How to survive September: Top tips for conveyancers
There are hundreds of articles out there about burnout, how to notice the signs and stop what you’re doing when you’ve overdone it. As conveyancers, we know our current workload will remain full on for the next few weeks (let’s not sugarcoat it), and many of us are not about to take the amount of time off that our minds and bodies might need.
So, here are some short term tips which can help you muddle through…
- Ground yourself, Major Tom
Don’t panic, I am not going to suggest that in order to be functioning conveyancers, we need to become meditating yogis. Grounding is a very simple thing to do which takes seconds, and changes the way you’re currently thinking. Pick a sense – for example, touch – and just place your hands on your desk. Feel the desk meet your fingertips, the sides of your hands, your wrists. Does it feel cool? Smooth? Grainy? Close your eyes for a few seconds, and just focus on what you feel. Now remind yourself that you are not a job title, you are a living, breathing collection of atoms and bacteria and a strong beating heart and numerous hopes and desires.
You are a human being. In this moment, just BE. Take a mental step away from the emails and breathe. You are energy. You are not your to-do list. The table just IS. You just ARE. You’ve got this.
- Have a chuckle
Laughter is an amazing stress reliever. Like smiling, if you have a little giggle it immediately lightens your mood; your whole body relaxes and enjoys a wave of endorphins, which can help with your overall sense of wellbeing. This week I decided to laugh whenever the suggested completion date was too implausible… (that may have been more than once). You’ve just got to, you know?
I’m not saying fake laugh your way through burnout – simply that, laughing happens when your body cannot contain JOY. Isn’t that wonderful? It even keeps your heart healthy. When was the last time you creased up because something tickled you that much? It probably wasn’t when you saw an incorrectly witnessed TR1! But you can turn inwards and search your memories for something silly to recall. Or get online and find some cat memes! Try watching a funny compilation video on your lunch break (yes, keep taking those, it will keep your strength up too).
- Shout, shout, let it all out!
I use the term ‘rambling’ for when I’m summing up what daft thing just happened, but in an amusing way to my colleagues. This is a good way for letting out the immediate tension that I have from an event, and also relating and connecting with them better. The act of saying out loud, ‘That was so stupid!’ ‘WHY did they do that?!’ physically releases tension from getting trapped in your body. (If you’re pretending to be perfect, you’ll find people relax around you more when they can see you are being genuine – don’t forget, your colleagues are going through this too).
The other week our fabulous locum made it right up to Friday afternoon before coming out of their room, saying in an agitated tone that a situation was just silly and they were getting rather irritated about it actually, then disappeared again. Sometimes that little burst is all you need! Please tell others. Share the nonsense, you’re not alone. Step away for a few minutes and put the kettle on while you regroup.
- Have Courage, Be Kind
To be a Conveyancer, you are already something of a rockstar. You make the effort to be kind to all sorts of people – solicitors, clients, managing agents, estate agents, freeholders, the local authority – and if you’re like me, you might be working on other people’s files too! Don’t forget to save some kindness for yourself. I don’t mean at the end of the day, when you’re spent, either – I strongly suggest that you check in with yourself several times a day.
This, firstly, will tell you if you do have any potential real burnout symptoms. Secondly, the act of remembering to ask yourself if you’re ok, and what you need is practicing the act of self-compassion, which is very important to keeping good mental health.
- It’s The Final Countdown
May our politicians never think that messing about with stamp duty is a good idea again. Personally, I would have respected them more for sticking to their guns – a deadline should be just that. But the taper has allowed thousands more people to move home, at least think they saved a little money (I’m looking at you, inflated property prices), and we have all been instrumental in assisting their home moving dreams to come to fruition. As an industry we have been struck with a sledgehammer by the need for change, and many of us have worked like dogs for the last 18 months.
I hope you’ll join me in getting a cold one in readiness for celebrating the end of a very long and testing time of our lives. See you on the other side!
Nikki Shorto is a Licensed Conveyancer at MJP Law