Article April 28, 2020

8 tips for getting on top of stress

The pandemic has brought with it multiple sources of stress, including client concerns, work reorganization and uncertainty about the future. If you’re feeling at the end of your rope, read on.

People get anxious when they think bad things are going to happen. And let’s face it, the current period is fertile ground for this kind of thinking. It’s not easy to stay positive when you feel you’re no longer in control and when every day brings new challenges. Here’s an action plan for alleviating your stress.

Develop a strategy                                                    

Psychologist Perry Adler recommends identifying the challenges in your life, then creating a solid plan for dealing with them. “Then stop thinking about it unless the situation changes,” he says. “Focus on short-term objectives and things in your life that make you happy. Happiness doesn’t come so much from getting what we want, but rather from appreciating what we have.” He also says the people who do well emotionally are those who develop strategies for dealing with the challenges they face rather than simply accepting the situation.

Establish a routine

To create a sense of normalcy, keep to your routines as much as possible. “Get up and get dressed as if you were going to the office,” recommends psychologist Nayla Awada. “Even if you’re working from home, try to separate your professional and personal lives. If you can, work in a separate room and close the door outside office hours. This signals the end of the working day.” It’s also important to keep in touch with colleagues to stay connected and maintain group cohesiveness. Sharing experiences will also help everyone feel less isolated.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

It’s more important than ever to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep are excellent ways to keep stress at bay. “Despite the limitations, don’t neglect your social life,” advises Awada. “Keep in touch with your family and friends by phone or videoconference.” Keeping informed is also important. But stick to reliable sources and refer to them no more than once or twice a day to avoid information overload and the anxiety that comes with it.

Don't stay alone

Advisors who work alone are more likely to be anxious, because they cannot count on the support of a team. It’s important they connect with colleagues and talk about ways to manage clients’ stress and their own. Sharing advice and experiences helps put things into perspective and creates a support network. “It’s very important that others validate your feelings,” says Adler. “You’ll feel less alone in this fight.”

Seek the wisdom of experienced colleagues

Young advisors may be more sensitive to the stress generated by this period. “It’s because they haven’t had to deal with a stock market crash before, and they haven’t had the opportunity to learn from it,” says Adler. “Experienced professionals should reflect on what they learned in previous crises and share their knowledge with younger advisors.”

Learn to disconnect

There are a number of techniques to help manage stress, including relaxation, breathing, mindfulness and meditation exercises. The Internet offers a variety of resources, including apps for learning meditation, such as Petit Bambou, Headspace and Zenfie. If you need further support, seek help from a professional right away. Cognitive behavioural therapy is generally recommended to control anxiety.

Give to feel better

Studies show that giving is more satisfying than receiving. “In the same way, helping others—doing grocery shopping for isolated seniors, for example—helps to draw us out of our own situation, take a step back and, as a result, reduce stress,” says Awada.

Accept help when offered

The Ordre des psychologues du Québec offers resources and a wealth of useful advice on its COVID-19 page. Why not take a look?