Public Relations: A Career Built on Stressed Professionals? What Are we Getting Ourselves Into?!

By Paul Wilkie, Account Executive

My week begins Sunday morning when I commence creating my oh-so-neurotic to-do lists for the following days. This is usually the time I put myself at risk for early balding. Caffeine doesn’t help either, although I love the beautifully legal drug. Am I destined to be a Rogaine-using, caffeine junkie for the duration of my professional career? According to a number of studies, I am. However, there is hope: There are many ways to deal with stress in productive ways that will leave you feeling healthy and a little less stressed (hopefully).

Public Relations is considered one of the most high stress jobs in the professional field. In fact, it’s second only to airline pilots.

PR professionals are constantly bombarded with new challenges on a day-to-day basis, maybe even hour-to-hour and sometimes every minute. These constantly evolving challenges, along with needy clients and an overly zealous boss could leave any PR professional banging his or her head against the wall. It’s these days when every stressed PR professional needs a way to unwind.

So, what do you do? Everyone has his or her own style. Some people eat to their heart’s content, others watch their favorite television show and some people call their mom and ask for advice (me). All of these are great ways to temporarily relieve stress, but what are some ways we can infuse de-stressing techniques into our daily lives?

Stephanie Goddard, creator of Work Stress Solutions, says one must take into sight his or her surroundings. This is why surrounding yourself with favorable people in your office should be a goal of any employee or employer. Studies show that people are much more productive when they are working or surrounded by people they enjoy being around.

Goddard also emphasizes breathing techniques. Although this might seem weird, Eastern medicine has always tried to tie together body and mind. We have all heard of the “Chi” from old Bruce Lee films. What the “Chi” really is is the balance between mind and body. Goddard believes that focusing on breathing for extended periods during the day helps focus this balance and will considerably help when you are seriously stressed.

Finally, Goddard stresses on finding a spiritual balance between you and your work. And it is important to note that spiritual does not necessarily mean religion. Here’s an example I have created: You’re working for a nonprofit organization running their publicity department. The purpose of this nonprofit is to raise money for starving children in suppressed African countries. In a way, your work is spiritually focused because you’re leaving people better off than when you found them.

So, if you’re feeling stressed as a PR professional, remember why you chose PR (for the love of it, DUH). Our job satisfaction should be greater than our stress levels, so use these techniques to de-stress if you think they fit your lifestyle. Finally, find your Chi!

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