Advisor mental health and wellness hacks: A more holistic perspective
E*TRADE Advisor Services
The coronavirus pandemic renewed our focus on how physical, mental, and financial health interconnect, and shed a light on how financial health can affect quality of life. Advisors work hard every day to not only manage risk, but also alleviate angst, offer behavioral guidance, and give clients the reassurance they need.
Are you giving yourself the same attention?
In serving our clients it can be easy for self-care to take a back seat, but it’s essential to invest in your own mental wellness. These simple tools can help you build a reservoir of resilience for rainy days, or find some much-needed calm during trying times:
Establish intentional routines: Running a business makes it especially tricky to set boundaries, but it’s essential to carve out time where you can fully disengage from work. Dr. Alden Cass, who specializes in supporting mental health in the finance industry, recommends a morning routine that doesn’t involve checking email until a designated time.1 Similarly, at night, establish an “off switch”—ideally at the same time each day. Apply the same discipline you use in your practice management to protecting personal time.
Take breaks: Try to take breaks—even just 30 seconds—throughout your workday. Forbes reports that cognitive capacity declines throughout the day, but taking breaks improves both mood and productivity.2 Look away from your screens, stand up, concentrate on breathing, take a short walk, or simply stretch in your work area.
Reconnect—with you: While it’s undoubtedly rewarding to take pride in our work, it’s important to remember that self-worth doesn’t depend only on a career. What matters to you outside of work? A healthy sense of identity encompasses diverse interests and is part of what allows people to weather uncertainty—and even loss—with resilience. Psychology Today recommends setting aside time each day for different areas of your life that enrich your sense of identity—perhaps through hobbies, personal relationships, physical activity, or spirituality.3
Refocus on long-term goals: Advisors constantly do this with clients, so try it with yourself. Take five minutes to vision-cast, realign with your long-term personal goals as well as your business plan, and perhaps even plan a future event—like a vacation—for when things calm down.
Communicate early and often: Occasionally, all of us need reassurance and a little support: Calls to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) hotline saw a 891% spike during the early days of the coronavirus crisis.4 Finding ways to connect with your communities and maintain your relationships can be challenging, but doing so can help relieve stress and lessen any sense of isolation.
If you’re looking for more tips and resources on what self-care looks like during the pandemic and beyond, the CDC offers some additional advice on managing stress and emotional health.5 And as always, please seek professional care if you’re struggling.
Take the time to give yourself the same care and attention you’d offer your top clients. Simple self-care—taking breaks, exercising daily, meditating or journaling, eating healthy meals, connecting with loved ones—can sometimes feel like a Herculean task. It can also be an alien concept for many hardworking financial services professionals, but these practices can go a long way toward managing stress and building resilience—for yourself, and ultimately, for your business.
A version of this article first appeared in FA Magazine
- Wealth Management, “Transparency With Diana B.: Advisors and Mental Health,” Dec. 11, 2019, https://www.wealthmanagement.com/careers/transparency-diana-b-advisors-and-mental-health
- Forbes, “Want To Get More Done? Try Taking More Breaks,” Feb. 6, 2017, https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2017/02/06/want-to-get-more-done-try-taking-more-breaks/?sh=17be1ba56db4
- Psychology Today, “Resilience During a Pandemic,” April 7, 2020, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/nurturing-resilience/202004/resilience-during-pandemic
- ABC News, “Calls to US helpline jump 891%, as White House is warned of mental health crisis,” April 7, 2020, https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/calls-us-helpline-jump-891-white-house-warned/story?id=70010113
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed April 14, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html and https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/selfcare.asp