May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which was started by the National Alliance of Mental Illness to raise awareness and facilitate conversations surrounding mental health. So, we want to kick it off by discussing some mental health tips for PR professionals. PR pros are often quite busy hustling on the media relations front to ensure that we’re getting the best results for our clients. We also want to make ourselves available to our clients to provide them with excellent services when they need them. It’s easy for this to lead to burnout, and it’s important that PR Pros think of themselves and ensure that they are prioritizing their mental health. After all, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t perform to the best of our abilities and do the work we need to do to help create compelling news stories for our clients.
Here are three tips we have for PR Pros to help put their mental health first:
1. Step away from the phone and email
Virtual work has blurred the work-life balance, and it’s becoming harder to step away from those late-night emails, instant messages, and phone calls. It’s crucial for our mental health though to have time for our brain to reset. During a few hours out of the day make sure to silence your cell phone and spend time with your loved ones. I know it might feel like you’re abandoning your responsibilities with work, but if your boss or colleagues really needs you they will find a way to contact you in the event of an emergency.
2. Take full advantage of your PTO
Only 48% of US workers say they use all their vacation days, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center; that’s a shocking statistic! Taking a vacation is important for mental health, and if you have PTO days to use, we would highly recommend using them. Many people might feel like taking time off will put your colleagues in a tough predicament forcing them to pick up the slack. You can subdue these feelings by providing a detailed handoff to your co-workers so they feel prepared when you are out of the office. Additionally, if you’re a manager and realize that one of your subordinates hasn’t used up their PTO encourage them to take some time off. Assure them that there’s no reason that the team can’t get by without them.
3. Support the mental health and well-being of your co-workers
Sometimes one of the biggest challenges is feeling like your mental health is not being supported at work. Reach out to your co-workers every once in a while just to have a quick check-in that doesn’t revolve around work-related topics. Ask them how they’re doing generally, and see how they’re doing with their workload, or if they feel too overwhelmed. This is especially important for upper-level management. Set a time each week to check in with your junior team members and see how you can support them.
Mental health awareness is critical for the overall success of a team, especially in the fast-paced world of public relations. Take time to reset by stepping away from your devices and utilizing all of your PTO. Remember that mental health awareness is a group effort and it’s important to check in with your team members to make sure that they are feeling supported. Conversations around mental health awareness in the workplace are way overdue to be had, but hopefully following these few tips can be a strong stepping-off point.