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Financial advisors: How to cope with Stress in a Recession

You’re not alone. Clients and their financial advisors have to cope with stress more than ever before.

In 2019, before the word pandemic became a part of our regular vocabulary, the War on Stress study revealed that 71% of financial advisors and 57% of investors were experiencing high negative stress levels compared to 2018. 

With the rise of inflation and world circumstances, we don’t need another study to tell us things have gotten worse and we need to learn how to to cope with stress. For your investors, you know firsthand that they’re stressed about maintaining their wealth throughout their lifetime, paying their expenses, and building a legacy. Advisors are worried about the survival of their business. Both of these fears are rooted in one bottom line – financial security and the unknown. 

You first need to understand that what you and your clients may be dealing with is financial anxiety, not financial stress. Financial stress comes from not having enough money in the present moment. Financial anxiety is when you worry about not having money if something bad happens. Knowing this, you can equip yourself with the mindset tools that can help you and your clients climb out of overwhelm to continue on your path that will help you reach your goals. It may just require some gentle pivoting along the way.

Read on for our top tips on how to cope with stress during a recession. 

How To Cope with Stress in a Recession

Stress isn’t always a bad thing. But too much of it certainly is. The fight or flight response in your brain comes in handy when you’re under a crushing deadline or need to react and be able to cope with stress. However, having this reaction to every bump in the road is terrible for your health. Also for your productivity levels, and well-being. 

The good news is the mental is a muscle you can train. You can train it to combat negative thinking and poor thought patterns that lead to this way of thinking. Here’s what you can do to put yourself in the best position. That way you’ll be able to serve your clients and grow your business. 

Empty your mind.

Your brain is in total overwhelm between picking up the kids from their sports practice, meal planning healthy lunches for the week, getting your client’s quarterly report ready, and prospecting for new business. It can’t tell the difference between a project, a to-do, a priority, and a should-do task. 

The best thing you can do to get clarity is empty your mind. You have too much information running through your head. Once you take pen to paper (or Excel/Google sheet if you prefer digital), you can categorize and prioritize each item. 

What can be delegated? What needs to be done with a deadline? Don’t allow overwhelm to steal your consciousness by scheduling the time you’ll take action. 

Create a plan. 

80% of advisors producing $1 million or more have written plans, according to a study from CEG Worldwide. Running on default vs designing your future can have a tremendous impact on your business success. 

Just because you don’t know exactly where you’re going doesn’t mean you can’t begin to make a plan. Plans can change, pivot, and be flexible for your growth. They give you an idea of your goals now. And also allow you to work backwards to identify the steps you’ll need to get there. 

Things will change along the way, and that’s okay. But if you don’t aim your business in one direction, you’ll be setting yourself up for stress caused by reactive living rather than proactive planning. You’ll also have a few key indicators that will allow you to measure what’s working so you can adapt your growth strategy accordingly. 

Ditch the cellphone for a few hours.

Your cellphone can do a lot of good. It holds your calendar, allows you to connect with clients, gives you reach on social media, and you have the ability to work from anywhere. But that’s not always a plus. 

While cell phones are great for connectivity, they’re terrible for our brains. Did you know that every time you check your phone, this pattern gives you a dopamine hit? This can leave you depleted and unable to focus on work tasks for long without getting distracted by your phone. 

Try leaving it on silent in another room for a minimum of 3 hours every day for scheduled focus work. If you can, try and keep it up for longer. This will help you cope with incoming stress when you’re trying to abide by your plan. And complete the tasks you’ve brain dumped with a deadline. 

Create healthy boundaries. 

When you’re in a state of worry, especially about your business, it can be easy to let it consume your entire day. You wake up and start answering urgent emails (that truly, aren’t that urgent), and you talk to clients after dinner before your kid’s soccer game. It can feel like you’re getting more accomplished because you’re working “for just a minute” or “doing something really quick,” but you’re setting yourself up for an unproductive day later. 

Start tracking your time and focus on the essential things that will move the needle during work hours while delegating the rest. This will give your mind the break it needs to recharge and perform at its best.

Be kind to yourself.

Meditation and gratefulness can be linked to more success, happiness, and fulfillment. But that doesn’t mean you have to dedicate 30 minutes a day to the practice to quiet your mind. Invest in 5 minutes to set yourself up for a day of productivity and helping others. 

As I’ve called it in the past, you need to wake up twice every morning. Your amygdala will naturally kick in, reminding you of unmet needs like control, perfection, safety, and worthiness. Take the first 5 minutes to recognize that you’re feeling overwhelmed, forgive yourself for assuming you have more projects than you can handle, and begin affirming happiness, joy, and light.

Read our blog from the early days of the pandemic to see the full meditation. 

How to cope with stress in a recession: Final thoughts

Getting out of overwhelm starts with creating a plan that aligns you with what you want for your future. The good news is, this doesn’t have to be a complex 60-page document that takes you 3 months to craft. You can lead your consciousness by developing a One Page Business Plan. We’ve helped financial advisors quiet their minds and focus on what matters. Contact us to get the tools you need to create a foolproof business plan.