By Carlee Pett, Account Coordinator, R&J Public Relations
It should come as no surprise to PR professionals that public relations, yet again, appeared on CareerCast’s annual list of the top ten most stressful jobs in the United States. Among military personnel, firefighters, and other officials in life-threatening fields, PR executive was listed as the seventh most stressful profession. Yes, you read that correctly; public relations was categorized as one of the most demanding occupations, right up there next to other occupations that face a high risk of injuries – and even death – on a daily basis!
So what is it about PR that makes us so stressed? Tight deadlines with every project due “ASAP,” being available for instant communication 24/7, juggling relationships with multiple clients, and multi-tasking every minute of the day to achieve unrealistic expectations — all are contributing factors to the amount of stress PR professionals endure. Especially with the transition of public relations from traditional to digital, and the incorporation of social media tools, the pressure continues to increase in this ever-changing industry, and the expectations we face are vastly expanding.
PR professionals tolerate the constant pressure because we love what we do, and the satisfaction of scoring a “big hit” makes the stress well worth it. But even the most experienced experts in the field need to de-stress from time-to-time. Below are some pieces of advice, and my favorite ways to regain peace, even on the most stressful days:
- Build a positive environment. Create positivity in your office by praising and encouraging others, and offer to help your co-workers, when possible. It is likely that your colleagues will return the favor and offer help when you’re stressed. An optimistic office that functions as a team, will improve your overall work experience and help eliminate stress.
- Prioritize. Set daily, weekly, or monthly goals – whatever works best for you – and make to-do lists. I found that by setting reasonable and achievable goals, while following my to-do list, I managed my time and tasks much more effectively, and remained levelheaded.
- Take a break. When your brain feels like it’s spinning and you’re feeling extremely overwhelmed, a five-minute break can go a long way. I learned that even just a short walk to the candy jar, or logging onto your favorite blog to read the newest post, can help to manage your stress. A short break helps you to regain focus, so you can deliver the highest quality of work.
- Exercise. A healthy lifestyle outside of the office will translate into less stress at the office. I personally enjoy running on the boardwalk to take focus off any frustrations, in addition to frequent yoga sessions to stretch and relax.
- Keep your balance. As PR professionals, we are committed to communicating and responding instantly to the public and our clients, but in order to avoid harmful levels of stress, it is essential to try to avoid mixing home and work. To alleviate stress on the weekends and after work hours, check your work phone and email often, but don’t keep these devices glued to your body.
- Reward yourself. When you accomplish a big goal, or conquer a great achievement, reward yourself. A little vacation or spa day may be just what your mind and body needs to de-stress.
With one of the most stressful jobs in the U.S., it takes more than being a focused planner and strategic counselor to succeed in public relations. Although we thrive on keeping busy, it is important for PR professionals to “keep calm and pitch on.”