If you guys are anything like me, then the negative effects brought on by isolation are probably getting to you. This quarantine has driven me into periods of great productivity and innovation, and then crashed me into a brick wall, face-first. I often find myself slipping into periods of procrastination (including, but not limited to, writing this very article).
Between juggling the demands of home-schooling the kids, keeping my team of 10 agents engaged and financially stable, cooking a thousand times this month, managing a marriage in a pressure cooker and handling my personal production, I find myself needing my therapist now more than ever.
Mental health in this industry is a topic we all know we should talk about, but rarely ever do. It’s clouded by our need for greatness, performance and a stigma that if someone smells weakness, they’ll come in for the kill quickly.
We can’t keep sweeping this under a rug. So, I reached out to Dr. Beatriz Craven, who’s a psychologist and an old high school friend, for some guidance on what she’s seeing in her practice and how we can be more mindful to avoid those peaks and valleys of productivity.
What is a ‘window of tolerance’?
During our conversation, Dr. Craven spoke about one major psychological principle — the window of tolerance. She described it is a circle that we, as human beings, thrive inside. Typically, people are “best able to cope with stressors and triggers when they’re operating within their window of tolerance,” according to National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM).
Everyone’s window of tolerance size depends on the person. Dr. Craven said that, in the past few months, she’s been seeing a lot of patients in a state of hyper-arousal (the area above the window of tolerance) or hypo-arousal (the area below) due to stressors brought on by the pandemic.
As real estate professionals, it’s important for us to understand that right now, a lot of people are outside their window of tolerance. There are so many unknowns and unfamiliar stressors. Therefore, we have to be kind to one another — now more than ever.
How can we stay within our window of tolerance?
The other important thing is to understand what our personal triggers are so that we can keep our minds cool, calm and collected and bring ourselves back inside our window of tolerance. For example, symptoms of hyper-arousal include irritability, tension, shoulder and jaw tension, and the constant spinning of ideas in your head.
Adversely, if you’re in a state of hypo-arousal, you might be experience feelings of depression, numbness, dissociation, escapism and alcohol abuse.
Dr. Craven advised us to learn what our “signal cry” is and use that as our sign to try to get back into your window of tolerance. She suggests doing what feels comforting or familiar. Perhaps that’s taking a walk alone outside and connecting with nature, talking it out with friends, practicing breathing exercises, or just doing something nice for yourself.
Only you know what gets you back into your window of tolerance. Being mindful of your state of being is so important to the health of your business — but most importantly yourself.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, seek out the assistance of a counselor, therapist or other mental health providers. Even during the pandemic, there are resources available for low-cost therapy sessions. You can search online for options or check out the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, which includes a number of resources.
Remember: There are people (some of whom may even be your colleagues) across the nation who feel the same way you do. You are never a burden to those around you. If you feel like there isn’t anyone around who understands, you can write to me. I promise to write back.
Nicole is the founder and team leader at True Houston Real Estate– a Side partner. Nicole’s team has obtained monumental success and growth in the Houston Market with their trendy marketing techniques. And enviable team/office culture. Connect with Nicole on Facebook or Instagram.
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