media update’s Maryna Steyn looks at four ingredients for a winning stress-relief recipe.

As fun as it is to be a PR professional, it can also be quite overwhelming at times — even more so when working from home. We’ve all seen the viral videos of curious children appearing in the background during Zoom meetings.

With so many stressors sabotaging your peace of mind, it’s no secret that you are in need of a bit of advice — suggestions that go beyond just hearing you need more exercise, healthier eating habits and more time to meditate.

What you need is tips and tricks to deal with tension on the go.

Are you ready to conquer stress in PR? Let’s get started!

1. Set a threshold for stress

In order to set a stress threshold, you need to look at two things: dealing with worries that you cannot control, and managing the elements you can control.

When it comes to the former, you can prevent adding additional concerns to your life by never over-promising or over-committing to projects. When you take on a client, you need to know your limits — so, set your boundaries.

You can do this by speaking to your clients and setting realistic, reasonable objectives and deadlines to work towards. This will allow you to better plan ahead and feel more relaxed, as the focus of your goals are more clear.

With that said, every PR pro knows that the unexpected is bound to happen, so embrace that uncertainty! Frequently remind yourself that public relations is an unpredictable industry — and even if you do your job to the best of your abilities, something may still go wrong at some point.

Don’t stress about the ‘what ifs’. If and when a crisis does occur, take a breath and rather focus on finding the cause and solving the problem.

It’s also important to note that although certain situations are serious (such as when a brand’s reputation is at risk), your clients (and yourself) need to understand that there is only so much you can do in a set period of time. Some strategies and communication processes take time to be completed — and the same goes for results.

2. Find moments to destress

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, the old adage to ‘just breathe’ really does have truth to it. When a crisis hits, it might feel counterintuitive to just stop for a few minutes and take a few breaths, but your brain needs it.

Taking a few moments to regroup helps calm you down, which means you are able to better handle the challenges that come your way. This will allow you to think more clearly and calmly deal with the situation at hand. You can take these moments as often as you need to. Take a short walk to the kettle and clear your mind, or do a few breathing exercises at your desk — whatever works for you!

It might sound silly, but take the time to be grateful, even in a grim situation. Staying positive doesn’t just happen — you need to actively work towards it. Keeping a positive outlook will definitely let the challenging situation seem more manageable.

3. Be flexible in stressful situations

You’re a PR pro! You must be a master juggler by now — skillfully juggling all those balls up in the air where they should be, right? Well, there will be times where you have no other choice but to multitask. This can increase your stress, so choose your tasks wisely when you multitask and prioritise working on one-project-at-time where you can.

This doesn’t mean that your agency should only have one project at a time, but rather, there should be designated time frames in which particular tasks and clients get attention. This way, everyone gets you or your team’s undivided attention at some point.

Another key element is to have a reliable team that can step in for each other when needed. Build an agile team that can help fellow colleagues where needed. This can also enable you to have flexibility in the job itself, as the PR industry requires a lot of creativity and individuals who are able to work independently.

4. Trust even when stressed

When you are facing a stressful situation, especially when it comes to your client’s reputation, it’s likely that they are also feeling a bit stressed out. This can turn into a vicious cycle, and when the both of you are sensing the other’s stress, you get even more anxious!

So when you are following these steps to manage your tension, remember to also keep building trust between you and the client. Now is the time to keep that communication flowing. Reassure them that you are addressing the situation and provide frequent feedback.

During this time, you also need to be proactive and transparent. Not only should you communicate on an ongoing basis, but also include what information you expect to receive from your client and enquire about their progress. After all, you are an extension of their team, too, and you need to reach your goal together — regardless of the pressures you encounter.

Do you find these techniques useful? Let us know in the comments below.

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PR is a stressful industry to work in, and everyone deserves a break now and then. Read more in our letter titled, Dear PR pros — here’s why you need to take a break from the office.
*Image courtesy of Canva