3 big stressors in PR and how professionals can combat them

by | Jan 31, 2024 | Public Relations

A career in public relations can be a rewarding experience. You get to work with a range of clients and use both creative and strategic skills to address challenges. Yet, there’s no denying that there can be significant pressure involved.  

Unfortunately, the stress PR professionals experience can seriously disrupt their work satisfaction, their productivity, and—most importantly—their wellness. You may find that the stressors you face have short-term psychological hurdles or they may develop into long-term health complications. Therefore, it’s vital to understand the causes of stress and adopt measures to mitigate them. 

3 big stressors in PR and how professionals can combat them

Image Source: Pexels 

1. It can be difficult to maintain a balance

One of the primary challenges of PR is that it can feel all-encompassing. Alongside handling the day-to-day elements of campaigns, you may occasionally have to respond to client crises. Not to mention that it can feel as though you have too many tasks to squeeze into each day. This can lead to working longer hours, which disrupts your work-life balance, triggering long-term stress and anxiety

This stress doesn’t disappear if you will it to, either. However, it may help to understand what theoretical tools you have to deal with the associated symptoms. For instance, you may find that you need to adopt methods to cope with stress dreams. These aren’t just unpleasant in themselves, but they can also disrupt your sleep, leading you to feel more tired and anxious in the morning. Consider creating a relaxing routine before bed to unwind from the stress of the day. Deep breathing and meditation can also be powerful tools. 

That said, it’s often more important to tackle the root cause as well as the symptoms. Look at how you can create stronger boundaries between your PR career and your home life. Wherever possible, establish set working hours and stick to these. If your workload is unmanageable, speak to your colleagues and employer to establish solutions rather than simply accepting an unbalanced and stressful lifestyle. 

2. The working environment can be intense

The PR industry can be pretty dynamic, as you’re often working with multiple clients and juggling various creative and technical tasks. This can be exciting and make for an engaging career experience. However, it’s also the case that constant noise and high-pressure activity can contribute to an intense working environment. If this is a consistent presence, you might find it overwhelming and a trigger for stress. Exposure to this type of workplace isn’t always positive for your physical or mental wellness

One option to explore is hybrid or remote working. Many PR tasks don’t need to be performed in the traditional workplace. Meetings can take place over video call, campaigns are often based on digital materials, and collaborative software allows you to ideate and plan with colleagues. Take the time to discuss this option with your employer, as some companies are still resistant to remote work.  

Shifting to hybrid or remote working doesn’t automatically free you of the strains of the workplace. You’ll have to design your working space around the stressors that may arise.  

For instance, making a spare room in your home into a working area can be a good solution if you find working in common areas—like a kitchen or living room—has too many distractions. Even better, converting your garage into a home office is a relatively simple way to separate your work from your living area. This space should have all the necessities you’ll need in a workday—from a steady Wi-Fi signal to fidget tools to shake off the stress.  

It’s also wise to add a few personal touches to make it a more calm and positive environment. Hang pictures of tranquil landscapes. Place a few houseplants around to bring you a little closer to nature, which studies show can improve mental and physical health

3. Clients can have excessive expectations

Most PR professionals complain of stress because of the number of overseers that they report to for work. Yes, you’ll be dealing with the requirements of your immediate employer or team manager. But your clients are perhaps the most difficult overseers. They may have lofty expectations of your work, which can be a significant trigger of stress. 

The problem usually lies in the fact that a lot of clients don’t really understand PR. Communication is key to combating this stressor. You need to discuss what your client’s goals are and what—from your perspective as a professional—is achievable. Wherever possible, show them real-world examples of the work that goes into hitting similar PR goals. Throughout the campaign, be transparent about what you’re doing and why. Hopefully, clients will be able to understand your position a little better and adjust their expectations accordingly. 

Even so, your clients may continue to have excessive expectations after these steps. At that point, consider the worth of this client. Have discussions with your colleagues and employer to evaluate the issue and take necessary action. Remember that the pressure for maintaining overly difficult clients shouldn’t be entirely on your shoulders, causing you unnecessary stress. 


PR can be a challenging career path, but it doesn’t have to feature unhealthy levels of stress. The more professionals can understand the common triggers of stress, the more effectively the wider industry can adopt standards and protocols to combat it. This doesn’t just help ensure individual pros like yourself can have a healthier experience. It also influences a working culture that puts employee well-being first. 

Katie Brenneman
Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn't writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.