Help Yourself to Help Others
It would be an understatement to say that 2020 has been a year of adversity and change – two things that most humans struggle to accept at the best of times.
We currently find ourselves faced with the biggest changes this generation is likely to see. For some, the requirement to isolate away from family and friends will have less of a personal impact than their extroverted counterparts will endure. However, it’s safe to say that all of us have struggled with the uncertainty surrounding our health, finances, employment status and social interactivity.
As property managers, it’s not a tongue-in-cheek statement to say we sometimes play the role of confidants, accountants, cleaners, counsellors and many more. We all knew that was part of the role when we signed up, and it’s something many of us enjoy doing. However, it’s important to know when it’s time to hand some of those more critical roles – like counselling – to a trained professional.
It comes as no surprise that the trauma of a global pandemic can incite reactions that can range from mild anxiety to more serious mental health outcomes. I want to share something that happened to me recently as a property manager – and something I wasn’t entirely prepared for it. While I’ve dealt with similar scenarios in the past (perhaps even worse cases), I was able to comprehend and work through the situation thanks to some mindful practices I’ve adopted over the past couple of years.
I was notified of a disturbance at a property I manage. I’ve been in the industry for the best part of 20 years, so this isn’t my first rodeo – I’ve dealt with it many in my time – but the context of this noise complaint was vastly different. Upon contacting the tenants in question, I wasn’t confronted with rebuttal or defiance, but instead with bravery and some absolute heartbreaking truths. The tenant, a young woman in her mid-20s has lost her job and is grappling with the pain of social isolation and having no financial security. Sadly, these emotions led to her constantly screaming when alone, as well as self-harming. She told me that she couldn’t explain why, but these behaviours were the only thing that made her feel calm or relieved. The good news is that police attended the property and arranged an ambulance and she was organising a mental health plan – a step in the right direction. Was my tenant brave to talk to me about this? You bet she was.
That said, was I in the right mindset to deal with this information? Admittedly, I wasn’t. While I have the ability to be empathetic, I took this call a lot harder than anything in the past. Why? Because this could have been me, a family member or a friend. The reality is that as we all adjust to our new normal during COVID-19, any one of us could find ourselves in despair – and any property manager could be on the receiving end of some upsetting phone calls.
After this incident, I took to Google to research not only what I can do as a property manager to ensure I don’t make matters worse, but how I can shield myself from such traumatic events without losing my sensitivity. While my questions weren’t answered easily, I did discover some useful resources available for those who are suffering with mental illness. This link is just one of many that I found that will take you to the fact sheets on the different types of symptoms and mental illnesses a person may be enduring.
Resources such as these can be helpful to you if you’re affronted with a call like mine – it equips you with a place to direct the caller. This information is also a good read for us property managers too, who are undoubtedly feeling the strains and stresses of COVID-19.
Here are my five take away tips to help you get through this current crisis:
1. Reach out and keep connected: Just because we’re physically isolated, it doesn’t mean we can’t connect, embrace technology, have digital catch ups, phone a friend or write letters. If you’re struggling with work-related issues, reach out to your colleagues or if you’re an REIQ member, call the Property Management Support Service on 1300 MYREIQ.
2. Do things you enjoy: Try something new, learn a language or do something that used to bring you happiness that you normally wouldn’t have time for.
3. Get moving: Exercise produces those feel-good endorphins!
4. Eat well: Healthy food isn’t just good for our insides; it can also be a bit of fun for experimenting with new recipes.
5. Get some Vitamin D: Discover your backyard and soak up some sunshine (in a skin safe manner, of course). Vitamin D not only fights disease, but reduces feelings of depression too.
6. Ask for help. If you or anyone you know needs help, reach out to one of the following services:
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
- Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
- Headspace on 1800 650 890
- ReachOut at reachout.com
Keeping yourself mentally strong during this time will not only be immensely helpful for yourself, but critical when faced with the challenges of your tenants and clients during COVID-19.
REIQ Members seeking further advice on this topic or any other area of property management can call the PMSS Team on 1300MYREIQ (1300 697 347) or email email@example.com. Not a member? Join us today!