Self-care is not selfish – it’s essential

We know that great advisers place their clients at the centre of everything they do. From the start of the day to the end, we know that the best interests of your clients is a core focus for you. We know that the value of an adviser is much more than just helping achieve financial goals. Clients may be asking questions, seeking support, needing their fears calmed or perhaps even a sympathetic ear for the uncertainty they are experiencing.

Multiply this across many clients and this can rest heavy one person's shoulders.

Against the backdrop of royal commissions, education standards and industry disruption, advisers wear many hats - fiduciaries, business owners, employers, community leaders. That’s in addition to other roles you hold such as parents, carers, partners, friends - the list goes on.

So, we ask you to stop, breath and take a moment. Self-care is not selfish - it is essential.

Along with your client plans, your business plans and staff plans - take time to have a self-care plan. While it might feel indulgent, your mental health and well-being is not only critical to your personal life but your professional life as well.

Still not convinced? Think of it as your Business Continuity Plan (BCP). Right now, corporations have implemented their BCP to help continue to deliver their services to clients and manage key person and key process risk. You are no good to your clients and your team, if you are burnt out.

We suggest some key elements of your self-care plan.

  • Physical care - It almost goes without saying, eat healthy, exercise regularly and sleep well. Do this as consistently as you can. Failure is not missing a day success is having a plan that helps guide you in making the best decisions you can over time. Just like a financial plan.
  • Disconnect your tech - Commit a time in your day where there is no news, no screen, no social media. Even the less anxious amongst us are experiencing record levels of anxiety.
  • Stay connected to people - We are social creatures and we know that advisers’ value peer based learning and sharing challenges. Find ways to connect with colleagues, adviser communities within your licensee or industry groups such as XY Adviser. Embrace video conferencing technology and see the difference in connecting visually. See our Best Practice Guide on how to make the most of this.
  • Create time in your day to relax your mind and body - Meditation and mindfulness is a powerful tool not only for relaxation - it can bring focus, assist with cognitive thinking, emotional regulation and empathy. All core skills of a great adviser, so consider it as an investment in your service delivery.
  • Find simple activities that bring you joy - Singing out loud, listening to music, looking at old photos - even just smiling can trigger feel-good neurotransmitters such as dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. It may be small, it may be silly - but find what works for you, do it often and enjoy!

Remember, we are all in this together. Whether it be the kids in the background, the working from home set-up or the barking dogs you can hear out the window - we are all experiencing a significant disruption in the way we work and the way we live. Be kind to yourself.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, we suggest utilising some of the resources available to you. Organisations such as Beyond Blue and Lifeline have resources and helplines available. Discuss with your general practitioner about potentially establishing a mental health plan. Also check in your licensee or your Industry Group to see what additional support services they may provide.

Finally, "This too shall pass". We will get through this and we believe that there will be significant opportunities for financial advisers to remind our communities not only of the tangible and measurable benefits of advice, but the emotional and intangible value of a personal relationship with an adviser just like you.