Save Yourself First

This is uncomfortable to say, but bear with me a minute.

If you've ridden on an airplane, maybe that phrase seems familiar, if not quite so blunt? When airline employees go over safety protocols prior to takeoff, one thing they explain is what to do if the cabin loses pressure. Oxygen masks will deploy from overhead, and you are instructed to put the mask over your own face prior to helping anyone else.

This seems like a funny thing for an organizer to blog about, but very often it is what I must tell my clients, in particular when they are overwhelmed, and have been or are in some capacity, a caretaker.

People who are viewed as helpers often put themselves last. With boundless energy they take family members to appointments, volunteer at schools or churches, provide support to friends. It is generally a desperate phone call after years of struggle that connects me with this type of client, and it is usually at the request of something they have helped.

Keeping up with our increasingly busy lives is not easy. We all have to make sacrifices of one type of another. People who enjoy helping or taking care of others often put themselves at the bottom of the list, and burnout is very common. I've had to say to more than one client to "put the oxygen mask on yourself, first." You can't give from an empty tank. And although saying it seems easy, doing it is something else.

It is easy to understand when someone gets help with yard care, housecleaning, petsitting. For some reason, people thing hiring an organizer is extravagant, "something you can do yourself," or unnecessary.

I'd say not only are you getting help for yourself, but you are actually learning valuable skills in the process, which often leads to richer, more satisfying living!

I have had some clients who are "one and done," meaning we complete a task, and the job ends. I have many others who are repeat customers, and we have regular "tune up" sessions. One thing that is the same, however, is the relationship we build together, and the strategies and skills the client learns. I get regular updates, "thought of you" texts, and holiday cards from every client I have ever worked with, and for me, that is one of the most satisfying parts of what I do.

If all I every do, however, is remind a client that they are important, and are worth saving first, well, that's valuable, too.

Need help? Give me a call.