How Public Relations Professionals Combat Stressors

There’s no amount of money earned or job titles that exempt anyone from stress. The inevitable state of worrying or “mental tension” has an effect on everyone at some point in their day-to-day endeavors. But who faces the most stress in the workplace? According to a 2019 study by CareerCast.com, public relations (PR) ranks among the top 10 most stressful jobs. PR practitioners are constantly upholding their clients’ brand reputations and developing plans for crisis management. Being at the forefront of these efforts is already stressful, but instead of letting stress affect the quality of work achieved, it’s proactive by identifying stressors and developing ways to counteract the impact. Kind of like developing a plan, which we do all the time in our work. In observance of Stress Awareness Month in April, our team is sharing what they do to manage stress and why their methods are effective.

Sanj Marosi, Director of Communications
For communicators, there are days when everything seems to demand your time all at once. A normal stress response for me is having an overwhelmed mind with racing thoughts – trying to solve everything at the same time. A surefire way I find to slow my pace and order my thoughts is listening to Bach’s Goldberg Variations. While the mathematical rhythm of the composition helps me slow down and think clearly, its sheer beauty reminds me of our shared humanity and the potential for brilliance.

Lauren Minter, Director of Operations and Client Service
My biggest stress reliever is getting exposure to sunlight. I enjoy taking walks with my dog, hanging out by the pool, or sitting on my patio. Sunlight helps your brain produce serotonin which can boost your mood and help you feel calm. When I don’t have the option of getting natural light, I like to use my light therapy lamp which mimics natural sunlight.

Jaylen Christie, Account Supervisor
I enjoy taking walks. Every morning, I do a three-mile walk to start my day, which has been very therapeutic for me. Exercise in any form can help relieve stressors. However, for me, walking gives me time to think through anything that may be bothering me. Additionally, meditation and reading help me tremendously. All three activities have a wonderful way of taking my mind off of anything I may be going through and alleviating stress.

Alesa Gerald, Account Specialist
Stress management is very important to me, so I try to manage stress in a few different ways. First, I attend therapist appointments. It helps me talk out how I’m feeling and start fresh with a new perspective and outlook on how to approach the next week. Second, I try to stay off of my phone after a certain time each day to help calm me before bed. Lastly, I like to set times for self-care activities like getting my hair and nails done, hanging out with friends and family, and sometimes just spending time alone to read.

The most important part of my stress relief journey is to understand that I can only control my actions and decisions, the rest is up to everyone else. I still need reminding of that sometimes, but using that as my mantra has helped me stay calm in stressful situations.

Olivia Thompson, Communications Intern
I manage stress by facing it head-on. Since I know what habits, environments, or people that stress me out the most, I intentionally avoid stress just by being self-aware. I’m a lot farther in my mental health journey than I was three years ago, but when stress creeps in and tries to take over my mood, outlook on life, or disrupt my workflow, I use what I call an “endless supply of peace.” It’s like a back-pocket defense against stress, and depending on how long I’ve allowed myself to be thrown off course will also determine how many tools I pull from my endless supply of peace.

I believe that when stress sits in your mind for too long, it will soon transfer over into your muscles, bones, and begin to show in your work environment or personal life. So, tools such as prayer, R&B music, rain sound effects, watching the sunset in silence, a night drive, and even a table for one at my favorite restaurant are ways that I can briefly escape my mind and let my supply of peace manage stress while I disconnect.

Bernadette Davis, Founder and Chief Strategist
As a communications professional, I’m going to face stressful situations – it’s unavoidable if I’m working with individuals and organizations on reputation, storytelling, and responding to the current environment. The way I respond in those situations and after is what matters most to me.

In the moment, I focus on information. We are often stressed when we don’t know enough or we don’t know what to do next. Gathering information, processing it, and thinking through scenarios is where we can focus our energy during a crisis. Believe in your skills, use the information you have to develop messages and strategy, and move as quickly as you can, knowing that you need to leave space to update your strategy as more information becomes available. Knowledge is, in fact, a form of power.

Outside of those in-the-moment communications situations, I like to take breaks away from meetings and work to exercise, listen to music (and turn up that volume), read, and watch movies that are transporting in some way. (I really like thrillers and mysteries – novels and films – and long walks or hikes). Much of my stress relief is solitary, but I also enjoy a good, fun conversation with friends. The kind of friends who aren’t afraid to laugh out loud and share what’s what.

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