10 Ways Communicators Can Be Kind to Their Minds in Honor of Mental Health Awareness Month

mental health awareness month

For those in the fast-paced world of communications, tending to mental health can pose as an afterthought. Between tight deadlines, endless meetings, and having to juggle multiple projects across a finish line, there is no denying that stress is an inevitable part of the job.

In honor of May Mental Health Awareness Month, The Hoffman Agency has compiled 10 mental health tips specifically tailored for PR professionals. From embracing mindful coffee breaks to disconnecting from technology, Hoffman’s tips will help you manage stress and prioritize your emotional well-being to stay on top of your communications game.

1. Know your limits.

Knowing your limits is crucial in the PR world for maintaining a healthy work life. Doing so can look like saying, “Can we extend the deadline?” or “Can we reprioritize deliverables?” as well as logging off when the workday is over and prioritizing sleep over work. As PR professionals navigate the fast-paced and demanding nature of their roles, establishing clear boundaries allows one to deliver quality work while preventing burnout and managing expectations.

2. Practice gratitude.

During periods of stress, practicing gratitude acts as a helpful reminder of what you love about your job. This can look like keeping a gratitude journal, expressing thanks to others, or even making a “work wins” document that you can add to each time you secure media for a client, win an award, or get kudos from a team member. Cultivating gratitude fosters resilience and a positive mindset, helping PR professionals navigate the demands of their roles with greater fulfillment and purpose.

3. Learn something new.

When you’re feeling mentally stuck or drained, learning something new is an excellent way to increase satisfaction and engagement. Consider joining a workshop that aligns with your interests or skills (joining any workshops your employer provides is a great place to start). For example, Hoffman has many workshops related to PR tools for its employees. Beyond work, learning a new hobby – whether it’s a new sport, a new cooking technique, or something else entirely – can engender wellness.

4. Create pre- and post-work routines.

Establishing a well-defined pre- and post-work routine can impact productivity, mindset, and stress levels (e.g., 92% of people with a morning routine considered themselves highly productive.) A pre-work routine might consist of exercising, meditating, or planning your work priorities, which can set the tone for your day and ease you into work mode. A post-work routine can help you wind down and transition to your personal life and may involve relaxation exercises, hobbies, or curling up with your favorite book. Both pre- and post-work routines are vital for improving work-life integration.

Bonus: It’s great to make a habit of seeking out novel ways to care for yourself, too. (Simply put, routines don’t need to be boring.) Part of your routine could be doing something new once per week like going to a concert, trying a new wine, or having a picnic.

5. Do something creative.

Communicators tend to have creativity as a tool in their toolkit — something they can whip out on a moment’s notice during client calls or campaign brainstorming. Pulling this tool out beyond work, however, is an invaluable way to support mental health.

Anything from writing to painting to playing an instrument can serve as an outlet for self-expression and stress relief. Incorporating creative activities into your daily routine is a great way to recharge and conjure fresh perspectives, both of which can consequently impact your work.

6. Take regular breaks.

Similar to setting boundaries, taking frequent breaks can keep you in your professional A-game and decrease the likelihood of burnout. While under pressure, it’s easy to forget to take breaks. As such, it can be helpful to schedule your breaks and try to step away from your workspace when taking them. Try grabbing a cup of coffee or walking around the block to recharge.

Bonus: Engage in “mindfulness” while taking your breaks. Focus on the present moment, take deep breaths, observe your surroundings without judgment, and savor each sip of your coffee to incorporate mindfulness into your breaks.

7. Disconnect from technology.

Most PR work is done on a computer or a phone. Being inundated with the news can lead to “doomscrolling,” negatively impacting mental health. As a result, consider setting aside time each day to disconnect from your devices or having a “no tech day” once per week. Unplugging can help you relax and reduce stress levels.

8. Take advantage of your work’s wellness benefits.

Many companies recognize the importance of promoting a healthy and balanced lifestyle for their employees and offer a range of wellness benefits to support their physical, mental, and emotional health.

For example, The Hoffman Agency U.S. has a weekly wellness hour that builds self-care into the work week, as well as a $600 annual wellness fund that can be used on anything from yoga classes to running shoes to therapy. By making the most of wellness offerings, PR professionals can stay on top of their mental, physical, and emotional health.

9. Connect with coworkers.

Connection and camaraderie are antidotes to stress and sadness. At The Hoffman Agency, quarterly “Hoffsites” (offsites) provide a space for colleagues to connect during work hours, doing anything from clay mug making to wine tasting. Additionally, our annual “holiday party” is a two-day event filled with working together and late-night dancing.

Participating in workplace community events fosters strong relationships among PR colleagues, creating a supportive network for sharing experiences, seeking advice, and gaining valuable perspectives — both professionally and personally.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

PR can be a high-pressure field, and attempting to handle everything independently can lead to being overwhelmed. Whether it’s asking for support from colleagues, seeking guidance from mentors, or requesting resources from supervisors, reaching out for support can promote mental resilience. Additionally, using employer benefits, such as mental health counseling, provides PR professionals with a valuable resource for addressing and managing their mental well-being.

Communications workers face unique challenges in their jobs, and many struggle with stress and wellness as a result. PRCA and CIPR’s 2022 wellness report found that 90% of PR professionals in the UK had experienced mental health issues to some extent during the year. Despite this staggering figure, there are many ways to prioritize mental health and well-being. By taking regular breaks, practicing gratitude, disconnecting from technology, and more, communication workers can support their mental health during May and beyond.

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