Even before COVID-19, mental health was regularly in the news and without doubt, there’s previously been plenty of focus on “talking”, with adverts on TV to “Get Britain Talking” but actually, I feel it’s been neglected somewhat of late. The pandemic has exacerbated feelings of loneliness, people feel there’s no enjoyment in life and not being able to socialise with friends has had tremendous impact, not to mention only being able to converse with family members over Zoom or the old-fashioned telephone. I’ve definitely noticed COVID’s mental effects on my clients and I’ve been affected by it too.
While I am always at the end of a Zoom call – lots of my clients don’t realise that I can do much more than advise on financial products. I’m not only an IFA, but I’m also a Life-Planner, and member of the KINDER Institute. That means that my job is very much people-focused, it’s not just selling a financial plan or advising people on how to manager their finances better. I want to help; I want to make life good for you – not just give you options on how to improve your finances. So, this week, I’m making my blog all about you.
Only last week, I had a very dear client of mine in her late sixties on a Zoom call. She’s been sorely affected by the pandemic and told me that as she’s on her own, she can go for weeks without speaking to another person! Even though lockdown is lifting, she’s scared to go out and the past 12 months has resulted in insomnia, nightmares when she does sleep and subsequent mood swings, probably due to lack of sleep and the constant worry of catching COVID.
Luckily, I was there at the end of Zoom for her. She’d booked a half an hour call which extended to 45 minutes and at the end of the call, she said she felt so much lighter! She asked if she could call me again – just to chat – in a few months and of course, I agreed. I want to extend that to you too. Another of my clients lost her husband from COVID-19, I’ve spent quite a bit of time counselling her. While I’m not professionally trained, sometimes, hearing a friendly voice makes a world of difference. If you’re feeling down, fed up or miss having a chat, don’t forget that I am available to put the world to rights, just book a call with me here. We don’t even need to mention finance!
With mental health firmly in mind this week, I spent some time Googling stress and COVID and came across a new term. There is a name for it, Post Pandemic Stress Disorder and this will doubtless become more widespread as we exit lockdown, and we notice all the worry we’ve bottled up for so long spilling out. While the pandemic has been scary enough, going out and returning to some semblance of normality is also quite a feat of strength. Getting in the car a couple of days ago to drive to my second jab appointment, I was overwhelmed with nerves. I’m a good driver, but I haven’t been in the car for months and all the cars on the road panicked me! Then, I arrived at the hospital and found myself in a room of 50 people – we’ve been told to avoid people for so long because of the dangers, it completed unnerved me.
One good tip which I discovered is taking real time out. About three weeks ago, the weather was really bad, so I found myself immersed in work because there wasn’t much else to do. I was working 10 or 12 hour days and one day, I found myself quite literally shaking. I stopped work. I took myself into the garden and focused on doing something else. I started to potter around and sow seeds to grow vegetables. It was therapeutic so now, if I feel it’s just too much, I take a proper break and tend to my now blooming garden!
I would like to end this blog by thanking you all. I’ve had incredibly positive feedback from my clients with so many compliments that I blush when I read them. You also kindly voted for me as a top financial advisor and I was yet again listed for the fourth year running in the Sunday Times, as one of the top financial advisors in the UK. You can see that information here amongst my downloadable guides (they’re useful too, if you want to have a browse). Thanks for voting for me, it’s hugely appreciated.
Finally, I’ve added some useful links below that might be worth looking at if what I’m talking about resonates with you. Don’t ignore your mental health – take action, look at the links, book a call with me and share your concerns. While I am an authority on finance, as a Life Planner, I regard all of my clients as friends, not business. Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved.
Useful Websites and Helplines
Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.
Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI – this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).
Okrehab.org offers guidance and support on their website for people experiencing problems with substance misuse and co-occurring mental health problems.