How Insurance Agents Can Avoid Burnout
Being an insurance agent is a great career choice, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Slow sales, angry clients, and tight deadlines can all lead even the most successful agent to feel exhausted and unproductive — in other words, feeling burnt out.
So, before that happens to you, you’ll want to do what you can to prevent it. What exactly is this situation and what does it look like? How can insurance agents avoid getting burnt out?
What Is Burnout?
It’s a constant state of physical and mental exhaustion that’s usually caused by long-term stress. It’s important to understand that it happens over time, and it looks different as it progresses. Let’s walk through four major stages.
1. Honeymoon Period
On your first day of work, you feel like anything is possible! You’re ready to start building long-lasting relationships with clients and impressing them with your commitment to their needs. You feel great, and everything seems to be going well.
2. Stress Begins
After a while, things aren’t working out as well as you had hoped. You start noticing that some days are more difficult than others, as well as experiencing changes in your energy and mood, especially on stressful days.
Still, you look forward to those occasional great days when you close a sale or help a client through a difficult claim.
3. Chronic Stress Arrives
After a while, things get worse. You start feeling more exhausted, and you might rely more on caffeine to make it through the day. You stop caring about your clients as much, and they start noticing that you’re less attentive to their needs. When they complain, you might feel guilty or anxious, which only makes things worse.
4. Burnout Begins
By this point, you no longer feel happy at work. You’re late for client meetings, and you’re not mentally present when you’re there. Instead, you might feel the urge to completely withdraw from society and other full-blown symptoms.
What’s the Difference Between Stress and Burnout?
Keep in mind that the symptoms of these conditions can overlap quite a bit. But the difference is that stress symptoms are caused by temporary situations — for example, a demanding repeat client or a particularly tough week or month. But once the stressful situation passes, you go back to enjoying your job.
On the other hand, burnout is a more serious condition that develops over time. People suffering from it may not feel much better even in low-stress environments or after changing teams. Simply put, if you’re stressed for long enough, your body will eventually start feeling stressed and exhausted all of the time. That’s burnout.
How Can Insurance Agents Avoid Burnout?
The stages that lead to it are terrible for your physical and mental health, so it’s important to prevent it before it becomes a problem. If you wait until the last stage to do something, chances are that your personal relationships and career are already suffering.
So, what can you do to prevent it? Here are 4 tips that insurance agents can follow to keep burnout at bay.
1. Recognize the Symptoms
Fortunately, burnout doesn’t happen overnight. Symptoms appear over time, and the sooner you notice them, the better your chances of fixing the causes before they become major problems.
Here are a few common symptoms:
- Constant negative attitude toward your job
- Dreading going to the office and wanting to leave once you’re there
- Being irritable toward your clients and colleagues
- Feelings that your work is unrecognized or unimportant
- Distancing yourself from your colleagues
- Constantly planning to quit or change roles
If you notice any of these symptoms, then you should take some further steps to avoid burnout.
2. Put Your Health First
If you’re not taking care of yourself, how can you expect to be a good insurance agent for your clients? There’s no question that prioritizing physical and mental health will help avoid this condition.
Here are a few easy ways to improve your health when you’re stressed or feeling burnt out.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Instead of cookies and candy bars, snack on fruit. And instead of going out every day for lunch, bring leftover meals that you’ve cooked yourself.
- Exercise regularly. You don’t have to run 10 miles every morning, but even a walk around the block after lunch can make a difference. It’s important to breathe fresh air.
- Carve out time for hobbies and other personal activities. Everyone should do something enjoyable outside of work. It could be yoga, model building, or scrapbooking — something that makes you feel good about yourself while you’re doing it.
- Rest when you’re sick. It’s tempting to work through that cold, but the reality is that you’re only prolonging your sickness (and your misery) when you don’t give your body the rest it needs to recover. Not to mention your co-workers want you to go home.
- Get enough sleep. Most people need 7–8 hours of quality sleep to feel rested in the morning. If you have trouble falling asleep, a good sleep hygiene routine can help.
3. Rely on Your Support System
No one can “do it all” on their own. We all sometimes need a shoulder to cry on, someone to tell us we’re a good insurance agent, and even just a person who can listen to us vent about the day. For you, that could be a spouse, partner, close friend, parent, or sibling. Think about these people when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed at work.
Of course, relationships work two ways, so make sure to be there for them when they need a little support themselves!
4. Be Realistic About Your Schedule
In today’s work culture, having a back-to-back schedule is often a point of pride. But more often than not, overbooking yourself will lead to burnout, not to mention constant feelings of guilt because you couldn’t achieve the impossible.
Instead, focus on the most important things on your to-do list and get them out of the way first. Be sure to leave room in your schedule for self-care, healthy meals, and everything else that will help you avoid getting burned out. If you can complete a few other non-essential tasks afterward, that’s great! But if not, that’s OK too.
You might even find that you can be more productive when you start reducing items on your checklist. A task that takes you an hour to do when you’re exhausted could easily take a few minutes after a good night’s rest.
Don’t Let Burnout Stop You from Being a Great Insurance Agent
You may not be able to avoid stressful situations at work, but you can avoid burnout. As an independent insurance agent, it’s important to work with a company that values people above all else — a company like Bluefire Insurance. Get in touch with us today to learn more about offering Bluefire to your customers or give us a call at (866) 424-9511.
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