Financial Advisor Mental Health Tips During a Pandemic

April 13, 2020 - Andrew Orr

Pessimism is bad for mental health and a guarantee for failure, but when advisors are optimistic and forward-thinking, they improve their health and increase their chances for a better tomorrow.

Work from Home

While COVID-19 market volatility has been a challenge to say the least, financial advisors should not let fear and stress of the present determine their future.

Maintaining a healthy mental state is important for one’s work performance, now and in the future.

Below are some helpful tips for advisors to maintain good mental health during the coronavirus.

Financial Advisor Mental Health: 6 Ways to Deal with COVID-19

Avoid Negativity

Yes, it’s important to know the risks and reality of COVID-19, but to be consumed by constant pessimism will accomplish nothing.

A study from the Harvard Business Review (HBR) showed that people who consumed negative news in the morning were 27% more likely to feel unhappy six to eight hours after than those who consumed positive content.

As the Harvard study pointed out, the majority of news stories deals with problems around the world of which he have no control over. Being overwhelmed by problems so big and out of our control leads to a “learned helplessness,” which leads to lower performance at work, as well as depression, the Harvard study also found.

Physical health is already enough at risk by venturing out. It’s enough work maintaining good mental health for yourself and family when stuck at home. Allow for more positive news and diversions into your life.

Don’t Let Pandemic Pessimism Restrict Your Ability to Perform

Mentioned above, the Harvard Business Review found a link between consumption of negative news and lower levels of work performance.

What’s more, the same study found a link between optimism and higher performance, referring to optimistic insurance salespeople outselling pessimistic counterparts by 37%.

The HBR study also found organizations that shared positive news and smiles with others led to higher revenue, happier clientele, and greater employee engagement.

Optimism allows one to engage in more productive behavior. During a lockdown, having a clear mind is a good first step in developing a strategy around COVID-19.

Just as optimism will show, so will pessimism. Your clients need guidance, leadership, and comfort. Show them you are in control, not your emotions.

Know When to Take a Break

Working from home has its benefits, but when left unchecked, work and personal life overlap.

Before you know it, the day has gone by, and you’re still at the computer. With minor distractions from news and family throughout day, you may not feel fully rested or accomplished.

The message is simple and it has been repeated over and over: take a break.

Exercise, reflect, meditate, watch a frivolous YouTube video, listen to music, etc. Whatever it takes to make you feel like you stepped completely away from work, do it.

To the extent you can, set parameters around when you work and when you take a break, just as you would at the office. Let family know your routine to minimize distractions.

Be Forward-Thinking

Sunrise

Just as the late Bill Withers once said, “Sometimes in our lives, we all have pain. We all have sorrow. But if we are wise, we know that there’s always tomorrow.”

“But if we are wise, we know that there’s always tomorrow.” That’s important to remember.

Being in a perpetual state of pessimism will guarantee future failure, so why not be optimistic?

When someone looks forward to a better tomorrow, they increase their chances of success because they’ll make plans and decisions that reflect the future they want to be part of.

In our previous blog post, we mentioned what RIAs can learn from COVID-19. Focusing on long-term organizational improvement is how firms will make it through this current stretch and beyond.

Also mentioned in our previous post is that US markets did recover after the 1918 pandemic, and they recovered after every crisis since. Think beyond the present.

Be Appreciative

It might seem counterintuitive to be thankful when things aren’t going your way, but that is precisely the point.

When things aren’t going your way, it is a time to think about all the times when things did go your way. It’s easy to overlook the little things that happen with regularity.

Think about investments that did well. How about the performance bonuses? The camaraderie with your colleagues, meeting face to face with your favorite clients, going out to restaurants with clients and colleagues, recognition for a job well done… there are good times to be thankful for.

Instead of seeing traffic on your commute to work as inconvenient, view traffic as a sign of people’s ability to leave their home and carry out their professional and personal pursuits.

It’s easy to overlook the little things that happen with regularity, but when taken away from us as they are now, one can’t help but be more appreciative of those little things.

Seek Professional Help

Do what you can to help yourself first, but if your situation requires professional help, schedule an appointment with your doctor or therapist and video chat.

As long as COVID-19 persists, do not leave your home for professional or medical attention, unless it’s a life-threatening illness or injury.

Staying Mentally Healthy Now and for the Future

Financial advisors are facing unique and challenging times, but in order to move ahead, they cannot be consumed by negativity associated with COVID-19.

Consuming too much negative news and adopting a defeatist mindset will negatively impact work performance and guarantee failure, but when following the aforementioned tips, financial advisors can maintain good mental health and succeed.

The markets recovered from the last pandemic, and they have recovered from all other crises since. Feeling optimistic is not without precedent.

At the end of the day, it’s your health and your choice to be positive and forward thinking. Do what is best.