GUEST COLUMN: The Hats We Wear

We are a lot of things for a lot of people, separately and all together. With such intense connections, we are bound to get caught on the ride of some of our clients' life rollercoasters.

Kenyatta Jones-Arietta
Kenyatta Jones-Arietta

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you when I say, as real estate professionals, we wear many different hats. We are a lot of things for a lot of people, separately and all together. Unlike most other professions, due to the close proximity to our clients’ everyday lives, some of the people we serve become our friends and others we may even regard as family. With such intense connections, we are bound to get caught on the ride of some of our client’s life rollercoasters.

Between births, deaths, marriages, divorces, engagements, graduations and retirements, we can experience extreme highs and lows at any given moment and maybe within minutes of each other. This can all be a lot to process, especially when trying to maintain your own sense of self and having enough of you left emotionally for you and your own family.

With the high emotional pull, it’s no surprise that a lot of agents become drained, experience mental fatigue and burnout. The best way to keep work-related stresses at bay without hanging up your real estate top hat is to implement systems and practices that assist with stress management.

The following are six things you can do to help safeguard yourself from emotional exhaustion.

Set Boundaries: Clearly define your working hours and communication boundaries. Let clients know when you are available and resist the urge to respond to work-related matters outside of those predetermined times. I know it’s not always easy to do. I, too, find myself struggling with responding to a client’s e-mail while out to dinner with the family, but you become better with it over time.

Prioritize Self-Care: Make self-care a priority in your routine with regular breaks, exercise, and by engaging in activities that bring you joy. If you like working out, add that “gym appointment” to your calendar for the same time/days each week. It takes around 21 days to create a habit, so commit to the routine for at least a month and eventually you will find it to be almost second nature.

Practice Empathy Without Absorption: Be empathetic to your clients’ needs, but avoid absorbing their emotional stress. Try to maintain a professional distance to prevent carrying their emotional burden. This definitely takes practice to be able to do. Some situations are undoubtedly going to pierce your emotional armor, but it is important to maintain some distance to ensure you don’t bleed out.

Reflect Regularly: Take time to reflect on your emotional state and assess whether any specific clients or situations are consistently draining you. Identifying patterns can help you manage or adjust your approach. No transaction should be so intense that its involvement makes you want to hang up your license. If you find yourself in a position that is overwhelming for you, speak with your broker and/or mentor to find ways to pull away a bit, but still be able to service the client. If there is no way to do so, don’t be afraid to let them go. Your mental health is much more important than the commission.

Seek Support: Whether it be with a therapist, colleague, friend, or mentor, talking about your challenges can provide valuable insights and emotional support. Sometimes getting things out can help you with processing. I’ve also found journaling to be extremely helpful. Go to your local bookstore and scroll through the various covers to find one that you feel connected to and write to your heart’s content. Rereading after some time has passed can also assist you in seeing clear solutions.

Practice Stress-Relief Techniques: Incorporating stress-relief techniques into your routine, such as mindfulness exercises, meditation, or deep breathing, can assist with managing emotional drains. Try using apps like “Happify” or “Calm” to assist in boosting your mental well-being. If all else fails, turn on some music and dance.

Even with these suggestions there are going to be some situations that occur that leave you feeling as though you wish you could do more and during those times, you really want to make sure you tap into your support systems. Remember, you can only control what you can control and taking on guilt for things that you don’t have the power over helps no one.

Don’t be afraid to take your hat off and let your hair down for a while. Not only is it ok to do so, but it’s also strongly encouraged.

Kenyatta Jones-Arietta

Kenyatta Jones-Arietta is the Broker/Owner of R2M Realty, Inc., licensed in NY, NJ and CT. R2M (Ready to Move) Realty was launched in 2014 and has two offices in Rockland County.

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