Working professionals have consistently ranked public relations among one of the top 10 most stressful jobs, according to CareerCast.com. Unrealistic expectations, differing client personalities and ever-evolving media perceptions all factor in to why being a public relations practitioner is considered one of the hardest jobs out there. Being on call is the norm and it’s an everyday struggle to find the perfect work-life balance, let alone a moment of reflection. These challenges can quickly result in a higher stress level, and for some, a permanent health risk if not shown the proper amount of TLC.
Stress can manifest itself in a variety of forms, most of which directly affect physical health. Fatigue, anxiety, depression and illness are some of the most common symptoms of poor stress management, and some of the hardest to overcome. Having experienced all of these “health indicators” to some capacity throughout my career, below are three takeaways I’ve implemented to help better take control of my overall health.
1. “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” This quote is easily one of the most recognizable sayings regarding everyday health, and although it’s not meant to be taken literally, its lesson is ideologically sound: eat right. A healthy diet is one of the quickest improvements you can make to your overall health plan, and it pays dividends immediately. Keeping this top of mind, we make a concerted effort to include healthy snacks in our office gatherings – substituting fruit and yogurt for bagels and donuts – because the better you feed your body, the better it will perform.
2. Stay active. Running, walking, hiking and team sports are all good ways to stay active when you aren’t tethered to your desk. In addition to keeping your heart rate up, these activities are good stress relievers. Furthermore, they are all things you can do with a buddy. Motivation can be hard to find after a long day at work, so finding things you can do with a friend or significant other is often the best way to ensure you’ll follow through with your healthy “plan of action.” With this idea in mind, Stratacomm posted a wellness calendar in both offices (Detroit and D.C.) to encourage team members to take an active time-out in the name of health. This calendar has helped me stay accountable as I continue to set new goals for my physical health.
3. Make time for reflection. This can be an exercise such as Yoga or meditation, or a hobby like painting or writing. Whatever you do, make sure it’s something that allows your mind to wander. I’ve tried a variety of techniques in my 30+ years and all of them have helped me in some way. Running allowed me to replay scenarios in which I felt a high level of anxiety, giving me the ability to press pause and reflect. On the opposite side of the spectrum, baking lets me concentrate my thoughts on something meaningless, when I felt overwhelmed. Regardless of what you choose, the end goal is simple: let your mind “let go.”
There is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to wellness. However, these three tips give you the foundation to implement your own path to better health – because happiness is an “inside” job.
Brooke Ziomek is an account supervisor in Stratacomm’s Detroit office and is a key player in the firm’s Nissan team.