How Do I Fight Burnout in Public Relations?

Earlier this spring, Burrelles published an excellent blog post about burnout among public relations pros. The post was timely in that I had just come across the 2023 CareerCast survey of most stressful jobs in the United States, and public relations made the top 10.

Burrelles nailed it on the head by advising readers to prioritize self-care, set boundaries with colleagues and clients, scheduling rest, exercising as a means to de-stress, and getting help from a professional if needed. I echo those recommendations, and had a few additional thoughts if seeking some other ideas:

Out of Office: You likely set an out-of-office response when on vacation or at a business retreat or function, right? Have you ever thought of setting one each Friday, noting you are out of the office the entire weekend to set the expectation to those who reach out that you will not reply until Monday? There are two top-notch PR folks I work with regularly, and I’ve noticed they both do this. At first, being someone that struggles with boundaries, it put me off. And now I not only love to see it. I am considering doing it myself, in fact. It has also trained me not to email anyone on the weekends about work. Emergency or last-minute opportunity? Then I send a quick text and keep it simple, but only if I have to do so.

Avoiding the No Time Off Brag: More than once in my life, I’ve found myself harried and talking with colleagues about how I am so busy that I just cannot take time off, going so far as to #humblebrag how many months it has been since I took a break. And you have too, right? Why do we do this? I now purposefully stop conversations like this when they start going down this path. I do not support them. I do not engage in them. I do not perpetuate a world in which we wear exhaustion as a badge of honor.

Organize Something: Feeling the need to be productive, even when relaxing? Itching to tackle an issue for yourself or someone else? Take a breath, and just organize. Rather than jump into action on something, do a little laundry. If you work in the office, organize your desk or change up the photos sitting atop it. Do something productive, but not something that adds more to your work and emotional load.

Change Your Volunteer Mentality: As PR pros, we are often on one to 150 boards or volunteer committees or fundraising groups at any given time, volunteering because it is the right thing to do, but doing so in a way that we become the stressed-out PR person within the organization or group. We do what we know how to do to help others, and we do it well, but there are other options. A few years ago, I took a break from almost all of the volunteer boards in which I sit and signed up to bottle feed baby kittens twice a month after work at the Humane Society Kitten ICU. There, I help give back, but by feeding and cleaning and reporting on kittens, not by “dialing for dollars” or using my PR skills after hours. It mixes things up and recharges the battery quite effectively.

Written by
at May 3, 2023

Share this article