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COO’s Corner: Stress Awareness Month

April is stress awareness month, and I’m challenging you all to take a moment and reflect on your overall mental wellbeing. Stress is a natural part of life and can be motivating in the short term. However, it’s important to find healthy ways to cope with long-term stress to remain positive, and productive.

Feeling burnt out or stressed can happen at any point in one’s career, and shouldn’t carry any feeling of shame or failure with it. In fact, you should feel the opposite—acknowledging that something isn’t quite right in your headspace is a first step towards making a mindful change.

Here are a few ways to help cope with stress related to your career:

Plan for the Plop

Planning ahead to stay organized can greatly decrease your stress at work. In our office, I use the phrase “plan for the plop,” which means scheduling time in your day to handle any unexpected demands that require immediate attention. That way, as things come up, you aren’t overwhelmed with working that into your list of priorities.

My biggest piece of advice for my senior staff and account leads is to write out a list of tasks for each client. You’d be surprised how much better you feel just writing a list and getting it out of your mind.

Radical Self-Care

It’s crucial to take time to rest and recharge. You have the responsibility to take care of yourself first before attempting to work on other tasks. Take this scenario for instance: if a road needs repair, the city will close it and repair it. If one aspect of your life is causing stress, you need to close out other things and repair it.

Take a radical approach to manage stress, whether it’s binging a few episodes of your favorite show while eating pizza or opening up a good book, pause and allocate time to fix yourself first. Remember, you’re doing your best. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and we all deserve a little compassion.

Working Out to Manage Stress

Stress doesn’t always begin in your head. Your body can have its own physical reactions that manifest in mental fogginess or unrest. To help cope, exercise your body to help your mind. Countless scientific studies have shown regular exercise can provide significant changes to your body, your metabolism, your heart and your spirits. Exercise has a unique ability to exhilarate and relax, to counter depression and stress.

Lauren Izaks is the COO and executive vice president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

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