The times we're living in have been referred to by some as ‘the new normal' when really it feels anything but. If you're feeling anxious, you are certainly not alone.

Mental health across financial services is a topic that has moved up the global agenda. It's been reported that consistent and continuous regulatory change has exacerbated the mental health of advisers and that high levels of stress and anxiety are causing financial advisers to leave the industry.

Feeling stressed, anxious and low in mood are all common feelings and symptoms that can affect our mental health. Here are some things to try, which might help.

  • Establish a new routine
    When significant events, like the pandemic, throw routine out of the window, it can be hard to keep it all together. If you are yet to find your new routine, make it a priority. Psychologists say routines are the cornerstone of good mental health.

    Try to keep a structure in place for your day. This could involve getting up and dressed as if you are going to work - and encourage others in your home to maintain the 9-5. You could also start the day with some exercise, and use this as your mental ‘commute’ to work. See below for some ideas.
  • Maintain perspective
    Try to remember that difficult times won’t last forever. Journaling is a great way to untangle the countless thoughts that run through our heads. Writing them down helps declutter the mind and puts things in perspective and order.

    And while it’s important to stay up to date with the latest news, being exposed to large volumes of negative information can heighten feelings of anxiety. Limit social media use by restricting yourself to two 10-minute news touchpoints in the day and turn off your notifications.
  • Work at staying positive
    Try to regularly think about something positive that you are grateful for. Reflecting on at least one positive thing that has happened that day will help you maintain perspective and a positive attitude. Action for Happiness has put together a coping calendar with ideas to help you look after yourself and others.

Taking just a few minutes to sit and concentrate on your breath can do amazing things for your wellbeing during moments of anxiety.

  • Make time to exercise
    Exercise is a proven mood booster and it doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming to make a difference. A quick walk up the stairs in your house or building on your lunch break can be enough. If you have the time and are able to head outside, go for a walk, run or bike ride and feel the fresh air.

    Yoga is a great way to stretch out if you’re feeling stiff after a day working at the kitchen table. There are lots of different types of yoga from dynamic to gentle, so do your research first.
  • Breathe
    Taking just a few minutes to sit and concentrate on your breath can do amazing things for your wellbeing during moments of anxiety. Try a meditation app like Headspace, Calm and Thrive to learn the correct way to focus and breathe.
  • All in this together
    Volunteering is a proven boost to mental health, improves our sense of community and is extremely worthwhile in the current circumstances. So many places in the community need extra pairs of hands to help out so why not sign up and get that feel-good factor.
  • Life will go on
    Making a list of all the things you want to do will help you remember that your situation is only temporary. Whether it’s wanting to simply go for a picnic, have a barista make your favourite coffee or more elaborate plans, take some time to plan it out on a piece of paper. If nothing else it will remind you, when life is back at full speed, that it’s the simple things we do that really matter the most.

Help is out there

If you think your mental health is deteriorating and you are not coping, there is lots of help out there. Talk to a family member, friend, your doctor or counselling service such as Mind, The Samaritans, Crisis service Canada, SADAG and Lifelines in New Zealand. There are many other organisations just a google search away. Don't suffer alone.