Members of the PR community came together on February 19, 2020 to learn about maintaining balance and building resiliency from a panel of experts convened by CPRS Vancouver. This event was a remarkable one - it focused on the professionals themselves and their mental wellbeing, rather than our standard topics centred on enhancing a specific public relations and communications skillset.
With the room packed, it is safe to say that the event was a great success! Public relations and communications professionals came out to hear unique experiences shared by the panel members, Lindsay Nahmiache (CEO, Jive PR), Jen Murtagh (executive consultant), Kurt Heinrich (senior director, media relations, UBC), and Dr. Maryam Zeineddin (preventative health and lifestyle focused physician and instructor, and co-founder of Zilicare).
These amazing professionals - experts in their fields - shared their own experiences of how they manage and maintain balance between frenetic professional activities, challenging deadlines, crisis management, endless client requests, and changes throughout the process, the non-stop news cycle, and their own personal lives.
Read on for insights into how our panel members manage to maintain balance and stay on top of their own health and wellbeing, between their daily professional challenges and personal lives.
It was a common theme among all panelists: get to know yourself and learn your limits. Dr. Maryam Zeineddin highlighted the importance of knowing ourselves, listening to our bodies, and respecting the signs. She shared her acronym C.A.R.E. to maintain a healthy balance in life:
Calm your mind
Activate your body
Reinforce your body
Engage your soul
Lindsay Nahmiache reminded all participants how important it is to practice self-love and check in with ourselves. The sector can get overwhelming, so checking in with ourselves to ensure the rewards and benefits we are experiencing from our career choice outweigh all the pressure is an important step we should take every now and again.
Jen Murtagh shared a key strategy she uses to bring balance to her life: look for things that bring joy instead of happiness. “Happiness is momentaneous, you feel happy, and it is gone, we move for the next task. Joy is broader and bigger, it fills us. Nowadays, I look for things that will bring me joy that I can really feel.”
Kurt Heinrich highlighted how important it is to set boundaries, particularly at times when you have a considerable workload or a crisis to manage. “Think about how far you can go, what it is in your control, and what is not. Also, envision yourself, look ahead, and make a critical analysis about whether you will still be thinking about this in the future. This helps with weighing the moment and balancing the stress”.
As part of creating boundaries, Kurt also emphasized the importance of saying no and maintaining systems that work for you. “Having tools to help you in the work is a great way to measure your work, to measure the outcomes, and to organize your professional life. When you put down and track all the tasks you’re working, it makes it easy to have a clear idea of how much you are doing, for how long, and this helps with discussions around whether or not you can engage with new projects.”.
To maintain the balance, it is fundamental that we know ourselves and our limits, and that we look for resources that will help us on this journey. All the speakers shared great resources that have helped them on their journeys. Here are a few:
When the Body Says No: Cost of Hidden Stress (Dr. Gabor Mate)
A New Earth (Elkhart Tolle)
The Surrender Experiment and Untethered Soul (Michael A. Singer)
Designing Your Life (Bill Burnett and Dave Evans)
The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life (David Brooks)
Principles (Ray Dalio)
Radical Candor (Kim Scott)
It’s not easy to maintain balance. It requires patience, discipline, and commitment to ourselves. We know this isn’t easy, and it can be really easy to break this commitment and put everything as a priority above of own mental health and wellbeing. Stay focused on your priorities, be kind to yourself, and allow yourself to take breaks. Listen to your body, your mind, and your soul.