes. To receive CEs, quizzes must be completed by August 15
Discussion Boards Yes Yes, until August 15, 2015
Live calls with Jessica Yes Yes
Access to Course Materials One Year Until October 15, 2015
Class Size Limited Open, No Limit
Platform Ruzuku Canvas (via UF)
Price $149 $200
Discounts available? Yes No

 

No matter which class you choose, you’ll still get to hang out with me! Both classes have discussion boards where we can talk about what you’re learning and both classes have multiple live phone calls, so we can get together in real time.

To learn more about the new class, check out this page. Or, if you want to go right to registration for the UF class, Compassion Fatigue Strategies, hit this link.

And if you have questions, leave a comment of feel free to email me.

High five!

Live From New York: It’s Compassion Fatigue Education!

This summer I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Animal Farm Foundation, located in Duchess County, NY, twice so far to present on the topics of Compassion Fatigue and self care. AFF’s annual summer internship programs, open to animal shelter and rescue workers, offer up a variety of workshops from hands-on dog training to lectures on the power of language and how to facilitate better adoptions.

The staff shared with me that in past internships, one of the recurring concerns interns brought up was how to handle burnout. So I was thrilled that we could incorporate Compassion Fatigue strategies into this year’s lineup.

Both times I had the privilege of meeting with dedicated and enthusiastic men and women who are committed to creating positive changes for people and pets in their communities around the country.

From animal control officers to volunteers, they’re all working in the challenging environment of animal welfare and I was so happy to be able to connect them to resources that will help them to continue doing their work, while also taking care of themselves.

 

The Interns Enjoying Time Off!
The Interns Enjoying Time Off!

 

But just because we’re talking about Compassion Fatigue, stress, and setting boundaries doesn’t mean we’re not having a good time!

There was a LOT of laughing around the table, especially when we realized how much we all have in common. Working and volunteering with animals presents us with unique and challenging circumstances that are often accompanied by a roller coaster of emotions – very rewarding highs and very upsetting lows.

Knowing that we’re not alone in our experiences and that there are tools to support us in this work is a powerful realization which can lead to healthy changes in our personal and professional lives.

The interns seemed to enjoy our discussions as much as I did! Here’s some of the feedback I received after the workshops:

“I’m realizing the importance of self awareness. It’s also reaffirming to have it recognized how hard it is in our field, especially when so many do not understand.” -AFF June ’14 Intern

“I felt that of all the compassion fatigue workshops, lectures I have attended over the 13 years in this field, yours was by far the most helpful and relatable.” – AFF June ’14 Intern

“I liked relating my shelter experiences with other people and with the speaker. I loved that you said to set our initial goals incredibly small so there’s no way that we can’t succeed.” – AFF May ’14 Intern

 

The internships continue through September, so I get to head back to AFF two more times this summer. In the meantime, I’m off to California at the end of this month for BAD RAP’s Rescue Jam!

High five,