Working as a Professional Organiser can be an emotionally demanding gig. Whether you’re decluttering with clients with complex situations and needs, or helping a grieving family sort through their loved one’s belongings, it can take a toll on your mental, physical, and emotional health. Burnout is a real risk in this line of work, and something to keep a good eye on.

Feeling like you’re at your wit’s end and can’t deal anymore? Here are some signs that you might be experiencing burnout:

  • You’re constantly exhausted and feeling emotionally drained.
  • You have a lot less patience with your clients than you used to
  • You’re having trouble focusing and might be engaging in avoidance activities
  • You’re experiencing physical symptoms like headaches, insomnia, or stomach problems.
  • You’re starting to question your purpose and value as an organiser.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to recognise them and take action to address them. Here’s a few options:

  1. Take a break – Step away from the role and take some time off to focus on yourself. This might involve taking a day off, a weekend away, or a longer break to recharge.
  2. Find support – Don’t be afraid to reach out to colleagues (we have a very supportive industry, which is great), friends, or family for support. If things get really bad, consider talking to a mental health professional.
  3. Focus on self-care – Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating well, and getting some exercise. Take some time for yourself to do things you enjoy, like crafting, reading a book or hiking. Make time to potter or do nothing (without guilt!).
  4. Rethink your workload – Consider whether you need to adjust your workload to prevent burnout in the future. This might mean temporarily taking on fewer clients or referring some on to colleagues.

Prevention is key when it comes to burnout. Here are some tips to help you avoid it:

  1. Set boundaries. Establish clear boundaries around your work and personal life. Maybe that means not doing any work after 5 pm or taking whole weekends off to recharge.
  2. Practice stress management techniques. Find some stress-busting techniques that work for you, whether it’s breathing exercises, grounding techniques or a satisfyingly intense workout.
  3. Build a support network. Surround yourself with people who can support you both personally and professionally. This might include colleagues, friends, family, mentor or therapist.
  4. Take care of yourself. Make time for self-care activities. I’m not going to say “a bubble bath”, but TRUE self-care, that has a long term effect (check out Brooke McAlary’s “Care”)
  5. Balance your workload. Make sure you never go over a certain percentage of high-needs or complex clients at any one time. Balance your “draining” clients or jobs with those that are “energising” so you can avoid it all getting too much.

So if you’ve been around a while you’ll know this, but if you’re fairly new, it’s good for you to be aware that burnout is a real risk when you’re a Professional Organiser. But by recognising the signs, seeking support, and taking proactive steps to prevent burnout, you can keep on organising and stay sane. Remember to prioritise self-care, set boundaries, balance your client load and find support when you need it.

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