Be kind to your mind

Let’s talk anxiety in estate agency. 

Read the first two words of the previous sentence again, they’re important - even more so now than maybe ever before. 

At the moment, I’m pretty sure most of our minds are racing with thoughts surrounding the high level of uncertainty in the air. However, one thing I’m even more certain about is that if we address our concerns, and do our best to support each other in these unusual and testing times, we will feel a lot better a lot sooner. 

Our mental health affects how we think, feel and act. It affects how we handle anxiety, relate to others and it impacts our decision making. 

It’s unsurprising to hear that in our industry, mental health issues are hugely commonplace and hugely under discussed. Perhaps now, with the current climate being in the position it's in, mental health issues may be more rife than usual, making it even more vital that we address them and have open conversations about them. 

Estate agency is emotional, even in ordinary circumstances, and that’s what I love about the profession. There are very few things in life that give me as much of a high as the triumph and surge of energy I felt when I’d get a call from a client saying they wanted me to be their agent.

Similarly, and particularly early on in my career, I felt the losses hard too. I took it all personally. Some thought leaders might say that agents need to remove the emotion from the job and rely only on numbers and processes, but I’d say agents without the raw emotions often lose their passion, and with it their underlying care for their work. The highs are inspiring (and energising), while the lows hit hard - though we all tell ourselves that a loss is a lesson and they should be equally inspiring to avoid having to feel that emotion again soon.

I have noticed a worrying stigma often attached to estate agents: that we’re extreme extroverts who have very high self-confidence and no mental health concerns. 

Having now worked with many agents as well as having been one, I can tell you that this is far from the case. In fact, the industry has rampant mental health issues that can get buried amidst the buzzwords of ‘agent life’, ‘hustle’ and ‘the grind’; and salespeople are just as vulnerable to the mental health concerns that plague one in four people in society today. They just hide it behind bravado (and other vices).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 300 million people around the world suffer from depression, with many of them also suffering from symptoms of anxiety. Health.com also reports that sales jobs are among the careers with the highest rates of depression. 

Therefore, managing your mental health concerns is essential, especially now. 

Things might not be going to plan at the moment, and it might feel like you’ll have to face more hardships than successes in the coming weeks, but this doesn’t have to be the case. By paying attention to your mental wellbeing, some of the current issues you may be facing can feel easier to manage. 

While things are tough, remember it’s not you or your business that’s the issue, it’s the situation itself. This can feel stressful especially if things begin to feel out of your control, but there are things within your control you can work on to alleviate the anxiety you might be feeling. Your mindset is important for making sure the things you control stay on a positive path where possible. 

Anxiety can be managed when you recognise it. 

Sometimes, a good way to address a stressful situation is to remove yourself for a second, especially if it’s beginning to consume your thoughts. Don’t be afraid to stop and step away to give yourself a change of scenery and clear your mind. You’ll come back refreshed and better able to navigate a way through with a clearer outlook. 

If hitting pause doesn’t help, share your concerns with your manager, employer, colleagues or friends. Talk openly about your worries. Empathy goes a long way, and talking is just about the best thing you can do for yourself. It helps to alleviate tension and allows your team to form a community of those dealing with similar issues.  

Even if it seems tough to do so, make decisions with as much rationality as possible without letting fear control your next steps. Direct your thoughts and actions in a positive direction and try to keep the bigger picture in mind. Like I mentioned earlier, the things out of our control are the hardest things to get a handle on, but the smaller things which we do have a say in, like our own thoughts and behaviours, can make a positive impact on the toughest of situations if we let them. 

At a time where social distancing is the norm, we shouldn’t lose sight of togetherness. It’s needed now more than ever - we can still lean on each other for support. Just expressing your emotions will allow you to uncover a lot about yourself and those around you. Believe me, you’re not alone in feeling what you’re feeling. The more you express yourself, the more you’ll come to realise that others around you can relate to how you feel too. Currently we’re all in the same boat, and comfort can be taken in the fact that we’ll navigate our way through the challenges together. 

In the years to come, mental health and wellbeing will come to have the same importance as physical health. But for right now, let’s not just start conversations about our mental health, let’s continue them. With a little bit of empathy and support, we can all do more to help each other achieve things beyond belief. Together with open minds, compassion and understanding, we can navigate our way through the most difficult of situations and become better people along the way.