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How Advisors Can Practice Self-Care in Times of Market Uncertainty

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The markets had been relatively calm seas for over 10 years, but recently, the current has shifted, winds have picked up and now the sight line is a bit foggy.

You have been charting your clients’ journeys, guiding them to stay on track to their destination. As COVID-19 impacts the market, it is time to remain steadfast, strong and committed for your clients, your staff and your families. Whether you have experienced these rough seas before or it is your first storm, you can take peace in knowing that with each experience, we learn, train and improve.

As the captain of the ship, you need to make sure that you are taking care of yourself so that you can take care of others. After the 2008 recession, many advisors experienced depression, anxiety, problems sleeping and even post-traumatic stress disorder. It is hard to not take it personally when clients are upset and anxious. It can be draining to have emotional call after emotional call for 8 to 10 hours a day, telling the same narrative again and again.

Fulfilling first your own basic needs, as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs deems the most essential, is more important now than ever.

First and foremost, be sure to follow the recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (For the latest updates, visit the CDC website.)

Next, repeat after me: Self-care is not selfish.

Make sure that you are fulfilling these basic needs:

  • Get good rest. While it may be difficult, try to remove yourself from the news cycle and technology an hour before bed, so that your body can transition to a good night’s sleep
  • Stay active and exercise. Exercise lowers the body’s stress hormones and stimulates the production of endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.
  • Hydrate. It is simple, but staying hydrated allows your body to function properly; being dehydrated can lead to headaches, tiredness and dizziness.
  • Treat food as fuel. Eat appropriate portions of healthy and nourishing foods.
  • Don’t just roll out of bed and start working. It’s likely your routine has changed, or will need to, especially if you are working from home. Be proactive about changing your routine to focus on your own self-care.
  • If your gym is closed and you like to start your day with a morning workout, check out at-home workouts or get outside for a jog.

Working from home? Keep these tips in mind:

  • Set up a separate and comfortable workspace
  • Keep normal work hours to help you mentally “shut off” from work and maintain good work-life balance.
  • If your home also has transitioned to a school for your children, set up consistent schedules, visit with them during lunch and use a white noise app or machine if needed.

Stay connected to:

  • Nature: Take a walk outside. It’s been shown to help with anxiety and depression. It also serves as a great break to stretch your legs, clear your mind and center yourself.
  • Your loved ones: Call, text or hop on a video chat to offer one another support.
  • Gratitude: Despite these times, we have so much to be grateful for — jot down a couple of things you are grateful for each day.
  • Your breath: Practicing meditation and deep breathing exercises — even for just a few minutes — can offer your mind and body great benefits 
  • Music: Build a playlist to help stay upbeat and positive and one to relax you when needed.
  • Joy: Look for opportunities to bring moments of joy to yourself and others by showing appreciation, telling jokes and watching funny movies.
  • Your coach (last, but certainly not least): An advisor coach can help you leverage opportunities, provide a sounding board, develop strategies for responding to the market volatility, plan communication with clients, practice using video or webinar technology, and offer best practices for working and managing remotely.

It’s likely that you’re feeling a lot of pressure right now from work and family under the current circumstances. In order for you to be present and effective, you need to take care of yourself — your teams and clients need a leader who is steadfast. They will be looking to you for your guidance and behavioral coaching. Your value and impact is critical.

The goal is not for you to feel the need to “own” your clients’ fears, but to be a trusted advisor who helps them navigate their journey and stay on course. Remember the famous saying: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”


Jessica Harrington, Carson CoachingJessica Harrington is an executive business coach at Carson Group.