When the chips are down, who can you rely on? Yourself, obviously. But this is also the time to tap into your wider network. While it’s great that you are speaking with clients and your staff every day, it’s also vital that you get the support that you need too. You might think that your spouse/flat-mate/kids are enough, but I’d caution against relying on them solely.
It’s looking like we’re going to be in this predicament for quite a while, and now is the time to be setting up good habits so you will come out the other end in good shape. In fact, feeling lonely (which isn’t about whether there are other people around you, but about how you feel) can have a really detrimental impact on your health. Loneliness has been scientifically linked to premature death as well as poor physical and mental health. And unfortunately, men tend to suffer from loneliness at a far greater rate than women, which means the average financial adviser might be struggling right now.
So what to do? First, write a list of people you can call for a chat. You may well find that there are only a handful of people that you feel comfortable calling. That’s OK. We’re not talking about a list of thousands, just a few people that you’re comfortable talking to. And while you might not consider yourself a ‘chatty’ person, it’s still really worth touching base with people outside your immediate vicinity.
Second, aim for one phone call or video session each day. If you’re like me, you may well need to schedule them in. In fact, when you are under considerable stress (like now, probably) your short term memory will likely be struggling, so don’t rely on ‘each day I’ll call someone’. Put it in your diary.
If you have kids at home, it’s important to make sure they do the same. Humans are social animals (even the introverts among us) and we can slowly slide into misery without really realising until things are very difficult. Much better to head it off and get good habits going from the start.
When it comes to making and keeping connections, texting or email is good but picking up the phone or jumping on zoom is a whole lot better. I realise your average teenager won’t believe you but it’s true. And anyway, we’re going for real connection and not witty screen dialogue, memes and emojis. Hearing someone’s voice tells you a lot more about how they are than words on a screen.
On a more positive note, now is a great time to reconnect with old friends too. Most people are now at home, which means we’re not commuting. So that’s an hour back right there. And if you’ve let your cleaner go (I know, first world problems right?) then why not call someone to say hello when you’re doing the washing up.
The next few months (or maybe even the rest of this year) are going to be very challenging in so many ways. Keeping up those connections with the outside world will be absolutely key to coming out the other end successfully. And who knows, you might just end up with some stronger relationships because of it.