“Get over the guilt,” Delia Passi told female attendees at Coldwell Banker’s “Portraits of What Moves Her” virtual speaker series on Wednesday.
Passi is the founder and chief mission officer of Women’s Choice Award, a company that identifies the best brands and companies empowering women, and was formerly the publisher of Working Woman and Working Mother magazines. (Coldwell Banker was recently awarded a Women’s Choice Award for the second year in a row.)
On Wednesday, Passi spoke to real estate agents about how to combat stress, stay healthy and accept the inherent imbalances of work-life balance to position themselves for success, despite a global pandemic. The presentation was the fourth talk in Coldwell Banker’s “Portraits of What Moves Her” speaker series, which has been running once a month since May and has tackled other topics catered to women real estate professionals like “Taking Control of Your Career” and “Overcoming Obstacles.”
Although the world has started to see hope for an end to the pandemic with recent developments in vaccines, Passi noted that everyone needs strategies to get through these challenging times.
“This too shall pass, but we need coping skills,” Passi said. “Otherwise, so many things will just crumble.”
Read on for Passi’s tips for prioritizing wellness during this uncertain time — and always.
1. Practice box breathing
Passi started her discussion by leading a box breathing exercise. To practice box breathing, clear your mind, and think about your life’s happiest moment and all the accompanying sensations you experienced with it.
Then breathe in from your stomach for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, release your breath for four seconds, and then allow your lungs to rest for four seconds without inhaling again. The practice helps lower your blood pressure and get you refocused.
2. Practice mindfulness
Staying present in the moment through mindfulness also helps with focus and productivity. Being mindful helps you appreciate every moment and not become overwhelmed by all the big and little things going on in your life.
3. Identify what causes your stress
Passi said that just identifying what causes you stress in general, and during a particularly stressful moment, can help alleviate the stress. Because stress is measured on a very personal level, only you can identify how to effectively deal with it, and the first step is acknowledging what that stress is.
4. Practice self-awareness
Understanding one’s own physical reaction to stress can also be helpful in combating it. Once you understand your reaction to stress, Passi said, you can proactively meet that reaction and determine the best course of action for yourself and those around you to mitigate the stress.
5. Forget about work-life balance
“There is no such thing as balance,” Passi said. “That is life.”
At any given time in one’s life — and particularly in a professional woman’s life — Passi said the work-life balance pendulum can swing in any direction. But, don’t expect to achieve a perfect balance, advice she catered particularly to mothers who might feel guilty either for spending too much time at work or spending too much time caring for her kids.
“It’s like a loan payment,” Passi said. “Sometimes you spend more, sometimes you have more money coming in.”
6. Create a schedule that works for you
Passi said she likes to plan out her day the night before and highlight priority items that will bring her closest to her goals. However, others might have different scheduling strategies. Go with what helps you work best.
7. Ask for help when you need it
In her 30s, Passi said she used to avoid asking for help in both her personal and professional lives. But as she’s matured, she hasn’t been bashful about asking for help in either realm when she needs it, and says it’s her “go-to thing” now.
8. Keep a journal or two
Passi has a habit of writing down her challenges or stressors before bed and then writing possible solutions next to them to put her mind at ease before she goes to sleep.
But, she also encouraged agents to keep a gratitude journal where they could note things that happened during the day for which they’re grateful. “It helps with connecting with yourself,” Passi said.
9. Take a mental break during the day
If Passi doesn’t take a coffee and cookie break at 3 p.m. during the workday, she goes crazy.
“Know when you need to physically take that little break,” she said. Just a few minutes looking away from the computer screen will help you refresh and re-energize.
10. Prioritize ‘me time’
“There’s so much positive in saying ‘no,’” Passi said. Over-committing will hurt you and others if you can’t fully deliver on a promise. Passi said, in saying “no,” you are probably empowering someone else with an opportunity to get the job done well. It’s important to schedule time for yourself to switch off and recharge.
11. Don’t forget about your physical health
After battling breast cancer, Passi said she realized the importance of fueling your immune system with the right foods to keep your body and mind healthy and strong.
“We need to be mentally and physically fit in order to be successful,” Passi said. “You need to make your life like you’re training for a marathon … we have to train every day.”
12. Be your own best friend
“Don’t be your worst enemy, be your best friend,” Passi advised. When the going gets tough, beating yourself up about not being able to get everything done, or not being perfect, won’t help. Self-care is also about self-acceptance, and allowing yourself to “not be attractive all the time.”