How can you think like a journalist to improve your mental health?

January 19, 2022

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:

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.

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