Mental Health Management: Make sure Stamp Duty isn’t the only one taking a holiday
The Stamp Duty holiday extension, announced by the chancellor on 3rd March 2021, has been welcomed by those buying and selling properties, especially if they were worried about their transactions completing before the initial March 31st deadline. This also gives breathing space for the legal profession.
However, figures from HMRC show that in the last quarter of 2020, the total number of SDLT transactions increased by 43% from the previous quarter. Whilst the industry was pleased that the housing market was so resilient, this placed additional demand on those involved in property transactions. Understandably, some conveyancers may have been looking forward to the end of the SDLT holiday, so that work could return to its 'normal' pace.
Mental Health Management
Mental Health Management continues to be crucial for all professions during these difficult times.
With many of us now working from home, it means the boundary between work and home life is blurred. Alongside this, and the usual workplace stress, we are now trying to do all we can to make sure our clients’ transactions happen before the stamp duty deadline. Additionally, the uncertainty and huge changes caused by the pandemic may cause increased feelings of anxiety. It is easy to become so consumed by work and family commitments that we neglect our own mental health and wellbeing.
It is so easy to let worry and stress take over, carry on working and not take into account how it’s affecting you. Something I feel which demonstrates this is the music video to the song ‘Head and Heart’ by Joel Corry and MNEK. Throughout the video, one side of the screen is dull, muted and shows everything going wrong whereas, by contrast, the other side of the screen is bright and everything going well. Then at the end, (spoiler alert!), both screens merge and you realise it is the same person all along.
It is a really good example of demonstrating how you feel when you’re overwhelmed and stressed, compared to how you feel when you’re relaxed and at your best, but, of course, both are your emotions at once. You are only one person and have to juggle so much all at the same time, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and exhausted at times.
Crane and Staples organised an insightful presentation from Leah Steele at Searching for Serenity, discussing burnout prevention and the importance of mental health management. Many of us may relate to the phrase; ‘I’m too busy to attend a burnout/managing stress session!’ which is not only ironic, but also concerning. Our firm have kindly arranged for follow up sessions with Leah Steele, as we found the initial session so helpful. We recognise the importance of mental health management and are grateful that the firm have made the time for us to attend these sessions.
Mental Health Management - Tips and Advice
Below are some of the tips and advice from our staff on how to look after yourself (and make sure it’s not just Stamp Duty who gets a break!);
- Manish Patel, one of our Senior Associate Solicitors, gave his views on workplace stress in this helpful and supportive article for World Mental Health Day, 2020 .
- Our staff also gave their top tips for mental health management, in this article for Mental Health Awareness Week.
- LawCare – https://www.lawcare.org.uk/ - A charity that promotes and supports good mental health and wellbeing in the legal community. Their website provides useful resources as well as contact information if you need someone to talk to, or require urgent support.
- Mind – https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-yourself/ The charity, Mind, frequently share helpful tips and guidance on managing mental health at work, for both employees and employers.
- Do Nothing for 2 Minutes - http://www.donothingfor2minutes.com/. This website plays ambient nature sounds for two uninterrupted minutes. If you touch your mouse or keyboard, the clock resets. This encourages you to take a two minute break and relax. As we cannot go on holiday, the sound of the sea is the nearest we’ll get for now!
Doing little things and giving yourself a break keeps you fresh. This looks after your mental health and wellbeing and helps prevent burnout.
Keep an eye on how you are feeling and make sure you take time out for yourself. Don't put too much pressure on yourself either (our profession is stressful enough!)
Stamp Duty is taking an extended holiday, so you deserve a break too!