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Balancing Mental Health at an Insurance Agency Disclaimer: Information in this article is observational in nature. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional mental health guidance. Please consult appropriate professionals and use the information in this article at your own risk.
Fortunately, the attention on mental health has increased in the workplace recently. Especially with all the hardship brought by the pandemic. Many employers and employees have come to realize the importance of mental wellbeing. It impacts both professional success and for individuals to improve their personal lives.
This importance of mental health rings true for insurance agencies too. Whether in a large agency or leading a small team, you need to find a happy medium between working and taking care of yourself.
“While we all need a certain amount of stress to spur us on and help us perform at our best, the key to managing stress lies in that one magic word: balance,” notes the nonprofit Mental Health America. Balance isn’t just good for your personal well-being. Mental Health America adds that balanced and happy workers “are more productive, take fewer sick days, and are more likely to stay in their jobs.”
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what balancing mental health at an insurance agency looks like so that you can improve how you feel at work and at home.
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What Does Balancing Mental Health at an Insurance Agency Look Like?
When figuring out how to balance mental health at an insurance agency, not everyone has the same approach.
“A healthy work-life balance will mean different things to us all. It’s not so much about splitting your time 50/50 between work and leisure but making sure you feel fulfilled and content in both areas of your life,” notes the UK-based Mental Health Foundation.
Insurance agents can have different preferences in terms of how they manage their time. What they want to do to support their mental health may vary. Some insurance agents might prefer to work in sprints. Where they enjoy periods of working more than usual to close some deals. After that they may need to take some time off to restore.
Meanwhile, other insurance agents might prefer to work more regular hours. Now they can reliably commit to things in their personal lives outside of work. Or they may want the flexibility to flow between work and personal obligations as needed.
The point is that balancing mental health at an insurance agency isn’t one-size-fits-all. Ask yourself what balance feels like to you. If you’re leading a team of other insurance agents, get their feedback too so you can try to construct an environment that suits everyone’s unique needs.
“Give employees opportunities to participate in decisions about issues that affect job stress,” advises the CDC.
5 Ways to Balance Mental Health at an Insurance Agency
Balancing mental health an insurance agency can look different from person to person, some general tips to consider include:
1) Free Up Time
If insurance agents feel overworked, it’s easy to feel stressed. Creating more free time can allow insurance agents to focus on more enjoyable areas of work. Or have more time for their personal lives. One strategy, according to the Mayo Clinic, is to avoid overscheduling. Putting too many appointments on your calendar and too many tasks on your to-do list can be overwhelming. So insurance agents should realistically approach how much they can accomplish.
That can also mean cutting out tasks by learning to say no, adds the Mayo Clinic. They adviset: “When you quit accepting tasks out of guilt or a false sense of obligation, you’ll have more time for activities that are meaningful to you.”
Finding ways to improve work efficiency can help too. Such as with InsurTech tools that cut down on what might otherwise be time-consuming tasks.
2) Look for Engaging Work
Try to look for more engaging work within your balanced approach. Not everyone enjoys the same type of work. The job of an insurance agent isn’t just one thing. You may be able to use that to your advantage at an insurance agency.
For example, you’re trying to become a more digital insurance agency. Getting active on social media might feel like pulling teeth for some agents. Others might love that type of work. For them tasks like onboarding clients might feel less engaging. So, you may be able to shift responsibilities around amongst colleagues. This way their work can feel more engaging.
Those who love social media, for instance, can now be more involved with setting the digital strategy for your agency. Setting up tools like employee advocacy platforms that can make it easier for other insurance agents to establish a social media presence. Meanwhile, those who prefer more operational work can lend a hand in areas like establishing onboarding processes. Now colleagues can easily implement those steps with clients.
Part of this sharing might depend on how your agency is structured. For those who typically work fairly independently within an agency, you may be able to find that you can make some fair trades with other agents. Now you can all focus more on what you enjoy.
Finding ways to allow insurance agents to focus on areas of work they find engaging can pay dividends. As Gallup research finds, career wellbeing is the most important among areas of wellbeing. This includes, social, financial, physical and community wellbeing. Moreover, “career wellbeing is the foundation for the other wellbeing elements. And employee engagement is the single biggest driver of career wellbeing,” notes Gallup.
3) Find Support
Another important aspect of balancing mental health at an insurance agency is providing agents the support that they need. This includes agencies communicating with employees about mental health benefits that the company offers. Benefits like counseling. If agents are aware of where they can turn to for support, they may be able to talk through current challenges. Then hopefully achieve new ways to establish a better balance.
Finding support can also come in the form of coworker interactions. Insurance agency leaders might try to facilitate employee interactions. Things like team-building events. So that agents build relationships with each other and expand their support systems. Agents also might make a more proactive effort on their own to connect with colleagues.
“Make daily connections with your co-workers. Remember that they are people too with exciting lives outside of the office. Talk with them. These mental health breaks will help everyone recharge and be ready for the next challenge,” says Mile High Psychiatry.
If you’re a solo agent, keep in mind that there can be other sources of support. You might connect with agents at other firms, or you might even build relationships with clients where you can talk about more than just insurance. That doesn’t mean you have to immediately divulge all your personal challenges. But if you’re talking to clients and how it’s been hard to find time to get everything done in their lives, you might be able to share how you relate to that feeling.
4) Focus on the Physical
Improving mental health can also mean focusing on areas like exercise. That’s because “doing something physical releases cortisol which helps us manage stress. Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times,” notes Mind, a UK mental health charity.
Mind does point out that exercise doesn’t always help everyone’s mental health or might not be as feasible for some people. But for others it could be something that supports mental wellbeing. So, insurance agencies might be able to offer perks like gym discounts or even offer things like yoga classes within offices. Insurance agents might use exercise as a way to also find support among colleagues. By finding other agents who enjoy participating in similar activities outside of work, like running, playing tennis, lifting weights, etc.
Other physical areas like sleep can also support mental health. Insurance agents should make sure they’re prioritizing that. Rather than working so much that they feel like they don’t have enough time for quality rest.
“Getting enough good-quality sleep is also important for effective stress management. Build healthy sleep habits by limiting your caffeine intake late in the day and minimizing stimulating activities, such as computer and television use, at night,” says the American Psychological Association.
5) Don’t Neglect Personal Interests
Lastly, insurance agents who can discover hobbies and make time for interests in their personal lives may feel better at work too.
“Schedule in time to ensure you have time to do the things that make you happy. If you’ve got no perks to look forward to and can only see a long line of work days ahead of you, this can easily become overwhelming and ultimately hinder your productivity,” says the University of Law in the UK.
This area ties into freeing up time, where turning down a work task may leave your schedule more open to focus on personal interests. In turn, that can make you more productive when you do get back to work, rather than getting burnt out. Also, insurance agents may be able to connect with one another and find support by discovering shared interests, whether that’s exercise, gardening, crafting, etc.
Overall, insurance agents and those who lead insurance agencies should try to figure out what balance means and remember that strong personal lives can go hand-in-hand with strong work performance. As these examples show, there are many approaches you can take to balance mental health, so you may want to try a few approaches and see what works best for your situation.