As a mental health advocate, I know the power of self-care. As a former TV journalist, I know the impact a stressful work environment can have on one’s mental health. And as a journalist who did not know how to incorporate self-care into my daily routine, I know the effects that stress can take on life.
Self-care is the headline
As a writer who works with journalists, I started thinking about this topic while looking through resources provided by the Society of Professional Journalists. I was thrilled to see a special section of the website devoted to mental health.
One of the most intriguing pieces of content was an article on self-care tips for journalists. While some may be specific to the pressures facing those who cover the news, I think many of the self-care measures can be applied to just about anyone:
- Breathe. This is a simple tip that I often share with people while crisis counseling. If you have never tried to just be still and focus on your breath, you are missing out on a powerful self-care technique.
- Take small breaks. Again, a simple recommendation but one that can have tremendous impacts. Not only can small breaks from work or other stressful situations help you focus, but they can help turn heated moments into calm situations.
- Remember your mission and purpose. I read quite a bit about mental health, but this one is relativity new for me. I have thought many times about my mission and purpose, but this article suggested hanging your mission or purpose close to where you work so you can be reminded of why you chose this path.
Clients are the characters
I also found these tips intriguing because of a specific piece of workplace stress that journalists typically do not face but is often a source of frustration for communication professionals and marketers. Clients can take a devastating toll on one’s mental health.
Let’s look at a typical scenario. A marketer or PR pro sends a client an email with the “final draft” of a press release. That’s when the client decides they are no longer happy with the press release and marks it up, basically asking for a complete rewrite. Along with sending back the draft, they include a note about their overall unhappiness with the progress of their account.
Calmness is the ending
What’s a marketer or PR pro to do? As mentioned above, perhaps a great first step is to breathe and take a little bit of time away from the email and overall situation. By combining these two self-care techniques – a focus on breath and a small break – the PR or marketing pro can gather their thoughts without letting the stress of the situation dictate their attitude.
The great thing about these self-care techniques is that they do not take long to implement. At the same time, it’s important to keep in mind that sometimes more self-care is needed. Talking to a therapist or other mental health professional can be a significant step forward in helping to regain control during challenging times.