Blog 62: Mental Health by Xavier Lo, FIA, FRM, MBA

I’d like to really highlight something that is important to all of us actuaries. There is a lot of emphasis right now on healthy eating [健康飲食] and staying physically active [保持做運動]. However, not a lot of people really think about what goes on inside your body – specifically, what happens inside your brain.

Mental Health [心理健康] is something that most people overlook in their everyday lives. You must have heard of the saying “healthy mind, healthy life”. Its true. Especially with times like these where there’s social distancing [社交距離], work from home arrangements [在家工作], and restrictions on travelling, we have a lot more time to think. This can be a good thing, but it can easily become very dangerous as depression [抑鬱] starts to set in and we end up in a spiral of negative thoughts [負面思想]. Without someone to share your thoughts and to give you an alternative (and probably less biased [客觀] or extreme) point of view, we tend to just focus on the negative aspects of life.

There are a few ways to combat this and to keep your mind healthy though. Firstly, if you’re spending a lot of time at work, really just force yourself to take breaks [唞吓]. Maybe go for a walk, get a coffee – just physically leave your workplace for a moment. This will help clear your mind. Secondly, don’t just keep all the thoughts to yourself – share them with someone you trust. They might not have any answers at all, but just the act of telling someone will help release some mental tension [精神緊張]. The last tip I have for you is to be mentally conscious of doing activities that you enjoy. This could be socialising with people, meeting friends, or going out to restaurants. Make sure that you plan this in your week – because it really keeps you going throughout the day if you have something to look forward to!

We actuaries use our brains to do most of the work – so make sure to keep your mind healthy. You’ll find that life is a lot more enjoyable when your brain is happy as well!

Qualified fellow actuary (in UK and Hong Kong), Financial Risk Manager, and MBA graduate (listed on the Dean's List) with a passion for insurance, data science, and analytics. Experienced in a broad range of insurance roles (pricing, capital modelling, reserving, ERM), along with a touch of knowledge in banking. Member of the General Insurance Committee (2021), Actuarial Innovation Committee (2019 - 2021) in ASHK.

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