As part of International Stress Awareness Week, we reflect on why PR can sometimes feel like life or death and what we should do to get a bit of perspective:
Over the years, I’ve often seen PR cited as one of the most stressful jobs, especially at agencies and some days, it’s not hard to see why. With multiple clients to juggle, high expectations to deliver on, looming deadlines, increasing competition for media coverage, and occasional long hours, it’s easy to see how, if not managed correctly, it can all get a bit much. At the end of the day we’re conscientious and we want to do our best work for our clients and for ourselves but the very nature of agency work can mean there will be times when bottlenecks of work are unavoidable, and you’ll have days when it feels like you might drown in the number of tasks on the to-do list. Add to that everything that goes on in our own personal lives, and it’s easy to fall into thinking we might burn out.
Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom, far from it.
After nearly five years at Active Profile, I still remember one of the first pearls of wisdom that our MD, Anna gave me – “it’s PR, not ER”, a phrase that our innovation director, Andy coined many years ago. At the busiest and most stressful times we always come back to this phrase, after all, as important as our work can be, we don’t have people’s lives in our hands. Sometimes we just need to take a second to step back from the madness and get a bit of perspective.
But there are some days when even a catchy mantra won’t cut it and we need to draw on our own tried and tested techniques for keeping calm under pressure.
We asked the team what they do to stress less:
Frankie – I keep a stress journal. I write down what’s stressing me out and how I dealt with it so that I can try to look at it objectively, it never seems so bad then and I can handle the situation better if it happens again.
Anna – I do yoga and I also write down on paper the things that are stressing me out – they never look as bad as they do in my mind.
Amy – If it’s all getting a bit overwhelming in the office, I like to get away from my desk, put some chilled music on and make a priorities list so I can focus on what’s most important and not be afraid to ask for help if I need it. At home, I love a good podcast or reading.
Nicky – Long walks, on a beach preferably, but just being outdoors generally de-stresses me.
Nat – Exercise is a great stress reliever for me, can't beat a bit of boxing or clubbercise or long walk with our dog.
Andy – For me anything creative – painting, drawing or playing guitar, helps me to destress. It’s about getting your head in the moment, rather than thinking about stuff that may never happen.
At the end of the day though, none of the stress is worth it if you don’t love what you do and that’s where we’re a lucky bunch because we certainly do. Loving your work makes the bad days bearable and the good days even better and I think that’s a pretty good going.