Written by: Erin Slay
There is nothing restful about laying your head on your pillow after consuming hundreds of angry, polarized tweets, nor is it soothing to wake up to the same aggressive social feed each morning. With national headlines constantly depicting a tumultuous social climate, the simple act of checking your inbox can start your day off stressfully. Working each day to complete projects and manage deadlines is something that every professional faces and yet, we all share the same sentiments:
“There are not enough hours in my day to do the things that bring me peace…”
“I immediately have to hit the ground running when I wake up…”
“I have to be ‘on’ and knock out these priorities…”
As a 23-year-old public relations professional and graduate of one of the top master’s programs in the country, these phrases are normalized in daily interactions with fellow task masters—used as a boasting qualifier or badge of pride.
I have lived in that competitive, stressful space through many periods of my career path. However, this summer at Peritus PR I was given the opportunity to push the status quo and actively learned the quality and value of rest.
At Peritus, we have a monthly book club. During my first month, we read “Tribe of Mentors” by Tim Ferriss. The book incorporated quotes and questions from hundreds of successful people, ranging from Brene Brown to Jimmy Fallon and asked them how they got from point A to point B.
Their answers were surprising—yet convicting.
Nearly all the thought leaders cited meditation, long walks and rest breaks as keys to their success. Jimmy Fallon was quoted as saying, “Every smart person and stable person I know both walks and meditates. The app Headspace is a fun way to start. Try and do it every day. But I suggest not doing it while you are walking… for now.”
This seems to be quite the juxtaposition of what our culture demands. Our profession goes above and beyond to understand diverse industry environments, manage deadlines, complete multiple projects and secure wins for clients. This is a necessary component of pursuing a public relations career, however it shouldn’t affect our quality of life.
Our team decided the best way to tackle this unhealthy mindset was proactively embracing rest during even the busiest of days. We made a joint decision to start with something simple—taking daily stretch breaks. With my limited knowledge of yoga, I have been able to lead our team in brain breaks, which has been a rewarding growth opportunity for all of us. By resting and re-centering to become more fully present, we have actively taken the time to prioritize our bodies and workloads in a healthier way.
After our stretch breaks, we usually have more energy to clearly think through problems and better align our projects with intended goals. When I devote myself to a long walk at the end of the day, I go to bed feeling ready to rest and tackle another day. When I drink water instead of another cup of coffee in the afternoon, I (eventually) feel the benefit of that tiny step toward wellness. It is amazing how small habit changes like these help us actively rest and make a positive difference in our productivity.
We only have one life and I believe that we should do all we can to live it fully. What can you substitute or subtract that will lead to increased wellness?
My PUBLISHED by Peritus takeaway is this:
If you take time for your health and wellness, the work will fall into place. Allow yourself to step back and breathe, no matter the urgency of the day. Your body and mind—and work— will thank you.