As we approach the end of World Wellbeing Week, in true PR style, I thought it might be helpful for me to use this event to raise awareness of wellbeing in the PR world.
This September sees me marking 24 years working in the PR industry. I’ve worked in agencies, in-house and run my own business, as well as doing all my own PR, and promoting our charity, DDH UK.
Writing this, and remembering the journey I’ve been on makes me feel a bit tired, as well as exhilarated and proud of what I’ve done, the brands I’ve represented, as well as the clients I work with today who want to thrive in their PR careers, or business owners who want to do their own PR.
I think that it’s this rollercoaster of emotions that prompted me to write about wellbeing for PR professionals, because it’s something that we don’t always consider.
PR isn’t ER, we aren’t saving lives and we aren’t on the front line (well, some might be), but it is an industry that never really sleeps, because the media, now more than ever before, never sleeps.
We are constantly on the go, chasing copy, meeting deadlines, trying to smash goals, working hard to keep a multitude of stakeholders and gatekeepers happy, and while this can be rewarding when clients are won and coverage is secured, it can also be exhausting – mentally, emotionally and physically.
I know that we can’t radically change the way the PR works, and appreciate that you have a job to do, but I know there are ways we can better take care of our wellbeing, not just this week, but in the long term.
How often do you sit at your desk doing just ‘one more email’ while you really need a wee? Listen to your tummy grumble as you scroll through Response Source, or skip lunch to make it to a client meeting? Taking breaks during your working day isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity, and something that all too often is left on the sidelines, I know this and have been tripped up many times because something else was more important than me – nope! Morning coffee, lunchtime and a cuppa in the afternoon that is drunk away from your desk, not only gives you a reason to get up from your desk and walk around, but can also clear your head, help unclench your shoulders and just be with your thoughts for ten minutes.
Far from being a buzzword, boundaries are key when it comes to wellbeing and working in PR. Working hours (those are not emails being sent at 11pm), setting KPIs, putting time in the diary to speak to your manager, delegating tasks when you need to, saying no when you can’t take anything else on, and believing that you are allowed to do this! The more we take on, the more we try to multitask and the more we over deliver, the more this will carry on happening! I am sure that you give 100%, which is great, but you need to refuel if you are going to keep up your performance, and if you don’t then burnout, resentment and anxiety can creep up on us and take us down. Look at your boundaries, and look to see if you have them, and then stick to them.
Do Something For You
Reading the papers at the weekend over coffee is one of my favourite things, but this is for me, not clients, anymore! PR can be all consuming, but you need to have other things in life, so what are they for you? Running before work? Walking the dog at lunchtime? Taking a yoga class twice a week? Cooking a great curry on Friday night and enjoying it with a beer? Finding something for you is key to wellbeing, don’t brush it aside.
I know that these are really simple, probably obvious points, but being able to decompress and take time away from press releases, campaigns, cuttings, clients and the pressures you face.
The question is, what can you do for you?