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Evidence-based strategies can make all the difference to brokers’ mental wellbeing – poll result

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  • 06/04/2021
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Evidence-based strategies can make all the difference to brokers’ mental wellbeing – poll result
The pandemic has brought much additional stress to the lives of brokers — from increased workload to working from home to disconnection from colleagues to maintaining physical and mental wellbeing. 

 

Mortgage Solutions’ latest poll found 44.8 per cent of brokers rated their current state of wellness as “I’ve been better, but getting by.”

The cohort of brokers who said “I’m doing well,” represented 31.2 per cent of poll respondents.

However, 24 per cent of brokers indicated on the poll that, “every day is a struggle.” 

Dr Kate Daley, psychology lead at the workplace mental health platform Unmind, said it’s important to remember that what we are going through is really hard and it’s okay to feel affected by it.

“The pandemic has put our whole person under strain – the psychological, physical and personal. It’s important not to be too hard on ourselves, especially if you’re struggling. There are strategies you can use to help, and also professional support out there if needed.”

Unmind provides a platform for employees to help identify and manage different aspects of workplace wellbeing. Its clients include John Lewis and the National Health Service.

The platform includes a questionnaire that rates different areas of wellbeing like sleep, mood, calmness and anxiety levels.

There is a mood monitor, letting people track changes in mood over time and become more aware of what is affecting their mood in different ways.

The platform provides techniques and tools for managing wellbeing in the here and now. And there is a series of self-development programmes, which cover topics from procrastination to imposter syndrome to low mood to managing worry or burnout.

“On the platform, during the pandemic, we are seeing reductions in calmness, sleep and fulfilment, and increases in worry and tension. Clinically, there are higher levels of burnout,” Daley said.

 

Evidence-based tools

She added that simple techniques like three minutes’ worth of deep breathing can make all the difference. 

“Breathing, mindfulness, self-care – it can sound wishy-washy, but it’s not all about chocolate cake and bubble baths. It’s evidence-based.

“Deep breaths in and out for three minutes can activate the parasympathetic nervous system which calms you down in moments of panic.

“The sympathetic system pumps up the body ready for action, to escape a predator or fight it. It’s characterised by high heart-rate, shortness of breath, sweating and racing thoughts. By activating the parasympathetic system you slow that down,” Daley said.

“That gives you a bit of distance from those thoughts and feelings and makes them easier to manage.”

Other techniques for managing wellbeing can be quite practical, such as making a decision to set boundaries about workload. 

“The three main things that affect mood are doing things for pleasure, which you enjoy, things for achievement, which are often work or exercise, and connection. During the pandemic, a lot of connection has been lost, which can lead to a drop in mood and rise in anxiety. Staying connected is another practical thing people can do,” Daley said.

Unmind’s philosophy is underpinned by the idea that it’s important to get the right help at the right time. 

“Small interventions at an early stage can prevent issues leading to bigger problems later on. We focus on being proactive, and look to prevention.”

Daley added that the Samaritans are available to help people in crisis, while a GP can signpost lots of different support services, including NHS and private therapies.

“What we are going through is really hard and it’s okay to be feeling low. There are strategies you can use to help, and professional support is out there if needed,” she said.

Unmind offers a series of free webinars, with the latest on Life After Lockdown.

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