Mental illness can have a huge impact on our productivity, confidence and ability to progress in creative sectors.
In creative industries, such as Digital Marketing, Media and Public Relations, mental illness remains a relatively unexplored issue. If you work in this field of work, you already know the stresses and pressure of the industry. But, now the proof is here in black and white to show for all your hard work.
In 2016 the role of PR Executive ranked at number six in the list of most stressful jobs with stress brought on from client demands, tight deadlines and public scrutiny. I teamed up with Outreach and Communications Executive, Emily Cocker, who specialises in bespoke London SEO Services for her clients at Bigfoot Digital. Emily knows all too well the demands placed on PR Executives but argues “there is a fine line between good pressure and bad pressure that makes the shift from enjoyable work to overworked and stressed.”
In this article, she explains how working in a supportive digital environment has made all the difference to her confidence and shares four tips to improve your mental health at work:
1) Find the right job for you
We all know people perform better when they are content and happy at work. But, the problem comes when getting people to understand the difference between stress and mental illness. You can be working in a role that challenges you and pushes you out of your comfort zone – that’s considered good practice. What is not good practice, however, is to push people so far, they feel isolated, vulnerable and suffer from ‘work dread’ every Sunday! If you are one of those people, then get out now!
Moving to my current position at Bigfoot Digital was the best decision I have ever made. I have the most supportive and dedicated team behind me who genuinely have my best interests at heart. I have never felt as secure in a job as I do working at Bigfoot Digital. I would recommend working here to anyone looking for a rewarding career in Search Engine Optimisation, PR or Social Media.
2) Put yourself first
If you are struggling to cope at work, then take some time for yourself to recharge your batteries. While at home, spend time with your loved ones and do things that put your overactive mind at rest. Overexerting yourself and taking on more work, will only highlight your struggles, so don’t be afraid to ask for help and delegate tasks to ensure you perform at your best.
3) Should you tell your employer?
Regardless of your ability to do your job, you might feel like disclosing this information to your boss places you in a sensitive position with others not giving you credit for the work completed. This is understandable, especially if you find yourself in a position of low job security (see Tip 1). However, under the Equalities Act your employer is required to take all cases of mental health seriously and accommodate your condition in the workplace.
4) Take time off
While you may think the place will fall apart without you, you are entitled to time off as is everyone. “But what about my contacts? They are waiting for me to get back to them… I can’t possibly leave them hanging…” You might feel passionate about delivering results, but it is not healthy to be consumed by your work. It can wait, and if not, then someone will be there to follow up on your leads.
Taking time off can give you the opportunity to get help or do something you’ve always wanted to do that will spark perspective and hope for the future. Always remember, you are doing a great job. Don’t be so hard on yourself and the rest will come in time.
Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to Emily for sharing her top tips on how to cope with mental illness in the workplace. If this has helped you in any way, please do leave a little message in the comments below. I love reading all your kind words!
If this hasn’t put you off, then make sure to read my advice on how to get a job in marketing and PR.
*Image of girl credited to Bigfoot Digital*