5 Stress Management Tips for Journalists, PR Pros and Beyond

April is Stress Awareness Month and as a professional, and a human, finding ways to deal with burnout or stress is critical to continue to function both in and out of work.

Journalists and public relations professionals face unique challenges that can hit hard. It’s important to be aware and have the tools to deal with stressors impacting your life.

Here are five suggestions to help you cope with stress whenever you feel it affecting you:

1. Set Expectations and Boundaries at Work

In a fast-paced job where deadlines to get news written and delivered are tight, it’s easy to face burnout and pressure.

For journalists and bloggers, make sure you’re set up to receive only the news that’s relevant to your coverage area to help cut down on inbox clutter. Update your Cision Media Database profile and create a custom newsfeed with PR Newswire for Journalists to get started.

PR professionals can set expectations for their clients early to make the process smoother and journalists’ jobs easier. This will ultimately help the client, PR pro, journalist and end reader. The 2024 Cision and PRWeek Global Comms Report can be a helpful resource for PR and comms teams. Use the findings when strategizing with clients on what will work best for their communication strategy.

Know your limits at your job and set boundaries around leaving work at work. This way you can maintain a good work/life balance and give yourself time to prioritize your own needs.

2. Sing!

Stay with me. There’s a reason why belting out your favorite tune helps you feel better. When our vagus nerve gets activated, it calms down the fight or flight response in the brain, reducing stress. Turns out your larex (or voice box) is connected to the vagus nerve!

Not a big fan of singing? Humming is also a great way to activate the vagus nerve and could be a good option if you’re in an office and can’t fully act like you’re auditioning for American Idol in front of your peers.

3. Clean and Get Organized

When your home, workspace or mind is cluttered it can lead to feelings of overwhelm and increase your stress levels.

As someone who deals with a cluttered mind, the thing that has helped me most at work has been creating a to-do list every morning and checking it off one by one. The act of checking off the boxes triggers the reward system part of my brain and motivates me to try and get everything done, and the checklist itself helps me have an organized, tangible list of things that need to be done, instead of trying to keep track of everything in my brain.

Take it a step further and try out a new organization tool for journalists that could help streamline your writing process.

Keeping a clean space, both in your home and digitally, promotes feelings of calm. When your home, office, desk and email inbox are organized, there is less time spent worrying about the clutter, or being able to find an important email, and you have more time to focus on the important things.

4. Let Go of Perfectionism

Embracing imperfection will allow you to have a more balanced and realistic approach to work and life. While self-criticism isn’t inherently bad, we tend to sometimes take it overboard. Shifting your viewpoint from needing perfection to allowing yourself to freely go on an endless journey of progress and growth is a way of giving yourself compassion. It also lets you look at life differently and not necessarily view it as a linear path we all follow, but a line with curves and turns along the way.

5. Talk to a Professional

If you’re able to, talk to a professional. They will be able to give you personalized tools to cope with stress based on what factors in your life are contributing to it. Everyone deals with stress differently and it’s important to know which way best helps you and know what causes your stress.

Consulting a professional isn’t always an easily available option. So the first four tips have been curated not to replace professional help, but to introduce different techniques you can use as you learn to de-stress.

Stress is an inevitable part of life and the first step to dealing with it is to talk about it. Don’t be afraid to seek the help of a professional, colleague, friend, family member or any other trusted individual in your life. Share your stress management techniques in the comments!

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Sydney is an Onboarding Specialist at Cision. She has a love for communication and relationship building and a strong background in client relations, the user experience and creative problem solving.

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