PR agencies tend to thrive on adrenalin: the thrill of client coverage contrasts with the funereal feeling of an account we've lost. Whether we're celebrating or commiserating, there are plenty of triggers for anxiety and panic in PR. It's no wonder 'Sunday Night Fear' can take centre stage when our weekend draws to a close. Sunday Night Fear isn't soundtracked by the Bee Gees and has no John Travolta dance moves. It's soundtracked by an internal dialogue of self-criticism and the moves are sluggish and in slippers, shuffling between bed and fridge, bed and kettle, bed and bathroom.
Sundays – especially for dynamic PR experts – are 'meant' to be so Instagrammable. They 'should' (apparently) be full of sun-dappled country walks and sumptuous home-cooked dinners, flavoured with good wine. But for so many PROs, Sunday nights are plagued by sick stomachs, fear of Monday morning, the unknown week ahead... a time to overthink and worry, to stay in bed or turn down invitations.
Over the years I've developed some strategies to improve work-life balance and help ease any Sunday Night Fear. These approaches do differ from my early noughties approach of getting wildly drunk and texting everyone in my (Nokia) phonebook, and strangely they seem to work so much better!
1) A treat
Give yourself something to look forward to – even if money's tight – look out for free tickets such as TV show audience tickets, gallery launches, running clubs – anything that gets you out of your flat or house and can be slotted into your diary to look forward to in the week ahead.
Make sure you're always working on a least one client or project that you really believe in and enjoy – even if it's voluntary – bring your passion to work with you.
3) A Mentor
Find a mentor, coach or a friend/relative you can be extremely open and honest with, someone to trust. Don't blub in front of everyone, but do find at least one person who you can always be your authentic self with, not holding anything back.
4) Eat, sleep breathe, repeat
You don't need me to tell you the importance of eating fresh food, hydrating, cutting back on caffeine and booze, sleeping for 8 hours a night and exercising, breathing, walking, meditating, yoga.
5) Digi Detox
Go easy on the social media scrolling – if you can invest in an alarm that wakes you up with light and tweeting birds (I have a Lumie one, it was worth the money) you can leave your phone outside the bedroom and that might really help with sleeplessness.
6) Beautiful Bedroom
Creating a sanctuary for your Sunday night sleep can really help promote relaxation. You don't need to be an interior designer or super-rich... think clean, fresh sheets, a calming (maybe green) colour scheme, clutter-free room and some healthy plants... a bit of what we call self-care is what Sunday nights were made for.
Written by Helen Campbell, who coaches freelance PROs. You can contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that Helen is a coach and not a counsellor, if you are feeling depressed then do contact your doctor or a charity such as Mind.
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