“Solitude is where I place my chaos to rest and awaken my inner peace.”
― Nikki Rowe
At an early age, I was immersed in many different hobbies and activities that have shaped me to be the young woman I am today. From being a dancer to playing tennis, writing poetry, and dabbling in photography, I was a passionate adolescent who explored every possibility. Many of these activities were coping mechanisms as I’ve struggled with anxiety since the 7th grade. For years, I have felt depleted to ensure I was excelling at my craft. However, now that I am a public relations (PR) professional, I am learning to practice self-care.
As PR professionals, we pride ourselves on putting clients first, and we spend much of our days building relationships that build the trust our clients have in the work that we do. Although a rewarding field, it takes a lot of energy, and being intentional about your self-care in this industry is important. Here are some tips that may help you!
[Rest] If You Must but Don’t You Quit
A rested mind is a healthy body. Rest is essential, especially in the PR field when dealing with client and agency demands. Burnout in the workforce has risen, and the physical consequences of not resting only worsen. I majored in Mass Communication in college and double minored in Black Studies and Pre-Law while heavily involved.
At times, I felt myself losing out on rest because I was so focused on what life after college would look like if I didn’t build my resume as an undergraduate. My habit of not getting enough rest eventually resurfaced when I enrolled in graduate school, where I found it hard to adjust to the new normal of being in school while facing a global pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for people to get adequate rest. The way to combat this is to prioritize resting just as much as you do your work. You can only be great at what you do when you are well-rested.
Living in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area has afforded me the opportunity to explore different enjoyable activities. Treating myself is one of my main adulthood mantras because we deserve to enjoy the pleasures of life. As a professional working in the agency space, one of the pros is happy hours (pandemic friendly). Sometimes we need to relax, pour a glass of wine, or grab our favorite comfort food. When we treat ourselves, we affirm that we are deserving of self-rewards, even if we are having a difficult day.
Extend Yourself Grace
Something that I learned about myself as a student and a professional is that I was not extending myself enough grace for my mistakes. When I first started my graduate program and internship at a PR agency, I beat myself up a lot because I had a challenging time balancing my academics and growing in my career.
Now that I am in my final year and new role at Stanton, I have learned to give myself gentle reminders. Being reluctant to extend yourself grace, especially as a PR professional, can lead to imposter syndrome. Making a mistake would cause me to over-analyze my capabilities and doubt my competence. Letting a mistake control you also means it controls the work you produce.
In PR, we often must have the confidence to offer sound counsel and be proactive for our clients. Showing yourself grace is the recipe for that confidence.
Take Care of Yourself
I learned in my first two years of navigating adulthood and a professional career that you must be intentional about your physical health. As we face the COVID-19 pandemic and its unpredictable variants, we are reminded that health is wealth. The easiest way to burn out outside of not resting is not taking care of your wellbeing.
Since I juggle working and studying full-time, I always remind myself to get enough water intake for the day or get tested for the COVID virus regularly. Whatever you can do to stay on top of your health will positively affect your performance.
Promoting self-care in the PR industry is something that I am dedicated to doing. Every professional should prioritize self-care as much as it can be a task. These tips are a good start if you have struggled with caring for your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing so that you can show up as your best selves in your lives and work.