Mental health is important to each one of us and PPCers are no different. During this week’s PPCChat session, host Julie F Bacchini found out the biggest mental health challenges experts face in PPC, what do they try to get through the tough time, have PPCers found any helpful resources for staying sane in PPC and more.

Q1: How are you feeling, mental health wise, lately in PPC and life?

Very much good & bad? I keep reminding myself of ‘wins’ (therapy trick, thanks Dr!) but it takes very little to not be okay. Feels like if I just focus on surviving I can do it, but any improvements or bigger projects feel impossible. VERY pleased to focus on work! @JuliaVyse

Not gonna lie… feeling a bit burnt out and restless @Galliguez

Feeling a bit restless and listless. Need some rest and renewal for 2022! @ynotweb

I feel a bit burnt out and maybe even a bit numb sometimes – the last 2 years have been, A LOT. Things have changed significantly in PPC as well. Been doing a fair amount of thinking about what kinds of work I want to be doing in light of all that. @NeptuneMoon

Drain, just drained. @JonKagan

Are we defacto good at dealing with this stuff because we’re constantly dealing with giant platform changes on no notice? it’s good practice honestly. @JuliaVyse

I’m pretty stressed out. This time of year is always stressful anyway and add on top of it a bunch of new business paperwork and taxes that I have to figure out and file. But I see the light at the end of the tunnel so trying to stay productive & optimistic. @selley2134

Last year, at the same time, if you had asked, I was feeling miserable and was in ER because of stress. Since I went in-house in Feb, life has been great. This holiday season, I can breathe and enjoy. @sonofgorkhali

Thankfully on a high right now. But it wasn’t like that all year. This year was tough! But from August – all things started showing up Anu. Confidence picked up, my ppl rallied and I just kept winning. #ppcchat has really kept me going. @TheMarketingAnu

I’m speaking first as a husband and father-of-3, second as an agency leader here. My perpetual drive to keep everyone else OK is at a low ebb. I’ve neglected to ask what good it does them when I’m not OK. @heyglenns

I feel like I am finally coming out of the funk from the last two years! Q4 is always chaotic, but I am optimistic with the vax/boosters and hopefully less severe strains out there. @gregfinn

A lot of change on the horizon though which is making me a bit nervous too. @TheMarketingAnu

When I think about the last 2 years…. CHANGE. Just so much change is happening and it is getting harder to keep track of everything. Body and mind is saying just work a normal day. No burning the midnight oil. @duanebrown

I am feeling fine I have established a minimum social distancing between me and PPC campaigns. @soanders

Today I’m doing okay. My niece’s birth was announced today and I’ve just had a couple of positive phone call with clients today. Getting Reggie (see picture) and seeking professional help for my mental health has made this Q4 a lot more manageable. @C_J_Ridley

Tired! I think I’ve been tired every day this month haha December in PA is not my friend but I am excited for January and all that it holds. maybe even some ppc chat surprises. @sonika_chandra

Q2: What do you think are some of the biggest mental health challenges we can face in PPC?

I think there are a few main areas in PPC where mental health can take a hit: – Impostor syndrome can be a real bitch and shows up at usually the WORST moments – It is easy to take on others’ stress and not even realize it – Clients (you know what I mean!) @NeptuneMoon

A rising tide of expectations. Setting precedent after precedent, getting drawn into too many topics or projects, struggling with “no”, explosive complexity @mikeryanretail

Clients can be a boost or hurt mental health/stress. Bad clients can be a strain but I find even if a client is happy (or hasn’t expressed being unhappy) I put a lot of pressure on myself for their entire results. Which obviously a lot of that is out of our hands. @selley2134

Good teams…. actual or virtual. Change is something that will always happen. But if you have people to talk to, uplift, be uplifted by…we will persevere!! @TheMarketingAnu

Oracle-ism. We have performance pressure like anyone, but our clients trust us to know google better than they do. and predict facebook which, NO. it’s very humbling to not have the answers, particularly when others really need help. @JuliaVyse

Biggest challenges are dealing with things we cannot control. Learning to let go of a strategy, even after a massive effort or past success, when it’s no longer viable due to changes. @ynotweb

Mental health challenges in PPC: Life becomes an algorithm The screen is your friend Performance never takes a break You are being held responsible for whatever the engine delivers. @soanders

Some of the bigger challenges I see are: – Burnout – Workload Issues – Client Issues(good clients are key!) – Not having a good support system at work – Not seeing people regularly. Safe human interaction is good! @gregfinn

I feel our neverending changestorm can drag us down. For my shop, I divide a year into arbitrary ‘epics’ (don’t use qtrs, DM me to know why) which then subdivide into sprints. Gives a feeling of some control, as we can look back at our work & see progress. @heyglenns

We’re actually a reasonably high-stress profession considering the times. We are simultaneously dealing with a harder advertising environment and an influx of new advertisers with expectations that come from returns of years ago. Combined w/ *gestures at everything* @CJSlattery

PPC aside – in general losing the physical office has been a hit. Social ties at work help you through lows at work. @Galliguez

Lack of work-life balance, fear of underperformance in the grand scheme of thinks. @JonKagan

There are challenges in just the “a lack of planning on your part” and “we the unwilling” aspects of marketing. The biggest thing for me remains that digital marketing is a lemon market, and that it’s (broadly) an unethical product. @ferkungamaboobo

It’s very easy to turn off the chaos around you by focusing on work, but that tends to lead straight into burnout. and it’s burnout that tricks you into thinking the safe thing to do is keep working no matter what. deceitful chaos. @JuliaVyse

I can’t tell you how many prospects (both currently advertising and fresh) come to me with expectations of returns that are simply no longer feasible in the current environment. And the workload to deliver what were once only okay returns has gone up A LOT. @CJSlattery

Everyone thinking they can do our job and that it takes seconds not many minutes of upload creative and QA. Plus all the changes makes our job and expectations higher externally. @duanebrown

I think both of these are exacerbated by business pressures in agencies (and to a lesser degree in-house). There’s 0 reason to be working on new production in the last 15 days of the year. Yet almost every agency has a crunch then. Why? Who does that benefit? @ferkungamaboobo

I think not being able to say no sometimes can lead to eventual burnout. The other big issues is not getting the “right” clients for you. Personality fits are more important than the $$$. @lchasse

Where do I start? Imposter Syndrome – we’re in an industry that is changing daily, so the feeling of never being good enough or knowing enough is a common challenge. @C_J_Ridley

The Expectation of Instant Results – PPC has a reputation for being an instant returns channel. This can cause clients (or employers for in-house PPCers) to be impatient. While SEO is expected to take weeks to improve, PPC is often expected to work within hours. @C_J_Ridley

Admitting you don’t have full control. As someone who finds comfort in knowing I can influence & control aspects of my life. I struggled coming to terms with the fact that there are some things in PPC I cannot control. @C_J_Ridley

Letting the actions of others determine our worth. for example, did our audience convert at the expected rate today? we are literally basing our “job well done” on whether or not another human decided they wanted to buy something. @sonika_chandra

Q3: What do you wish clients or stakeholders knew about how their actions (or inactions) may impact the mental health of their PPC professionals?

Your urgency is not my urgency. If we can educate stakeholders/clients to understand the line and plan everything, life would be much more smooth for PPC professionals. @sonofgorkhali

This might sound so simple – but words matter. Method of delivery matters. Emails are amazing for productivity, but they can be terrible for actual communication on the human level. On the flip side, training yourself to assume best intention can help a lot. @NeptuneMoon

In general, I think everyone could stand to be reminded that we are all humans first and we are trying our best. if something we do doesn’t work, try again. it’s not the end of the world! @sonika_chandra

Everyone wants to send creative at 4:30 pm Friday to get it up for the weekend. They are not the only one’s. @duanebrown

From an agency side I cherish those clients that treat agencies as if they were an in-house portion of their team. Celebrating wins, keeping 100% in the loop on company dealings and not acting as if interactions are transactional. It goes a long way. @gregfinn

Human time needed to execute – we are not bots, we’re people using bots – it costs everyone time and money when we have to drop what we’re doing and deal with your 4:45 ’emergency’ @JuliaVyse

What a question!! I’d like them to realise that our first instinct is to give them what they asked for even when the answers won’t serve them well. And that their emails may be hitting the inbox of juniors who haven’t yet learnt how to say no. @TheMarketingAnu

That affects very negatively and adds to our imposter syndrome. @TheMarketingAnu

They place too much on making short-term numbers. Let me hasten to add that WHEN they’ve given us room to truly understand the biz/audience/positioning, in time the numbers FAR SURPASS what they had set as their goal. #ppcchat It’s not one or the other. @heyglenns

Well, I’d say the lack of understanding that changes on their part impact us at that they should communicate BEFORE making the change. Website changes, ad or budget changes, product changes, etc @ynotweb

It takes time to test, optimize, & improve. I think we often get sold as the quick fix (compared to SEO) but testing and optimizing don’t happen overnight. @selley2134

I don’t think it’s necessarily on clients for this. They’ve got their own challenges and pressures. So long as they’re not actively bad clients, their role isn’t to coddle their agencies or marketers. It’s on management to create the processes to make healthy teams. @ferkungamaboobo

The 1 thing clients and stakeholders need to understand about PPC. “we are doing our best to deliver results, but ultimately it is the platforms that deliver not the PPC’er” @soanders

Your words/actions can make or break someone’s day. If things are not going as you want them to, you can either chose to be tough on your partner or you can work with them to see what can be done. Remember most of us have several accounts we are working on. @lchasse

When you panic, I panic 5x more, because of your behaviour @JonKagan

From an agency POV: Expecting 3 days of work from a 1-day retainer isn’t good for either of us. If you want something done, give us plenty of notice. We have multiple clients & can’t always be in our inbox. Being prepared and proactive in comms is a godsend. @C_J_Ridley

From an in-house POV: If you want the most from us, invest in our development and help us find a mentor/source of inspiration. We may not understand your business/industry if we’re new to it. Educate us like you would anyone else in the business. @C_J_Ridley

Bonus Points: A constant expectation to be able to quote account current performance leads to an unhealthy connection between ROAS/CPA and our own mental health. PPC can be done in different ways and there is rarely an objectively correct way to do something. @C_J_Ridley

Q4: When you’re having a tough time, what do you do to try to make it better or get through it?

In the moment – I’m a big fan of comfort, and immersive narrative experiences. in other words, hot chocolate, some nice wine, and a very long rpg. something where I can actually win against an opponent, and hopefully cast some cool spells. @JuliaVyse

Many of you have seen my new puppy <3. But in all seriousness I will spend some time with my family & pets. Keeps me grounded in what really matters at the end of the day. Profits matter, but not as much as literally everything else (health, family, etc…) @lchasse

If there is a work issue, address it. Shorten that path to resolution! Personally, I’m with @JuliaVyse on the comfort angle. Like using half and half in my coffee vs. milk. I very much enjoy wine and food too. And reading fiction is a wonderful escape place for me. @NeptuneMoon

Meditate, get outside, go for a walk/exercise, call a friend to vent. In the before time – I went to the gym with my coworkers giving us apply space to blow off steam. @Galliguez

Longer-term – journaling really helps contextualize events. gratitude journals in particular – if you’re like me & you hate the name, just call it something else. and turn off the news for a bit. Get into something fictional, with a main character you care about. @JuliaVyse

I am very thankful & fortunate to work with some amazing humans on our team! It is nice to have a collaborative team to step up to support when people are off & to cover work as needed. Also working with @shepzirnheld / @JessicaLBudde is nonstop LOLs which helps. @gregfinn

Cuddle my cat! but seriously pray. My faith is a huge part of what keeps me sane. And get in touch with people who always know how to make me smile. @TheMarketingAnu

Tough times are a part of life. Whether personal or professional life, I always seek help/advice from people with different views. Thoughts from people with different perspectives always help. I also hit the gym or ride my bike to clear my head. @sonofgorkhali

Comfort food, activities that totally take me away from screen (book, jigsaw puzzle, long drive). Recentering activities @ynotweb

My daily walks keep me sane. Also, try to chat it out. Some days I think I need to join a sports team. @duanebrown

I know ping pong tables are getting a bad rap these days but being able to get away from a screen and get the body moving and have some laughs with @rachel__lowell can help a lot. Meditation has also been a great find this year for me. @selley2134

My best recipe for escaping PPC stress is 2 hours of football practice. It’s the best recipe for many things btw. Stress in negotiations, stress when you are broke, stress when you have to make hard staff decisions… @soanders

I literally go to bed. I was once reminded that 1. I am not trying to end a war or stop homelessness, so I can’t think I am, and 2. I always make better decisions after I have gotten some rest @JonKagan

For non-work related tough times: To get better I usually go and give Reggie a cuddle or put on a headspace video. If that doesn’t help I talk to family and friends about it and get their opinions. @C_J_Ridley

If it’s work-related my steps usually are:

I read, go on long walks outside, sometimes I shut down completely and take a nap or talk to a good friend. Different things work on different days but overall just being kind to myself is the biggest key. @sonika_chandra

Q5: Are certain seasons or types or work more stressful for you? Do you have any mechanisms or strategies in place to help yourself during those times?

I wouldn’t say seasons or types, it’s more amount. Planning plus executing plus answering that one weird question plus presenting plus training new folks plus plus plus plus. I don’t have a strategy for this, unfortunately. strategy by starlight. @JuliaVyse

Um, right now! All of my clients are ecom and about 75% of them are B2C ecom, so this time of year is massive. There is a lot of pressure to hit numbers and drive growth, so it gets pretty stressful. @lchasse

I am in a weird space right now because the work I have done a lot of, and been really good at, has become a lot harder to do well in the last year. Accounts with low conversion levels are just not fun to work on now. I don’t think I’m alone in this either? @NeptuneMoon

Winter. There is less sunlight. I don’t like the cold so spend less time outside. Plus the most stressful time of year for ecom. Clients are stressed which makes you stressed. @selley2134

Beginning/End of year is usually stressful due to BFCM, ending/beginning budgets, employee vacations/time-off & the cold in Western NY tbh. It is easy to get stuck at a computer in the winter, but getting out and skiing/sledding/moving (even when frigid) helps! @gregfinn

PPC is much more stressful than our other type of marketing work other than “hacker” season (now). I want to enjoy my holidays, not worry about exploits and downtime. @ynotweb

A bit nervous but here we go: we live in a place where wildfires & floods are literal seasons. it SUCKS trying to work surrounded by emergencies & worried about loved ones. Our cousins were washed off the highway when it gave out, so thinking about them right now. @JuliaVyse

Cyber 5 is our Super Bowl and though we plan ahead with as many clients as we can… always a couple last minute items. It is all hands on deck. @duanebrown

In the grand scheme of things, this has got to be the most stressful times. Even just our news source being back and forth as to whether Nigeria is a red list makes it tough to give my all into work. mechanisms to help – pray, talk, go for walks. @TheMarketingAnu

  • Q5.1Low-budget, high-expectation accounts
  • Accounts with poorly optimised websites
  • Unresponsive or uncooperative clients

Clients who treat you like an in-house team are amazing – and I’m lucky to have a portfolio full of those types of clients. @C_J_Ridley

Historically BF/CM was a difficult time when I was actively managing accounts. now as a strategist/analyst, the most difficult time is now (post-holiday and EOY analysis and storytelling). @sonika_chandra

Q6: Are there any resources you’ve found that you find helpful for “staying sane in PPC”?

This one! #ppcchat @ynotweb

Good conversation really helps. With loved ones. with people in our space who can remind you that not all downspins are crashes, and we can all help each other deal with the unreasonable. @JuliaVyse

I’m going to get sappy on you all – but the biggest resource for me is all of you and this community! I said yesterday that working on this community is one of my happy places. Helping others truly helps me. @NeptuneMoon

PPCChat has got to be the sanest place in the world of PPC. @soanders

Working remote it is difficult to get quality people time when you are heads down all day. This is where I miss a cool work environment with a great team. The online social interactions with smaht people helps, family and pets. @lchasse

Having community/continuity. Much thanks to @NeptuneMoon and this #PPCHat community, @siliconvallaeys PPC Town Halls, the @MarketingOClock crew, and more for being a zeitgeber in this eternal groundhog day @Galliguez

What Julie said!!! @TheMarketingAnu

Honestly, connection helps. From chats like #ppcchat, chatting/DMing others in the industry, to being around co-workers more – it helps you feel as a part of something more. Especially if you are remote, you can lose that feeling and isolate yourself quick. @gregfinn

I feel a group hug coming on the next time we’re all at the same conference! @JuliaVyse

Totally secon this. @MarketingOClock always make me have a good laugh and I love them for that @TheMarketingAnu

Oddly venting on twitter to a larger group helps. But self-care, whether it is diet, exercise or even therapy is a go to @JonKagan

#ppcchat & @MarketingOClock has been insanely helpful in keeping up with news when I am strapped for time. For my mental health, getting back into an office and having @rachel__lowell that I can ask verbal questions to or brainstorm with has been huge @selley2134

Discovering #ppcchat and the content from the amazing podcasters in the community have done wonders to my mental health. Supportive managers and team members – I’ve been lucky to have these since day 1 in my marketing career. Mindfulness / Coaching services @C_J_Ridley

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