Manage Your Mental Health with These Tips and Tools | Chicago Association of REALTORS®

Your health is your most valuable asset. If you don’t have your health, everything else in life falls to the wayside. We hosted a webinar back in May to talk all things stress management and mental wellness, from which we’ve compiled some tips for how to recognize when you or others may need help, how to manage your mental health and tools to help you get started with your mental health journey, so you can better prioritize your mental wellness now and in the future.

Manage Your Mental Health

As your mental health affects how you approach your day, it’s important to manage it as best you can. Here are some ways to manage your mental health and tools to help you succeed.

Time Management

Appropriately separating your personal and professional time will help immensely with your mental health. Allocating time for each will ensure you do not experience burnout at work and that you are not taking your friendships and relationships for granted.

One of the best ways to ensure you are managing your time effectively is to establish boundaries and timelines. Set aside specific time that you want to spend with your family. While working from home, it’s easy to establish lunch and dinner as time that you will put work aside and focus on your loved ones. In that regard, also let your kids and other family members know when you specifically plan on working and what that looks like. Whether that signal is a closed door or headphones on, let those around you know what to look for when you need the time to focus solely on work.

When it comes to your personal life, it’s important to wake up each morning with purpose and intention. Don’t let the day come at you — make sure you have a plan in place. Part of this should include a morning routine. Don’t allow yourself to check your work emails or messages right away. Instead, take the time to journal, meditate and have a cup of coffee and breakfast before you begin working.


One of the worst things I see REALTORS® do — before they get out of bed, they’ve got their phone pulled up. They’re checking email, checking texts, and they give themselves a panic attack before they’ve even gotten out of bed.” — Bobbi Howe


A pro tip to start your workday is to complete the tasks that you don’t like doing first thing, so you aren’t dreading them all day and can knock them out right away.

It’s also important to show others how you want to be treated professionally. If you are answering work emails, calls or texts early in the morning or late in the evening, you are signaling to your clients that this behavior is acceptable, and that they can always expect to reach you at those times. Be clear with clients, both new and old, about when and how they can reach you. Creating these boundaries keeps us safe and sane.


Stop judging your insides by other people’s outsides. Step away from social media. Put a limit on how much Facebook you do. People are so divided — being in the midst of their angst brings more angst into your life. Step away from that — and know that you don’t always see what’s beneath the surface.” — Bobbi Howe


TOOLS TO USE: The app Remember the Milk is a consolidation and time management lifesaver. This tool is compatible with your phone, Gmail, Outlook and more. It allows you to sync all of the apps together in one spot to keep track of your schedule and tasks, and it sends reminders wherever you are. You can also share lists and tasks with others, like teammates or your family, to keep everyone on track and in the know.

Exercise

Research shows that when your brain gets more oxygen, it releases endorphins and lowers your blood pressure, helping to regulate your body and lower your anxious or depressed moods. This makes working out incredibly important for those struggling with mental health.

Use your exercise time as a way to focus and relieve stress. This means no multi-tasking! Turn off your phone or electronic watch reminders, stay off social media and use this time as “me time.”


Use exercise to actually relieve your stress; don’t multitask while you’re exercising. [Use it as] your ‘me time.’ When the brain is getting more oxygen, you’re releasing endorphins and lowering your blood pressure. If the workout you’re doing is not working — change it up.” — Shirley Lytle


If the monotony of working out hinders you from doing it, make sure to change up your routine. If you had a personal trainer, you wouldn’t be doing the same workout every day, so make sure to take that attitude with you to your personal workout time. Many gyms are making programming available online – check and see what online programming is available in your area!

TOOLS TO USE: The Nike Training Club app will be your own personal trainer, without the cost. This app houses a catalogue of 185 free workouts covering strength, mobility, yoga and more. The app will also pick personalized options for you based off what workouts you have already done, taking the guess work out of your workout.

The Peloton app ( $39/month) is a handy tool — and you don’t need the bike or tread to benefit from a subscription. There are lots of class options available, including stretching, yoga, pilates, HIIT, bodyweight, meditation, dance cardio and running.

Other Ways to Relieve Stress

If working out just isn’t your thing, it’s important to expend your mental and physical energy in other ways to help with your mental wellness. Here are some suggestions and tools to help you get started.

  • MINDFULNESS: Mindfulness is a type of meditation that allows you to be fully present and aware of what is happening inside you and around you. It is a way to help you be less distracted, practice deep breathing techniques and be more aware of your thoughts and feelings.

TOOLS TO USE: The Headspace app guides you through a daily mindfulness routine, focusing on a new skill every day. It also provides tools to help you to sleep better and exercise.

  • JOURNALING: Journaling allows you to remove any negative emotions from your head and get them down on paper, releasing them from your mind. It can help you be more self-aware and expressive.

TOOLS TO USE: Burn After Writing by Sharon Jones provides you with journaling prompts to help with reflection, self-exploration and creativity. There are tons of free and accessible tools to use to help you manage your mental wellness. Recognize when you need to take a break. With these tools and tricks, you can better take charge of your mental wellness. Don’t put off taking care of yourself — after all, your health is wealth.


Get stressed thoughts out of your head and onto paper. This gives your body, mind and spirit permission to think it, and then release it.” — Shirley Lytle


TOOLS TO USE: If you recognize you are consistently struggling with a number of these issues, it might be time to talk to a professional. NAR provides discounted Member TeleHealth to support REALTORS® who may not have easy and affordable access to healthcare. Utilize this tool to talk to a professional who can diagnose and treat your problem.

Thank you to our experts for sharing their stories and expertise!


Bobbi Howe | Operating Principal, Keller Williams –Kansas City North

In 2019, Bobbi Howe bravely shared her story at our May 2019 Member Outreach. A second-generation REALTOR®, she learned the business by watching her top-producing REALTOR® mother excel in their community. Then, she got the call that changed the trajectory of her career — her mother had taken her life. Bobbi has now dedicated herself to having conversations with other REALTORS® that no one had with her mom, particularly around stress and mental health.

Shirley Lytle | Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Living with a Purpose Counseling

Shirley Lytle noticed that many members in her community didn’t believe in getting professional help. She’s dedicated to ensuring people know that there are things we can do to manage our mental health and spirituality, and professional mental health counselors can help.