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Accountants urged to prioritise their own mental health

Accountants have been lauded for their role in alleviating clients’ stress levels but have been reminded to take “essential” active steps to look after themselves by one consultant.

Accountants urged to prioritise their own mental health
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In light of Mental Health Week, Petris Lapis, director of her eponymous consulting firm, believes accountants often put themselves last because helping others have become so “ingrained” in them, much to their mental and physical detriment.

“Accountants are naturally people who help others — if a client is late, has a problem or is in trouble, we give our time and expertise to help them out,” said Ms Lapis.

“Helping others becomes so ingrained that we end up putting everyone else first and considering ourselves last, if at all.

“The simple truth is that we can only provide outstanding service and help to our clients, family, friends and colleagues when we are looking after ourselves first,” she added.

“It isn’t selfish to look after ourselves, it is essential. If we are not healthy, we do not have the energy to help others in the best way we could.”

Instead, Ms Lapis suggests accountants ensure their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects are well cared for to achieve the best outcome for their mental wellbeing and to better address their clients’ needs.

Ms Lapis suggests eating well and incorporating exercise for physical health, becoming self-aware of emotions for the mental aspect, and spending time with family and friends to ensure their emotional needs are taken care of.

“And when I say the word ‘spiritual’, I don’t necessarily mean religion or spirituality… I mean the things that enrich you in whatever shape that might take,” explained Ms Lapis.

“Don’t wait until you retire, or next year or any other time in the future, do it now.

“It is a far healthier way to be when we serve ourselves first, so we have an expanded and healthier capacity to serve others,” she added.

“I think of it is filling your cup — there is more in it to share with others, if you have taken the time to fill it for yourself first.”

Ms Lapis will be speaking on this topic, and more, at the Institute of Public Accountants’ National Congress in November.

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