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How to deal with career stress

Working in real estate is not for the faint of heart. Every day brings something new and challenging. It can also bring a load of stress. The unpredictable income, demanding people and wonky hours can be tough. Add in the competitiveness of the industry and it’s a minefield. CareerCast, a job-listing website that maintains a database of job listings from Canada and the U.S., says real estate agents have one of the most stressful jobs (compared to over 200 other professions). Let’s tackle how to deal with all that stress.

Brian Danyliw

Brian Danyliw

Brian Danyliw, managing partner for the British Columbia and Calgary areas of The Agency, finds that being an agent can certainly be stressful at times. “To help myself relax, I do a few different things. First, I am very careful about my work-life balance so I can avoid getting overwhelmed, but even then there are times it can be unavoidable. On most days, whether in a stressful situation or not, I take time to meditate. I use an app and it takes me back to centre quickly. I also like to go out in my boat and fish. The ocean is always a calming influence for me. Overall it is important to listen to my body. If I’m tensed up, I make sure to do some deep breathing and stay conscious of relaxing my body.”

Moving may be the ideal way to deal with stress. We all know that exercise is not only good for your body but also a release for your mind. Figure out what activity you enjoy and do it. Whether you practice yoga, go to the gym, hike, go dancing or something else, make it a priority. The Mayo Clinic webpage Healthy Lifestyle: Stress Management says, “Virtually any form of exercise can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management.”

Maria Tsiaousidis

Maria Tsiaousidis

Maria Tsiaousidis, a sales rep at Re/Max Ultimate Realty in Toronto, found what works for her to destress.

“As a real estate agent I work seven days a week, (and) late nights preparing and negotiating multiple offers, especially in Toronto where the demand is high and supply is low. In order to be able to provide the best advice, recommendations and negotiate effectively, I find it extremely important to take time out of my day to decompress and release some of the stress. I love baking, so I regularly bake at home with my daughters. It takes me away from my career in real estate while doing something I enjoy. I take an hour a day, which focuses on me. It’s one hour uninterrupted. No calls, no emails, no texts. Time away from the business. If you’re feeling stressed, you can’t give 100 per cent to your clients.”

Sometimes taking a break from real estate is the best thing you can do to combat stress. Getting away from work for a few days or a week can help you refocus and return ready to tackle anything. If you can only manage a 30-minute break, that is better than nothing. But try to book that weekend getaway.

Steven Hill

Steven Hill

Steven Hill, an associate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty in Calgary, says, “A life and career in real estate is rife with scenarios that require insight, balance, experience and instinct, to name a few. Day in and day out, reaching consistent levels of success means being really good at it all, which isn’t easy. But managing stressful situations is a daily requirement because clients’ lives hang in the balance, and they trust me to be their guide. There are no shortcuts. Actually being an expert in the areas of real estate practise is essential. I study my old curriculum and specialist designation(s) materials often.

“Then there is the lifestyle balance component. My wife and I work together and we wake up early and work out, then see the boys off to school and hit the ground running. Preparation can do a lot to alleviate stress. Healthy foods and a lens of gratitude round out the picture nicely.”

Figure out what causes you the most stress and make a plan to combat it. The thought of listing presentations giving you sleepless nights? Prepare and then prepare some more so you feel more confident (and therefore less stressed) when you walk into the presentation. All the driving you do for work giving you gray hair? Figure out how to ease your time on the road. You get the picture.

More agents share what they do to deal with their work stress:

  • I keep a board on my wall filled with notes and cards from other agents and clients; looking at it reminds me that I can get through the rough times
  • I swim 100 laps a day, every day
  • I go shopping but not for myself, for others; thinking of others in this way brightens my day and takes me away from my work stress
  • Playing with my dog is the best stress reliever
  • I never put anything off – if I do, it usually turns into an even bigger stressor
  • I make sleep a priority
  • I take stress-reducing supplements, mainly CBD oil and valerian
  • I put fun non-work activities on my schedule and make them non-negotiable
  • I focus on being mindful and doing one thing at a time instead of multitasking
  • It’s a skill that took awhile to develop but I now ask for help when I need it
  • Breathe – few of us know how to breathe properly but it’s a great stress reducer

Stress is inevitable when you work in real estate so having a stress-reduction action plan is essential. Figure out what works for you and make it happen!