How are you taking care of your mental health?

Today is National Stress Awareness Day. Set up by the International Stress Management Association, Stress Awareness Day aims to highlight the effects that stress can have and how psychological distress can affect your mental health.

The past 18 months have thrown a lot our way; eight months in lockdown, restrictions on seeing loved ones and being told to stay inside has taken its toll on our mental health. Now more than ever is the time to talk about how we are feeling and be aware of what causes us stress and how we can manage it.

Work is a massive part of everyone’s lives, it plays a huge part in our mental wellbeing, whether it be elation from a big client success or distress from having way too much to do.

A study carried out between the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and the Public Relations and Communications Association showed that PR and Communications professionals are more likely to suffer from poor mental health compared to other workers in the UK.

The research found that:

  • 90% of PR workers have experienced mental health problems in the past year
  • 54% of workers who didn’t take time off work for their mental health cited heavy workload as the top reason for not doing so
  • 60% that experienced mental health issues told a co-worker about it
  • 60% felt their mental health improved after taking time off work
  • 61% of workers who took time off for mental health reasons felt guilty for doing so
  • 67% said an overwhelming workload was a main cause for their workplace stress
  • 74% of those talking openly about their mental health at work found their workplace to be understanding and supportive
  • 79% of workers said their organisation had a good handling of the pandemic
  • 95% of PR professionals believe that their workplace has a role to play in supporting the mental wellbeing of their employees

Looking at these stats, some are quite promising, but some are rather scary to think about. It’s great that nearly three quarters of professionals spoke about their mental health at work. But seeing 61% feel guilty about prioritising their mental health and 54% not taking time off due to being overworked needs to change.

We asked some of the PRG team what they do to address their stress. Our Digital Marketing Executive Robbie said, “I always try to get outside during my lunch breaks. It is so easy to fall into working through lunch or having just 10 minutes at your desk to eat a sandwich. I always try go on a walk, get some air and clear my head before the second part of the day. We are spoilt for choice here in Eastbourne with the seafront so close to our office!”

Account Manager Amy said “When I’m not at work I love spending time in nature, especially walking on the South Downs. I know that sounds cliché, but I find it just really clears my mind and allows me to gain some perspective. I try to pass on my love of the outdoors to my kids too, I think that appreciating the simple things in life is so important, especially when life is often so fast paced.”

Account Manager Ashley said, “I love golf, and always try to squeeze a round in where I can! I always try get out on the course at the weekends, and after work if the weather allows me to. Being outside is so underrated. Fresh air, some vitamin D, and peace and tranquillity really does help clear your mind.”

Our Managing Director Simon said “Working over the pandemic has really highlighted the wellbeing of our staff. Every Monday morning, we have a catch up meeting we call the ‘morning cuppa’ which I try to keep somewhat informal. The first half an hour or so we go around the table, talk about our weekends and try keep it work free. I think it’s important to all share each other’s highs and lows and to support one another.”

As today is National Stress Awareness Day, we encourage you to talk to your colleagues, friends and family about your stress and mental wellbeing. Be part of the 74% that spoke about their mental health at work, and together we can push that number to 100%.

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