Under Pressure: Tips for Managing Work-Related Stress

For more articles on health & wellness, please read this month’s edition of Strategies & Tactics, PRSA’s award-winning publication.

Whenever I find myself overwhelmed with job responsibilities or stressed from the day-to-day tasks of life during a pandemic, an adage that my mom taught me many years ago always comes to my mind: “You cannot take care of anyone or anything else,” she advised, “unless you first take care of yourself!”

The past year taught us a lot about ourselves, including the importance of our personal well-being. The pandemic has made all of our lives more hectic and complicated. It has also affected our jobs and careers. Some of us were furloughed from our positions, others were saddled with additional duties and many of us were told to work remotely.

Lines between our business and personal lives have blurred, leaving us unsure of how to set work aside and allow time for family and leisure.

When we’re under stress, it might seem logical to stay busy and keep our minds occupied but, at such times, self-care becomes more important than ever. We need to rejuvenate our minds, bodies and spirits every day.

Here are some tips that helped me navigate this past year and other demanding periods of my life:

Stay connected with family and friends.

Through regular gatherings — both virtual and in-person, socially distanced outdoors — I have stayed connected with a group of five of my communications-industry colleagues. Our interactions have allowed us to discuss our business challenges and to open up to one another about our personal lives.

During this past year, it was comforting to know that I was not the only person trying to balance the daily responsibilities of life with newfound worries about COVID-19. When I had to skip a gathering because of other obligations, I missed the camaraderie of our group.

Make time to exercise.

Running is my release. Hitting the pavement first thing in the morning centers me and gives me the energy I need to tackle the day’s challenges. Your chosen form of exercise should be one you enjoy and find relaxing. Schedule it if need be.

Get plenty of sleep.

Facing multiple work projects and worries about COVID tests, vaccinations and variants, we might have a hard time turning off our minds at the end of the day. Make consistent, restful slumber a priority.

It might be tempting to check your work email and personal messages right up until bedtime, but doing so stimulates your mind and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. For me, a consistent routine helps. Try to turn off your electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed and allow yourself time to relax.

Take breaks from consuming news.

Our jobs require us to stay abreast of current events and trends, but consuming too much negative news can deplete our energy, sour our mood and distract our minds. During a pandemic or not, placing our well-being first lets us maintain the strength we need to be successful in our jobs and to help the other people in our lives.

Pam Fultz, M.S., APR, is community relations manager of Vi at Bentley Village, a  senior-living development in Naples, Fla. She holds a Master of Science degree in corporate and organizational communications from Northeastern University in Boston and a Bachelor of Science degree from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. She is past president of PRSA’s Gulf Coast Chapter.

[Photo credit: f8studio]


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