How do you cope with the stresses of a managing a hectic workload and career with the demands of a busy life?
Last week’s Mental Health Awareness Week campaign theme was ‘anxiety’ – something all financial services professionals can resonate with in one way or another.
Whether it be a stressful day at work, a lack of balance between office and home life or looming deadlines that seem impossible to meet, all advisers will feel the stress and anxiety that the profession demands.
In order to not capitulate under the weight of stress advisers must have their own way of dealing with the difficult environment that they can sometimes be placed under. At IFA Magazine, we are huge advocates for mental health awareness and we wanted to know how advisers get the necessary boost when things get tough.
Their thoughts are below…and our thanks go to everyone who has shared some of the ways that they cope with the stresses and strains of modern living.
Riz Malik, Director at R3 Mortgages: “Navigating the landscape of financial services often comes with its own set of unique challenges. We frequently find ourselves tasked with easing our clients’ worries in the face of unpredictable markets, which can pose its own set of intricate challenges. However, I’ve learned that prioritising my own health and well-being is not just beneficial for me, but also essential for my clients.”
Rhys Schofield, Managing Director at Peak Mortgages and Protection: “A mortgage brokers life is a mentally taxing one. If you care about your customers it’s very hard to genuinely ever switch off.
“Personally it’s something I’ve struggled with for years – chuck raging ADHD into the mix for some extra spice. But I’ve learned that you just have to make time for yourself. Make sure you have a holiday or time out once a quarter to decompress. I favour going up a mountain with no phone reception. As well as that regularly make the time to see your friends, go to the gym, or however else you clear your mind. If you feel yourself slipping into that pit of work taking your over your life make sure you do something to mentally take yourself out of it.”
As well as making sure you still have plenty of ‘you’ time, plan your day out. If you have cases to get on, block the diary out and hide away with your choice of music – admin and jobs are more taxing the more they build up.
Scott Taylor-Barr, Financial Adviser at Carl Summers Financial Services: “Whenever we have a rapidly rising interest rate market, you will find mortgage brokers struggling with their mental health. It’s an environment where you have no ability to plan or switch off; if a client is suddenly ready to make their application you feel duty-bound to drop everything and do it, otherwise, the interest rate deal that you found for them could vanish and be replaced by something that would suddenly cost them £60 a month more.
“Alternatively you may get an email from a lender telling you that they are pulling all their rates with very little notice, so the case you had planned to do first thing in the morning suddenly needs doing now. It is a pace of work that is not sustainable in the long term and I think many brokers and lenders were very happy when the market settled and we stopped seeing rates changing on a near-daily basis. For me, I love to get away for a few hours on my mountain bike or paddleboard to refocus my mind and de-stress a little.”
Austyn Johnson, Founder at Mortgages For Actors: “I don’t… Honestly though, get outside if you can at least once per day for 30 mins without your phone. Just breath and enjoy being disconnected. What do we say when talking life insurance? You are not a superhero. WFH also makes this very important, you can’t be Adviser, Mum, Dad and all the other jobs for the whole 24 hours. You need to prioritise how long you do each thing and make sure you take breaks.
“Signing off – Mr A Hypocrite”
Christian Duncan, Managing Director at Manchester Mortgage Centre: “I am a strong advocate of mental health. I believe that everybody has a little bit of anxiety within them and that’s normal. But when it begins to consume your life it’s important you identify this and do something about it. As a business owner and mortgage broker I’m not ashamed to say I have previously suffered from anxiety. It’s something I had to work through patiently and have come out the other side. Medication from the doctor did help but the biggest and most useful tool I used to lift my mood was…my legs!
“Going out for that 20 – 25-minute walk per day did me the world of good. It gave me the “me time” I needed to just unwind. Whether that be listening to a podcast, listening to music or just staring at the footpath ahead and forgetting about your responsibilities.
“Being a mortgage broker can be a lonely job. Especially if you’re working from home like most. Make time for yourself and make sure you speak to like-minded people from within the industry.”