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PR mental health: Stress management techniques for digital PR professionals

by | Jun 25, 2024 | Public Relations

Public relations is one of the most socially demanding professions a person can have. The job is fast-paced, the environment competitive, and the creative solutions vary from day to day. From writing curiosity-inducing pitches and client reports to networking with influencers on social media, it’s fair to say PR is pretty full-on.

The stress of being a digital marketer and the many demands on PR professionals can cause significant levels of stress that are damaging to a person over the long term. From long hours to high workloads there is plenty about working in PR that can have a negative impact on your mental health and wellbeing.

In this article we will be discussing stress management techniques specific to digital PR professionals. We hope the advice we share encourages you to prioritize your mental health and make some positive changes in your life.

Let’s get started.

Look after yourself first and foremost

You know how they tell you in those videos on airplanes that, should the plane be about to crash, you should always put your oxygen mask on first before helping others? The same should apply to your professional life. You can’t do a good job or maintain strong mental wellbeing if you aren’t taking the time to rest and look after yourself. 

Is digital marketing stressful? Yes. Can the stress of working in PR get to you quickly? Also, yes. That’s why prioritizing self-care practices like getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, getting plenty of fresh air and exercise, and making time for the things you enjoy is so important. 

In the busyness of life, it’s fair to say that we’re all guilty of neglecting ourselves. But don’t let that become your new normal. If you want to manage your stress levels and protect your mental health, you need to first look after yourself.

Invest in therapy

As a follow-on from the point above, self-care can also include utilizing the tools and apps available to help reduce your stress and give you back control of your life. Tools such as online therapy are great for strengthening yourself and improving your wellbeing over time.

While stress is a common (and accepted) part of working in PR, the amount it’s felt varies from person to person. Investing in therapy is a great way to get ahead of the game and ensure you have the support you need when you find yourself struggling.

While stress is a normal part of life and work, there is only so much stress you can handle. According to Recovery.com, “Stress makes addiction and mental health conditions more likely to develop. The untreated effects of stress increase your risk of anxiety, depression, and other mood-related disorders.” 

When the stress you’re experiencing starts taking over your life and you feel stressed for prolonged periods, it is time to seek help from your doctor, therapist, or other mental health professional. Asking for help is always the best starting point.

Prioritize regular digital detoxes

According to Fortune, Americans spend “an average seven hours, three minutes online a day – exceeding 18 years of their adult lives.” While increased time spent online is a symptom of a digital culture, it is important to curb unnecessary screen time as much as possible. 

This is because excess screen time (that’s all the time you spend scrolling Instagram or TikTok during your lunch break or after work) can have a detrimental effect on your mental health. It can cause high levels of anxiety and depression, and often makes you feel more lonely and isolated than you felt before. 

According to The Mental Help Guide, “If you’re spending an excessive amount of time on social media and feelings of sadness, dissatisfaction, frustration, or loneliness are impacting your life, it may be time to re-examine your online habits and find a healthier balance.” 

As PR is notoriously fast-paced and the majority of the job is carried out online, it is extra important to control your online use and carve out screen-free time when you can. To help give yourself a break from the constant stimulation and entertainment, it can be helpful to introduce screen-free activities throughout your day. 

Many people enjoy going to the gym, taking a walk, starting a new hobby like painting, music, or reading a physical book (not an ereader or the library app on your phone). These are all helpful ways to give your mind space to breathe and process information in a healthy way.

Schedule in time with friends and family

During the busyness of life it can be easy to let social engagements slip. You say no to a couple of dinners or a weekend getaway and soon enough you’re pulling extra long shifts at work on a regular basis just to keep up with the workload. But your mental health is taking a huge hit.

It’s important to realize just how beneficial spending time with friends and family really is. According to The American Psychological Association, “People who have friends and close confidants are more satisfied with their lives and less likely to suffer from depression […] Friendships protect us in part by changing the way we respond to stress. Blood pressure reactivity is lower when people talk to a supportive friend.”

Socializing on a regular basis is a great way to relieve stress. To protect your wellbeing for the long-term it is important to schedule regular meet-ups with friends and family. Scheduling in these meet-ups ensures you protect this time in your calendar, meaning the time you spend with friends and family is less likely to be overlooked.

Prioritize a healthy work-life balance

Working hard to maintain a healthy work-life balance is one of the best things you can do to reduce your stress and protect your wellbeing. While PR is a highly demanding profession and long hours are often expected, it’s important to protect your time as much as possible.

Schedule in time with friends and family, hobbies and other activities you enjoy, as well as time to relax and take care of yourself where possible. 

Of course, maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be a struggle. According to The Harvard Business Review, “Professionals are frequently expected to be at work during regular business hours and to be available … early morning calls to offshore colleagues, last-minute but all-too-common work requests at 10PM, and ubiquitous emails, texts, and instant messaging. … People work long days and weekends, sometimes to no business end, just to look busy to their managers, who themselves need to look busy to their managers.” 

Certainly, prioritizing a healthy relationship with work and taking time off is something that needs to be modeled by an organization’s leadership. However, that’s not always possible. So, the best thing you can do is set strict parameters on your time to help protect yourself from becoming overwhelmed and burnt out.

Final words

Working in PR can be extremely rewarding. However, it’s not without its stress. Having the self-awareness to know when you’re stressed and when it’s time to take action is vital. You know yourself better than anyone and you know when it’s time to take proactive steps to reduce your stress.

We hope this article has provided you with some helpful stress management tips so that you can protect your mental health and maintain a healthy work-life balance that benefits you for the long term.

Chris Harley
Chris is a mental health specialist with experience in raising awareness for mental health issues within his local community. Chris is passionate about breaking stigmas in connection with mental health issues. Focusing on sharing his experience and improving the lives of others, when Chris isn't researching the latest holistic and well-being therapies, he's spending time with his two cats, usually curled up on the sofa reading a book. Visit Chris' website for more information: https://themindblank.com/

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