Workshop: Coping Strategies for the Stressed-out Science Writer

October 13, 2018
12:45 pm
Cloyd Heck Marvin Center, Room 309
800 21st St. NW
Washington, DC, 20052, United States
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Although burnout is a possibility in any career, today stressors for science writers are at an all-time high. Many beloved media institutions are hemorrhaging jobs or folding altogether, and pay rates for science writers have long been stagnant at best. Freelancers and remote workers often deal with feelings of isolation and self-doubt without coworkers' support, while staff writers may deal with office politics and hierarchies that leave them feeling a lack of control or appreciation. On top of that, science writers must report more bad news about science and society every day, recognizing that their work could be discredited at any time. How can we find a way to cope?

This hands-on workshop will provide attendees with tools founded in psychology and yoga. Participants will learn strategies to stop the whirlwind of thought that perpetuates burnout, no matter how bad the storm. Science writers Marla Broadfoot and Katie Burke are certified yoga teachers who will begin the workshop by leading attendees in some basic meditation and mindfulness techniques. Numerous studies have shown that people's stress responses improve when they meditate regularly.

Psychologist Elana Newman, research director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, will provide a brief overview of the science of resiliency as it applies to the occupational and mental health of journalists. Using this background as a framework, she will guide the participants as they complete a short self-assessment of self-care strategies that they are already using and brainstorm additional strategies that they could add to their toolkit. Participants will also have the opportunity to create a self-care plan and pick up skills needed to carry it through. The session will end with time for a Q&A, sharing of testimonials, and discussion of ways to support one another as we practice mindfulness and self-care.