Covid Overwhelm + the ‘Accidental Slashie’20th May, 2020 by Sjaan Askwith
As a PR, you’re often quizzed on what you *actually* do. And to be honest, it’s something I’ve asked myself far more than I’d care to admit. But for such a simple question, it has quite a multifaceted answer.
Am I a Writer? Producer? Social Media Manager? Financial Advisor?
‘Content Creator’? Strategist? Event Planner? Talent Agent? Salesman?! The thing is, in one way or another I’m all of the above, and the rest.
I once heard someone say PRs could be referred to as ‘slashies’, which I soon discovered is another way to describe those with a multi-hyphenate. We’ve all seen the Instagram bios: Artist / Photographer / Creative Director / Model / Content Creator, and after initially recoiling at the term, I agreed that ‘slashie’, while not traditionally used to describe someone with many roles within a single job (and more used to refer to those chasin’ dreams and side hustlin’) isn’t a terrible way to sum PRs up.
But in the midst of a global pandemic, as we’re forced to take on new roles within the comfort of our own homes, I’ve noticed new ‘slashes’ creeping onto my *job description*.
See, now as well as being a PR (lest we forget all of the aforementioned ‘slashes’ within that role), I’m a Chef / Cleaner / Fitness Instructor / Handywoman / Beauty Therapist / Quiz Host / Barista / Hairdresser / Delivery Woman / French Teacher (don’t ask), and that’s just to name a few.
I know I’m far from alone in my ‘slashie’ status being upgraded as fast as Switzerland’s lockdown rules dissipated, and I can’t help but think that even those in roles as simple to define as Doctor will swiftly, accidently become ‘slashies’ too as we adjust to this new normal.
For some, this may spark joy and ignite otherwise undiscovered passions. For others, this will likely result in overwhelm and increased anxiety.
As Covid-19 has brought with it no extra hours in the day, but has rolled in loaded with a whole host of new expectations, I don’t think I’m the only one immobilised by a never-ending to-do list brought about by all of the extra ‘bits’ I’m having to do, now that we’re confined to our bubbles.
Couple this with the mind-bending bewilderment that social media has become, with now not only ‘influencers’ but friends (!) flouting Covid six-packs and a sourdough-a-day on Instagram (‘smugsolation’ is the coined term for that, FYI), and it’s no surprise that our already-full minds are overflowing.
I’d love to give some sound advice, and then close by waxing lyrical on a six-step solution to manage this new-found stress. But I’m afraid I can’t because there simply isn’t one, and I’m sure as hell not planning on joining the other 864,759 people on the internet peddling their ‘top WFH tips’.
The way I see it, everyone’s fighting their own battles, and these are times of stark contrasts. For all of those who’s new ‘slashes’ read: GBBO Hopeful / Handstand Pro / Box Of Fluffies, there’s someone who’s read: Wedding Postponer / Struggling Homeschool Teacher / Anxiety Manager.
So, all I can offer, in this all-too-terrifying modern of times, on day eleventy-nine of lockdown, is a reminder that every day is a success.
Whether you spent it writing, running, practicing yoga, and baking the sh*t out of a banana loaf, or you slept in, ate toast for every meal, binged an entire Netflix series, and parked up with a pre-mixed cocktail at 5pm on the dot (ok, 4.30) – remember that both are noble.
To quote the infamous Kris Jenner “You’re doing amazing, sweetie!”, keep it up.