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Five tips to minimise stress and reclaim some time

I think it’s fair to say we work in a stressful industry, often because it’s not a simple nine-to-five where you can switch off after you clock out. Over the years I’ve found a few ways that I’ve managed to keep stress minimised and reclaim some time for myself.

1. Use a to-do list app
One of the things that used to stress me out the most was the fear of forgetting to do something. I’m a big list person in every area of my life, so starting to use a digital to-do list that I could have with me at all times (on my computer at work and the app on the go) meant this element of stress went away. I like being able to reorder by due date whereas with a hard copy list I had to keep rewriting by priority (talk about unproductive).

I’ve tried a lot of the options out there (Todoist, Wunderlist etc) but my favourite is Trello for the sheer number of lists I can have on one board and the team sharing.

2. Block days out
As mentioned, PR doesn’t stick to traditional hours, so often we’ll have events, dinners and drinks in evenings too which, although often fun, can contribute to stress. I went through a period of being very stressed out by my calendar as the combination of evening work commitments with some socialising with friends (I’d feel guilty not spending enough time with friends too) meant I was busy every night. It felt like my calendar was running my life rather than me consciously deciding how to spend my time.

I now try to make sure to block out at least one evening in my calendar per week which is mine to destress and relax so that I’m not on the go every day and evening.

3. Exercise
Exercise is one of the most talked about de-stressers and for me it really works. I find myself wound a lot tighter if I haven’t had time to fit a few workouts in during a week. We operate a flexible working policy which means that we can choose to go to the gym/ a bootcamp class when they’re generally quieter during the day if we want to.

4. Schedule regular breaks
Another of the most common recommendations for de-stressing and general wellbeing is to take regular breaks, but often its hard to remember to do that during a busy working day. As strange as it may sound the HQ trivia app has actually helped us with that as, every day at 3pm we’ll get together in the office and play the quiz.

Sadly we haven’t won (yet!) but it encourages us to take a short break, interact more together and sometimes we actually learn something!

5. Take a digital detox
I’ve always been a big fan of travel and holidays, but I never actually switched off from work on them before. Probably because I’m a control freak I’d leave my emails on just in case something happened and have so many work WhatsApp groups that I’d still know everything that was going on.

Last year for the first time I went on a holiday that really made me switch off – I went to a resort in Bali where phones were banned except in the reception area (which was the only place you could get wifi).

I completed the five days I was at that resort completely offline and its probably one of the best things I could have done. I think my chances of doing that again soon now that I have my own agency are slim, but I’d certainly recommend it for anyone able to do it as its probably been the number-one stress reliever and I came back to work more refreshed than ever before.

Written by Laura Crimmons, founder of PR agency Silverthorn

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