The housing market has definitely taken a beating in many parts of the country over the last year. When just a couple years ago record numbers of people were entering the real estate industry, today many of those same people are leaving the business because they’re unable to make a stable living. As the economy struggles to get back on its feet, there are things you can do to keep yourself in the industry that you love, and maintain some semblance of peace while doing so.
A little bit of stress can be invigorating, like when you take on a new client who has a difficult property to sell. While you may feel a bit overwhelmed at first, soon your creative juices start flowing, and you see this task as a challenge to overcome. You’re able to figure out innovative ways to market the property, and learn a few lessons along the way. This is positive stress.
Negative stress comes when there is a constant stream of challenging situations, and little sense of control and stability. Right now news headlines declare that foreclosure rates are skyrocketing, property values are plummeting, and that we’re in heading into a recession. This can make anyone feel scared and unsure about her future in this industry. There is a looming sense of dread and unknowing, and this can lead to agents becoming burnt out very quickly.
Of course the more stress you’re under, the more you feel the effects physically. Fatigue, headaches, and depression can take hold, which only exacerbates the problem. If you’re tired all the time, your ability to think creatively is negated by your physical and mental exhaustion. Your inability to look at things in a more positive light makes it harder to come up with innovative solutions to problems, which then leads to poor performance and less income. Naturally this leads to more depression, and the cycle continues.
To get off this hamster wheel, you need to take care of your mental health at all times, not just when the market is slow. Get into the habit of taking time for hobbies and family activities, as these distractions will help re-energize you in the workplace. Get outside as much as possible, as sunlight is known to have positive effects on mood. Being around nature, even if it’s just a small city park, will work wonders on your mood, and will help your brain to reboot.
Exercise is a classic stress reducer, so be sure to move a little bit every day. This can include activities such as golf and racquetball, salsa dancing lessons, or walks on the beach. As long as you are active, your brain pumps out stress relieving endorphins, which will improve your mood throughout the day, as well as keep your immune system functioning well.
In the office, try to have plants around. They not only emit fresh oxygen into the room, but they also help to make you feel more connected with nature. In addition, the sound of a fountain or aquarium in the background can also be very soothing and aesthetically pleasing. If you can, bring in pictures or ornaments that make you happy. One woman in the industry keeps a miniature Zen garden at her desk, complete with a smiling Buddha figurine. Every time she gets stressed, she looks at the Buddha’s jovial little face, and instantly feels calmer.
Little steps can add up to big changes. Exercising, getting outside, and making sure that you have a fulfilling life outside of work will help you immensely when it comes to dealing with stress. Other ideas include journaling, getting regular massages, or surrounding your home with nice smelling candles and classical music. All these simple things can all help shift your brain from being in a state of fight-or-flight, to being receptive and calm.
Once you’re able to block out some of the work stress, you will be able to look at the present market conditions as being a challenge that you can rise to. The more breathing space that you give your brain, the more exciting ideas and innovating selling techniques it will give you in return.