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Generalized Anxiety Disorder & Professional Organizing

According to The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, there are ways in which one can proactively address the GAD symptoms they have. Treatments can include: relation training, cognitive therapy, worry exposure, reducing worry behaviors, problem solving, distraction, medication, mindfulness practice and lifestyle/personality changes.

Clients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder may be triggered by the process of reaching out to, and working with, a professional organizer. Since the process of getting organized could be considered a stressful event, there is a possibility that a potential client may reach out to discuss how they need professional help, and then not be able to follow through because of their symptoms at the time. When anxiety is present, there is also the potential of a client cancelling a session at the last minute, because their symptoms have escalated, and they feel unable to have a session at that scheduled date and time. There is also the potential of middle of the night emails or text messages, because of the uncertainty of what lies ahead in the organizing process.

If a client is affected by GAD, and are able to start on their organizing journey, the client may get tired or fatigued easily and need to take multiple breaks. Setting a timer to check in with the client regularly about how they are doing is always a good idea. Taking breaks during the session may also help if irritability presents itself while a client is having to make difficult decisions in the organizing process. Taking a break can also be a very helpful tool when a client freezes or they cannot move forward with a thought or action.

If a client reports that they are not getting enough sleep or feel tired all the time, discussing a way to implement a sleep hygiene regime is another way a professional organizer can help a client affected with GAD. Brainstorming ways for clients to implement a nighttime routine and the time blocking/time management needed to get a good night’s sleep can help their overall symptoms, and ensures they are more rested for an organizing and paring down session.

When clients do not have any tools in their toolbox for the increased anxiety they are living with, and feel very stuck with in their current situation, a professional organizer can suggest that they check in with their primary doctor and/or a therapist We can also suggest & brainstorm regular exercise ideas and resources in the community, including a gym membership or senior center, yoga, meditation, equine therapy and walking. Helping clients find the time to set aside for self-care with time blocking strategies can be a useful way that professional organizers can help their clients. When symptoms are not as elevated, the likelihood that an organizing session is more successful is greater.

If a client is having increased anxiety about items that are associated with grief, loss, or trauma during a professional organizing session, a professional organizer can suggest that the client postpone addressing those items at that time or redirect to items that are potentially less anxiety producing for the moment.

Professional organizers can certainly help clients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, so long as we are aware of the increased symptoms the client may feel overall, mindful of what they might be experiencing in the moment and are willing to give practical suggestions (within our scope) to assist the client. Getting organized as a self-care strategy can be an excellent way in which we can help clients with GAD to potentially help manage some of their symptoms.

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