Covid-19 changed life as we know it. It has undoubtedly taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. According to a report by WHO, there is a 25 percent increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression. A stressful situation, in the form of work or personal life, only adds to the burden.
Working in public relations puts you under a lot of stress. In a world where everything happens instantly, it can be difficult to slow down. Many PR professionals experience serious mental health issues in a demanding environment. This also puts them at risk with substance abuse to cope with the stress.
Substance abuse can have a negative impact on your life in general. You’ll experience a lot of withdrawal and hangovers and have poor decision-making skills. This can greatly affect your performance at work.
If you have a substance addiction, detox and rehab centers are available for you. Treatment centers can give you the right treatment for the kind of issue you are dealing with, be it addiction, trauma, or mental health issues. The sooner you get help, the easier you can overcome these issues.
Treating mental health illnesses helps, but prevention goes a long way.
1. Separate life and work
Home is where you can relax and recharge yourself after a day’s work. That’s why most people say you shouldn’t bring your work home. When you bring your work home, along with it, you bring home a stressful environment.
The fine line between feeling safe and comfortable versus work situations then begins to blur. A poor work-life balance can affect your mental health in different ways.
But is this achievable even in the PR world, where you need to juggle many deadlines? It’s hard to believe, but yes, you can still separate your work and personal life as a PR pro.
The first thing you need to do is to create a schedule for work and personal activities. Decide when you want to clock off for the day to focus on your personal life. And don’t forget to mark it on your calendar so you won’t forget.
A work-life balance is something that everybody needs. Despite knowing how imperative it is, sometimes it becomes difficult to balance that. So it’s also important to let everyone in your workplace know about your schedule.
Your clients also need to know when you will disconnect from work. Make sure you communicate this to them as well, so they know when they can reach out to you.
A good work-life balance results in less stress, a lower chance of burnout, and an improved sense of being. Moreover, when you learn how to set boundaries between life and work, you will feel more in control. By doing so, you can make choices that will allow you to lead a productive life at home and work.
2. Talk about work-related stress
If there’s one thing about the pandemic, it’s that it has spiked mental health awareness efforts for workers. But despite this, a lot of people still can’t open up about their mental health in the workplace. In fact, at least 49 percent of workers still feel that they can’t talk about their mental health at work.
Having someone to talk to about your struggles leads to catharsis, which is a feeling of relief. Although it doesn’t change what happened to you, it can help you see things clearly. Venting allows people to release the tension they’re feeling in a productive way. In return, your coworkers or supervisor may even have something that can help you cope with it.
More importantly, talking about work-related stress with your coworkers normalizes it. When everyone is talking about their struggles, you’ll feel comfortable sharing yours as well.
This also helps you communicate your work-related stress to the top management. They may not know how stressful handling multiple projects can be for you if they’re not involved in it. Your voice can reach the people in charge, which can then help you make your workload more manageable.
In some cases where you feel your company doesn’t support this, you can still talk about it with someone. Share your struggles at work with your company counselor or a family member.
Or better yet, find a professional you can talk to. Too much stress without a way to manage it can lead to issues such as anxiety and depression.
Mental health treatment at treatment centers includes talk therapy. This will help you identify what’s causing you emotional distress. Others find it relieving to open up about their feelings and emotions. If that is the case, talk therapy also helps you uncover complex issues that you may be experiencing.
3. Build strong relationships
Because of how much work you’re handling in PR, it’s easy to fall out of touch with friends and family. But social connections are an important part of taking care of your mental health.
Surrounding yourself with people who care for you makes everything in life stable. This includes your physical, emotional, and even mental health. Maintaining healthy relationships is just as important as taking care of your physical needs.
However unhealthy relationships are a source of stress. So interact with people who support your emotional needs and promote good behavior.
Living in a supportive environment results in fewer feelings of loneliness and anxiety. You’ll learn how to seek help before things get worse, which helps a lot in overcoming these struggles.
And if things get worse, family and friends are those who will support you toward recovery. This is especially true for people dealing with substance-use disorders.
4. Communicate reasonable expectations to clients
Working in PR means meeting the needs of clients and showing why you’re the right person for the job. It is not uncommon to come across clients who have unrealistic expectations going into the discovery call.
If you leave it at that and promise to meet these expectations, you’re bound to fail and add to your stress. Sometimes you’ll get lucky, but most of the time these expectations will get to you.
You need to deliver if you want a steady income. But you can’t keep any promises if you cannot meet what they expect. It’s up to you to reframe their idea of success at the beginning of the process itself. Set realistic expectations and perform well by exceeding them.
You and your client need to be on the same page when you’re working on a project. They need to understand the importance of PR for that to occur. Agree on what you’ll do, what you’re capable of doing, how long it should take, and what they need to do. This will help you work more effectively and feel more at ease.
You need to remember that they asked you for your expertise. If the client has unrealistic goals you can’t meet, direct them to someone who can and keep going.
5. Know when to get help
Stress is a part of everyone’s life, albeit, varying in proportion. When you feel excited about working on a new project, that is considered “good stress.” It’s “good” because it often drives people to do better and enhances their performance in life and at work. But, there is just enough stress that one person can handle.
When it begins to interfere with your everyday functions, that’s when it becomes “bad stress.” Work-related stress can become bad stress when you experience too much of it. And prolonged exposure to this leads to mental health issues such as drug addiction.
So how do you know when you’ve reached your stress threshold?
One thing about mental health issues is that they don’t come instantly. You’ll experience some symptoms at first before getting a diagnosis. Understanding how these issues progress is the best way to prevent them.
Symptoms of stress-induced anxiety often include:
- Feeling nervous or restless
- Losing sleep
- Having an increased heart rate
- Feeling irritable most of the time
These anxiety symptoms sound normal at times. But, when left unchecked, they can progress into a health disorder. When this happens, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.
Anxiety is a symptom that can be the cause of other types of disorders. It can be depression, panic disorder, or even an addiction disorder. Treatment centers cover a lot of mental health issues. If you feel like your anxiety can lead you to seek the help of addictive substances, it’s best to get their help.
6. Prepare a list of mental health treatment centers
First things first, have a list of mental health treatment centers with you. This way, you can get help immediately in case things get out of hand.
Not all mental health treatment centers can address every issue. Some specialize in drug addiction, and some in mood disorders. Others also offer programs that address both addiction and mood disorders.
There are a few centers that specialize in treating addiction, trauma, mental health issues etc. It is imperative that you make a list of the type of health center you are looking for. The Heights Treatment is one such center that helps you with your depression, anxiety, or mental health related disorders. Their programs are evidence-based. This means that they use techniques that are proven to work and backed by research.
One plus point is that they ensure that you remain sober, not fall off the wagon, by partnering with recovery communities. It should be understood that treating addiction is a life-long process, and it doesn’t stop after therapy. Getting into a sober living home can help you a lot in transitioning back to your normal, healthy life.
But before creating a list, you need to know what kind of mental health facility you need. Here are some of the different types of mental health facilities available:
Outpatient mental health facilities
Facilities for day therapy do not require patients to stay overnight. This makes it appropriate for you if your mental health is relatively stable. You can enroll in a day-treatment program after completing an inpatient program.
Residential treatment centers
Mental health residential treatment centers are often for-profit centers for mental health. Treatments here vary, including equine therapy, exercise, therapy, and psychiatric medication. If you need long-term mental health treatment, you should find a residential treatment center near you.
Inpatient units in a general hospital
Some places lack the space for separate mental health facilities. That’s why they combine these facilities with the local hospital. These inpatient units handle emergencies, such as someone with psychopathy or self-harming tendencies. Stays are meant to stabilize a mental health condition and are often brief.
Full psychiatric hospitals make up only a small number of mental health facilities. More than half of them are privately operated. These hospitals have doctors, nurses, and other licensed healthcare personnel. You can go to a psychiatric hospital for both urgent and non-urgent mental health matters.
If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, you don’t need to check into an inpatient rehab facility. There are outpatient alcohol rehab centers that don’t need you to stay in the facility for treatment. This works best for people working in public relations.
But remember that the program should cater to your specific needs. If you can commit to your sobriety outside the facility, choose an outpatient program. But if your home or workplace can trigger a relapse, you need an inpatient program.
Your mental health also matters
You can’t take the stress away from working in PR, but this doesn’t mean you should leave it at that. If you do, it can only progress into more serious mental health conditions. While mental health treatment centers are always an option you can turn to should you need help, it is wise to prevent stress from getting to you that matters the most.
The things listed above are just some of the ways PR professionals can manage stress in the workplace. Talk about the stress you have as a PR professional to someone. Build strong relationships. Make sure everyone knows you’re maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Remember that your mental health matters just as much as your physical health. Help is always available.