Though you may make it look easy, selling real estate isn’t a walk in the park.
The uncontrollable financial nature of the industry and the unpredictability of buyers and sellers can tax even the best agents. Texts, emails, and voicemail interrupt and distract. From maintaining your blog to posting on social media to creating email campaigns and attending chamber meetings, marketing and networking demands seem to taking up valuable time.
…not to mention new listings, new clients, more referrals, open house presentations, showings, purchase and sale agreements, closings, etc.
Even in a strong economy an inventory shortage and rising interest rates can begin to feel like a personal assault.
Long hours lead to short tempers. Disappointments become disagreements at the office and at home. Like doctors, Realtors® can get a call they can’t refuse. When the demands of the job outweigh the rewards and the hard work you usually enjoy becomes nothing more than hard work, you’re burned out.
Recognizing the signs and taking the right steps to address burnout are critical in any occupation. For full-time real estate agents in particular, burnout can prove fatal to your career — or even worse, to marriages and relationships with family and friends.
Ways to Recognize Burnout and Get Back on Track
Burnout manifests in a number of ways — some physical, some mental.
It can be a sense of lost control, a fatigue the borders on exhaustion, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and loss of appetite. It can erode your self-confidence, making you moody and argumentative. The symptoms of burnout — the physical and mental exhaustion that arises when the demands of your work are greater than the energy you have to do it — can make you feel like you’re in a downward spiral.
Turn-off and tune-out
- Get rest. Slow down and try to free yourself up to get some much-needed rest and relaxation.
- Vacation. It may not be convenient (when is it ever?) but a change of scenery can make all the difference. A week at the beach or a mountain retreat can give you the distance and rest you need to sort things out, regain control, and go back to work revitalized.
- Exercise. Whether it’s long walks, swimming, biking, or a few hours at the gym each day, exercise rejuvenates the mind by naturally increasing serotonin levels, which can help you sleep better and think more clearly.
- Meditate. Regular mindfulness or other forms of meditation have been proven to relieve tension and decrease stress.
- Eat healthy. Busy schedules lead to bad eating habits. Fresh fruits, leafy green salads, seafood and other healthy eating can get you back in shape, improve sleeping, and renew energy.
- Go tech-free. Give yourself a break from your computer and smartphone. When you go tech-free, you avoid the interruptions and distractions. Your mind has time to think, or even better — wander.
- Reconnect. Nothing is more relaxing than spending quality time with those you love. Avoid work conversation. Instead, play games, hike, or just spend quiet time with friends and family.
Alternatives if you can’t take time off
There are other options for those who think they don’t have the time to take time off.
- If you have to continue to work, work smart, not hard.
- Set parameters for yourself and stick to them. That means take breaks and delegate if you can.
- Exercise and healthy food can be worked in to your daily schedule.
- Taking some time for yourself to pursue other interests can make a big difference when it comes time to shift your focus back on work.
Stress is a fact of life for the busy Realtor®. Even for those who are experienced and well-organized, the job demands a certain kind of spontaneity, and a willingness to always go with the flow is necessary for success. The unexpected is a daily, sometimes hourly, occurrence that requires flexibility, patience, and stamina.
The best sales professionals can take the demands of their job in stride most of the time. Some even find the haphazard nature of their work exhilarating. But eventually, even those individuals find their breaking point. Burnout is something that can happen multiple times in the life of a Realtor® — don’t pretend it can’t happen to you during this busy season and take care of yourself.